Moving onto the co-op aspects of Madden, all the local options are still available - and up to four players can work through a franchise or quickplay games together taking control of different position players. But when things move online, that’s where things change up from previous years.
Online Teamplay is one of two modes available when you jump online, the other being versus, and this mode allows up to three human players on a team. You can play 3vs3 if you want, or if you prefer, 2vsAI or 3vsAI. Players can choose to lock into skill positions like the quarterback, running back, or wide receivers, or they can choose to cycle between any available position. You can even split up duties on the positions if you choose and the game will auto cycle them for you. We're still waiting for a full featured co-op mode - much like FIFA's 11 on 11 that's coming this year, but what we have is still a lot of fun.
The nice thing about the online co-op is that each player gets an individual camera, something that’s difficult while playing offline. Offline players tend to go out of the main cameras point of view, online the camera tracks your controlled player. Last year’s camera angles were dependant upon position, while this year is more of a generic three-quarter view. Of course there’s a downside to this - normally the camera is tracking the ball making it easy to focus on where it is, but when it switches up to tracking the player it becomes a little more difficult - especially since it’s zoomed out a bit more. It takes some getting used to, but eventually I got the hang of following the ball and not just my player.
Much to my surprise, the online community for the Team Play games I got into were great. Players communicated well calling for the ball when open or asking for advice on picking the next play. Like any good sporting event there was even plenty of compliments on “nice plays” and “good catches.” There was very little Keyshawn Johnson “just give me the damn ball” time moments, something I honestly was kind of expecting.
Madden NFL 11 feels very much like football, the whole atmosphere is nailed, right down to the over abundance of advertising. Even the damn achievements have sponsors this year - so look out next year when we have individual plays like the Starbucks Buzz Cover 4 and the Jiffy Lube Halfback Pass. EA Sports, if this happens, I want a cut.
Every year it’s easy to say that “this is the best Madden game to date.” With every upgraded system the game gets, it also seems to miss out in some other areas. Thankfully this year’s negatives are very minor and for most but the hardcore, unnoticeable. So yes, I’m going to say it, this is the best Madden game to date.
The Co-Op Experience: The local co-op plays like traditional Madden where each player can control and cycle through different positional players.Online co-op gives players a unique view and camera. You can only play quick games in online co-op.
Co-Optimus game reviews focus on the cooperative experience of a game, our final score graphic represents this experience along with an average score for the game overall. For an explanation of our scores please check our Review Score Explanation Guide.