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July 8 2008
Madden NFL 09 - PS3 Preview
Release Date Distributer Publisher Developer
14/8/2008EA GamesEA SportsEA Tiburon
Offline Players Online players Price Anticipation
1-4TBA$99.95
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Stadiums, and crowds, look great in Madden 09.
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The Cowboys get away from the Eagles.

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Madden NFL 09's weather effects are great.
If you're an NFL fan then you're in for a good year. From the start of the next NFL season channel 10HD will start showing select games each week, hopefully live! Electronic Arts have finally got their shit into gear as well and are finally giving PS3 owners what they want - a game on par with the XBox 360 version.

So this is another Madden NFL title in the long running franchise and after a couple of dubious outings on the PS3 to date we're pleased to report that this, finally, looks like the game we have been waiting for. The game will include all the usual options such as Quick Matches and Franchise modes, but have added a host of improvements and new features.

The Madden IQ System is new and allows gamers to train in a holographic environment. The game now includes the 'EA Sports Backtrack' which much like a TV telecast will highlight mistakes made during play. Another new feature is the Rewind which allows you to rewind and redo a play. You can even set how many rewinds you have during a match, but this will not carry into online gameplay.

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Preparing to catch the ball.
Gameplay has also been reworked to balance out some inconsistencies. Fatigue is more realistic now, the running backs aren't going to make those yards as easily, fumbles have been reworked with the weather even affecting players, there are improved gang tackles and there has even been a new running/ball carrier engine put in place with improved momentum, foot planting, directional diving and animations.

Certainly one question that remains though, and it always does with Electronic Arts Australia, is that with online gameplay. Previous years has seen this feature dropped from Madden for the local releases, often despite assurances until the week prior to release that it would remain. Time will tell about online gameplay in Madden NFL 09.

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Check out the footprints in Madden.
In terms of graphics it really looks like EA Tiburon have been working hard to make improvements. The best news is simply the fact that this years PS3 version will run at 60fps, unlike previous years. Beyond that the developers have improved the stadium and player models, included new weather particle systems, improved the lighting and sidelines and even put in user controlled celebrations. If that wasn't all the Total Control Animation System provides much more fluidity in the movement of players and also improves the tackling. The camera system has also been dramatically revamped. All-in-all there have been some dramatic improvements to the visuals in Madden NFL 09.

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Another stunning Madden NFL 09 PS3 screen!
Sonically we expect nothing but the best from this series. Indeed this year is going to see the biggest shakeup in this department in a number of years. Tom Hammond and Cris Collinsworth are now providing the commentary replacing long-time commentators Al Michaels and John Madden, although John Madden will provide commentary for Madden IQ which is a series of drills in a holographic environment. EA Tiburon are also looking at including custom soundtracks in the game so you can play your own music although at this stage that isn't a certainty.

Electronic Arts has really been pissing me off with the Playstation 3 with a series of sub-par ports and other issues. Madden NFL 08 ran at only 30fps compared to the XBox 360's 60fps, Half-Life 2: The Orange Box had a totally unplayable online mode in Team Fortress 2 and Madden NFL 07 wasn't even released here. Finally, in 2008 Electronic Arts look to be making amends with Madden NFL 09 which looks fantastic. Expect a release in mid-August 2008.