Ahh another NFL Sunday in the books, another week of me playing Madden and encountering the terrible terrible challenge system. For those of you that aren’t so in-tune with Madden’s game-play, the challenges aren’t exactly the best thing rolling. It works pretty simple enough: you think a play is questionable and then you challenge it. Seems like a piece of cake right? It certainly would be if EA could manage to have the system respond correctly. When challenging plays they’ll either have no angles whatsoever that will help you out, completely miss what you were challenging for in the first place, or just plain ol not give you an option to challenge certain things. Below are 5 things that I think could at least help make the challenges in the games more realistic/worthy of the players’ time:
1) Give us better camera angles & actual close challenge situations
Whenever challenging in Madden I often get the sense that the game leaves all the reviewing up to some pre-determined number of possibilities that the game cycles through without showing the player anything. Yeah the refs screw up on a play every now and then, but when have you ever felt that a review was SO CLOSE that you were on the edge of your seat as they were replaying it? You either got a clear picture of what actually happened, or were just as much in the dark as you were before. With Madden there seems to be no middle ground in this area. You either have it or you don’t and at the end of the day it doesn’t reflect the NFL as much as it would seem to.
2) Stop getting so many things wrong
One thing that bothers me to no end in Madden 11 is when I’m throwing a pass with the Quarterback, he gets hit, yet it’s called a fumble. Now there’s a difference between the ball being hit out and it clearly being a pass. The quarterback throws it and it goes forward, but for some reason the game doesn’t recognize this. Why is this a problem you might ask? It’s largely in part due to the fact that you CAN’T challenge this. Look EA, if you’re not going to let me say that you’re wrong then what’s the use? This wouldn’t be much of a problem if you actually got this one right, but most of the time I find that you’ve gotten it completely wrong.
3) More options please!
Challenges should not be held up to the game’s discretion. If I’m choosing to challenge I’m pretty sure that I’d like the game to know exactly what I’m challenging on the play. All I’m asking for is for the next Madden title to include a list of different options for us to choose when it comes to challenging a call on the field. Some situations might have more options than others, some may have just one clear cut option, but the fact of the matter is that this is a feature that is desperately needed in the games. One of the reasons why gamers enjoy NFL 2K5 so much is because that game had the option to do this! Let me say that while I do love my Madden 11, if it can’t hold up to a game from 6 years ago in the challenge aspect, it should take a look in the mirror.
4) Let the players get more opportunities to challenge plays
Now this sort of ties into the point that we should be able to have more options on the plays we challenge, but more specifically we should get more plays open to us in general. I’d rather see the small blip that says “LT Challenge Play” on every/every other play than only see it when it’s assumed that something questionable happened. Sure, I most likely won’t use it, but the option would still be nice if there’s something that I thought I saw that the game didn’t.
5) Implement some strategy into the game
Okay maybe this last one isn’t that big of a deal, but I’d just like to see some cool detail added onto the series in the actual games. Whenever I’m playing the computer and they get a great but very questionable play off; I want them to try and hurry it up so that I can’t even manage to get my challenge flag onto the field quick enough. When it comes down to it late in the game I want to see coaches taking time to try and get the booth to review the play. Don’t have everything be so instant. In the NFL you don’t see reviews pop up as soon as the play ends, but in Madden they make sure that the refs are taking it up top as soon as the whistle blows. Showing some hesitation like we’ve seen in actual NFL games would be a nice touch of added realism as long as it’s handled well.
Madden has turned itself around to be a very intriguing and fresh series nowadays, but if there’s one thing that bothers me on a slightly large scale it’s been the way they’ve handled their review system. As minuscule as it may seem to others, challenges become a larger part of the game than you may think when it gets down to the wire. And when it’s all said and done every play counts no matter how many red flags see their way onto the field.