I got a chance to put my sweaty mitts all over EA Sports' flagship franchise, Madden NFL 09, and got a taste of what the 20th Anniversary version of the game is going to be like on its release in August. First off, the big man himself is back, as John Madden runs you through a training sequence to see what you're good at. There's rushing offense and defense, and passing offense and defense. This, I'm told, is to show your tendencies, so that the game can adjust and make it harder for you to just go with what you're good at all the time. It's a good idea.
The animation is spectacular in Madden 09. Seriously, it's one of those things that catches your eye from all the way across the floor at E3, which is filled with games that have great animation, so you know it's special. It's not all that different, but it's somehow...rounder, if that makes sense. The grass is prettier, snowfall is ridiculously accurate, the stadiums look better, and the players are just about perfect. Madden fans will be delighted, since this will help them feel more a part of the game than ever.
I'm told that there will be online leagues, involving up to 32 players, which will employ a flex schedule, so you won't hold your friends up, should you choose to do something silly like go on vacation or get married. So, that's nice. Also, there is a robust training camp with mini games like before, but there wasn't time.
On the whole, however, Madden NFL 09 is a satisfying entry in the series, playing smooth, looking great, and staying solid, which is the best you can ask of it.