The only competition that EA’s Madden gets nowadays is not a lot. Ever since EA bought the exclusive rights for the NFL, Madden has been the only authentic NFL game on the market. I have had more negatives about it and how sometimes I feel like they don’t innovate enough since they have no competition.
Backbreaker offers a unique experience from Madden. In playing the demo, the first impression I got was that I was playing the superstar mode in Madden but on a bigger scale.
The game has its ups and downs. In the demo, you’re given 3 game modes: Training Camp, Exhibition and Tackle Alley.
Training Camp basically shows you how to play the game. In the game, I hardly touched the face buttons. Most of the controls are wired to the left and right stick. In the running game, you use the left stick to move, the right stick for a variety of moves including spinning and juking. The right trigger enables you to be move aggressive.
The passing also makes use of the right stick. No face buttons. As a Madden player, this was a bit of a learning curve. To pass the ball to a receiver, you flick the right stick forward to the highlighted receiver. Now here’s the tricky part. If you wanted to switch to a different receiver, you flicked the right stick left or right to highlight a different receiver.
I found myself constantly pressing the pass button like in Madden and all that did was throw the ball away.
One thing I found myself thinking was how the camera was structured. In running, the camera was behind the ball carrier, giving me an on the field perspective. The same thing was done in the passing. You really get a new-found respect for quarterbacks in the NFL and College. Believe me, I sometimes held the ball too long and just got leveled by the linebackers. In this game, when you get hit, you somehow feel it.
The Exhibition mode took you to a real game. I didn’t hear any commentary maybe because this was a demo. The atmosphere is really deep and it does feel like you’re on the ground playing a real football game.
Tackle Alley had to be the best mode in the demo. This mode is also available on the iPhone and is really fun. In this mode, you’re the running back and your objective is to make your way from one end of the field to the next for a touchdown. You’ll be facing different waves of computer AI trying to tackle you. The higher the Wave number, the more difficult it gets. Great fun.
So should you buy this game? It depends. As a long time Madden player, you’re going to face a big learning curve especially in the passing game. You don’t get a look of the entire field when you snap the ball and could be frustrating. In the game, I also found it was more fun to play on offense than defense. With defense, you’re really limited. You get to switch players but I doubt players like playing as a cornerback. Quarterback is just more fun.
The graphics in this game aren’t all that and the players themselves all look like the same. Even the field goal kicker and punter are built like running backs and linemen.
I will give this game props for making the punting and kicking game more dramatic. The on the field perspective gives the player a more dramatic feel when kicking. Again, this makes me give more respect for field goal kickers. Its tougher than it looks.
The playbook seems a little limited but then again, it’s a demo. We’ll wait and see.
If you’re looking for a different experience from Madden, I say give Backbreaker a try but be prepared to change how you play a football game. Madden 11 looks the same like last year albeit they’ve added some new elements.
I don’t think Backbreaker will draw away many Madden fans but at least it gives you a different experience.