Madden NFL 19 [Wii]

Cool motion-sensing controls overcome an unbalanced defense in EA’s Sport debut for the Wii.

At the outset of the press frenzy for Nintendo’s new console,  was the game that sought to prove how well existing franchises could be adapted to the system. Look, you can pass with the remote! The nunchuck is a great tool for juking! And as we’ve had time to play with the full game, those things are definitely true.

Madden’s Wii debut isn’t any more balanced than the series has traditionally been, but it’s definitely fun. With tutorials buried in the ‘extras’ menu, your typical Madden release can be daunting to new players. But this version opens with a ‘Learn‘ option pushed front and center. While playing a quick football game (like fifa ultimate team), onscreen prompts allow quick tutorials to flash up. Blast through this well-designed sequence and you’ll learn how to use the remote and nunchuck to perform all manner of cool moves. It’s a quick primer for newcomers and proof of concept for migrating players.

We’re pleased to see how well the game responds to motion control. Pretty much every ball action, from kicking to passing and brushing off tacklers while carrying, is done via the motion sensing system, and the response is well tuned. At times, the controls can seem too responsive — small idle movements that don’t have any in-game effect when holding a normal controller suddenly translate into disastrous throwaway passes.

But EA sport has designed most of the motions well. A quick upward flip of the remote snaps the ball, then a downward flick passes. Faster movements translate into bullet passes; move the remote slowly to lob the ball. And it turns out that jogging the nunchuck left or right is quite natural for evading an incoming tackle. And while you can use large, theatrical movements, each action works just as well — sometimes better — with small, controlled flicks that don’t feel like a workout.

The system isn’t quite as good on defense, in part because simply selecting a player other than the default can take too much time. The playbook selection screen could use additional opposition analysis, and lots of players will miss all of the pre-snap options for tweaking plays.

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