I, for one, was not too impressed with the next generation of EA’s Madden Football. I watched the 60-second commercial that ran on ESPN during the NFL draft (which I’m sure by now is available online) and it didn’t do it for me.
First, the models look hyper-realistic. They look like a cross between NFL Blitz and Lee Haney. Everything glistened and shimmered unnaturally. The models were too muscular. Granted, the NFL is full of Adonises (Adonii?) but not everyone is stacked and ripped (yet). The little tête-à-tête between McNabb and Strahan looked pretty sweet but the pass to Owens and the lame, over-the-top, dive into the endzone was too cliche.
Not everything was bad. The little x-ray showing the injury to the player’s shoulder was a nice touch, as was the snow. Nevertheless, EA has some big obstacles to overcome. None have really been deal-breakers for me, but if they can’t get rid of the horrible clipping and collision detection issues that have plagued Madden (and NCAA 200x) for years, it will be pretty eye candy and not much more. Proving, once again, that pretty graphics and big, bulging muscles a good game do not make.
So it looks like the EA juggernaut will move forward into the next generation with hyper-realistic, not photo-realistic graphics. I guess this can be seen as a good thing, since the current trend of super-human physique as a model will not take us to the Uncanny Valley, which is a good thing.