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Meet the new Madden, (mostly) same as the old Madden

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Just finished my first game of Madden 09. It was an exciting shootout, 7-0 over the Bears. The first 3 1/2 quarters of offense looked like they were coached by Mike Martz and QBed by Jim Sorgi (7.6 per completion 4 sacks, redzone INT), but a deep strike down the seam to Clark in the final minute led to a 5 yard Addai TD up the middle. INTs from Bob and Bethea (and using my "rewind" after Ugoh got blown by on a play action leading to a strip sack and TD return) kept the Bears off the board.

I was really disappointed that there didn't seem to be any improvements to last years franchise mode. The scouting is still painfully slow and awkward, the pre-week training still suckers me into the same boring minigames with the promise of a fraction of a attribute point for 3 players.

The one big improvement I noticed was that the problem finally turned me off of last years Madden didn't seem to be an issue. The downfield fumbles. Last year they were so common and unpreventable I had to stop playing for the safety of all throwable objects within reach of the Xbox 360.

That horrible flaw was replaced by a minor annoyance. The WRs and returnmen take a while to gather themselves after catching the ball making YAC or good returns difficult.

The NFL history fun facts at the load menus are a great addition, although you'll have to speed read as they fly to the next one pretty quickly.

It's an improvement, but I'm completely expecting it to get blown out of the water by NCAA again.

I suck at the drills too much to make superstar playable. I could literally run a 40 faster than one of the 40 times I got in-game.

How do the rest of you who have played like it?