I picked up the newest installment of Madden a week or so ago, and I've only sat down to play it twice; however, in even my short stint of playing it I've walked away with a few Bears-centered thought and questions that I wanted to share and ask.
Join me below the fold to discuss the new game and Our Beloved. Be cautious, though, as I'm typing this on my phone while having a liquid lunch and who knows where this could go......So, Madden -- you either hate it or love it. I always say I'm not going to get the next one, but a drawer of my entertainment center contains Madden 10, 11, 12, and now 13. I lie to myself; I'm addicted.
In prior years, I always start my franchise as the Bears and go at it, although now it's called Connected Career instead of franchise. It's not a big deal as it's still similar. In the past the computer was about as good at trading as a room full of dumb kids playing Settlers of Catan. That led to me giving away Rex and a First round pick for the likes of Payton Manning. I'm talking per-gimpy neck Payton too. In other years I'd go out and work on a stud WR among other things. But, all has changed (for the most part).
So far, the only changes I've made have been to drop players the Bears dropped in real life (I started playing before the most up to date rosters were available). Sorry Rashied Davis. Can't remember if I kept Sanzenbacher or not, and Knox isn't half man half machine in the game; he's back to his usual self. Oh, and I dropped Clutts and signed a FB that was a FA and better. That brings me to one issue with madden in general, I feel you HAVE to have a FB. The Bears playbill hasn't really changed in 4 years of Madden that I own, and a good lead blocker is necessary.
Moving to Bears specifics and Madden, I can't explain the sigh of relief that is Marshall. He makes your virtual life so much easier, and I've got to guess my feeling while playing has to be echoed by Cutler in real life. He just gets the job done. If he has single coverage, it's OK to say F it and chuck the ball his way. He'll catch or make sure the DB doesn't. Having him on the team makes me realize how different of a game plan I ran with Hester, Knox, and Bennett in previous iterations of the game. The passing game is completely different. Notice I haven't even mentioned Alshon; the kid shines. This year had made me go from thinking run first to pass first because of these developments.
Just because I look to pass more often doesn't mean Forte and Co. isn't helpful in the game. He is what he's supposed to be: dependable. Bush is also good to have. But, overall, the running game is the same from previous versions.
A quick note on special teams: I used to be able to run back a kick off with Hester probably 50% of the time (I play on all-pro, which is just below the hardest difficulty), and that has changed. It's harder to do. I'm guessing it's more about the game makers making it more difficult in general.
Our offensive line in the game, in my opinion, is even worse than in real life. They actually rank Webb and all his nation higher than I would, but Garza and Carimi are ranked low. I mean low. This explains why a good pass rush gets to Cutler much faster than you'd think in the game (and possibly in real life).
Switching sides of the trenches, other than Pep, our line isn't valued as highly as I think they should be. Shea is valued at something like 79/100 or close to that. I called EA to see if they docked him points for having a horrible first name, but they haven't returned my calls. Conspiracy! Our DT's are severely under ranked. It's an excellent example of the word "sadness"; almost on par with the first Becky crawling back to join the cast of Roseanne. Additionally, I find when I control Peppers that he is utterly useless. I would initially think that is because I was controlling him and I'm utterly worthless. That reminds me, I need to call my wife. But I digress...anyway, I control Idonije and I get a sack. I don't get it. I've done the same thing in multiple games with different OTs in the other side, but I find it impossible to do damage when controlling pep. He does well on his own though.
Our safetys are probably under rated too, but I don't have too much to say on them.
All in all, the new madden is great. The new engine has made a lot of difference, and I love how the new Bears players have changed the dynamic of the team in real and virtual life. I should probably go back to work now.
**I'm typically a grammar nazi, but this was typed on an iPhone. If there were mistakes and you want to point them out, suck it. I just got on at work and made a few edits, probably not enough though.