My relationship with Football games is complicated. I love football like no other sport, and as I get older I get more into the nuances of football schemes and stratagems. I want a good football simulator like few other things in life. So when EA got the exclusive license for the NFL and started peddling excrement a little over a decade ago I became furious. I tried to get excited for NHL games which is my second favorite sport, I tried to focus on Fantasy football and enjoying NFL RedZone on a Sunday afternoon. Every year when Madden comes out I greet it with derision. I know that their annual release schedule keeps them from making any real improvements and that because they lack competition and the demand for the product is strong enough without significant improvement they will move forward in their glacial pace and cash checks. But after I laugh my head off at "Breaking Madden" and enjoy some retro Tecmo Bowl, I secretly want to love Madden. I pick up a few used and give them a whirl, hoping that they did finally put in the effort to fix the game. Each time I am disappointed. Passes 20 feet in the air are getting intercepted by Linebackers because the game doesn't understand 3 Dimensional space. The franchise mode is shallow, broken, and unsatisfying. I never learn.
Last year they say they fixed the passing game, this year they worked to fix two things - the running game and the franchise mode. The franchise mode has been neglected for far too long, and for me to get my money's worth from the game I need the value and content there to be strong. Maybe they got it right...Maybe they won't hurt me this time. They have failed almost every year this century but maybe...maybe they pulled it off. Or maybe I am a sucker with desperate optimism tainting my perspective. The game comes out today, and part of me is scared I might be one of those idiots buying a copy.