If there's one thing most wives and girlfriends hate more than football, it's Madden. And, with the start of the season only a few months away, EA is readying the launch of Madden 06.
Every year a new feature is added to Madden, tweaking the overall experience. This year?s game features two new additions, both of which will help improve the offensive side of the ball. The bigger of the two is the passing cone, which requires you to control your quarterback's field of vision before passing. By default, your QB will focus on the play's "go-to" man, who is marked on the play chart by a different color arrow; something long time fans should already be familiar with. During a play you'll also have the option of swiveling your QB's head in order to improve the chances of the receiver catching the ball. You can still throw to anyone, only the throw will be less accurate and open to being easily picked off. The better your QB, the better his field of view. Aside from using the right analog stick to "look", you can also hold the right shoulder button and press your receiver's assigned button, snapping your QB's view directly at that receiver.
The aim of the passing cone is not only make passing much more challenging, but to also fix the problem of players being able to drop back 20 yards and complete a perfect pass 60 yards downfield. The hope is that this should add more diversity to play selection instead of having players settle on a handful of passing plays.
The other big offensive addition is the truck stick, which can be considered the offensive version of the hit stick. Like the defensive move, the truck stick lets you lower your receiver's shoulders or pull off other moves to try and avoid being tackled. Both timing and your player's skill will determine just how effective the truck stick option is during a game.
Madden 06 will also feature a new mode similar to the "Race for the Heisman" mode being introduced in NCAA 06 called Superstar mode. You'll take the role of a newly drafted player trying to make it in the league. Unlike the NCAA version, the Madden version will be a little deeper and involve more than just playing through a series of mini-games. For starters, you'll have to choose your parents' traits using a DNA system. These traits will then be combined to create your player's skill levels. You'll also have to find an agent, each with their own strengths and weaknesses, who will be in charge of getting you a good deal with whatever team drafts you, as well as finding you endorsement deals and even movie roles. You'll have to start with a low-rank agent, but as you perform on the field, you'll be able to upgrade agents, which will open up new opportunities including better endorsements and even trades to big-name teams.
As far as presentation, Madden 06 looks similar to last year's version (unless you're planning to get the Xbox 360 version, which looks significantly better). However, new camera angles and better replays have been added, as well as new animations.
Madden 06 is set to be released on the Xbox, GameCube, PS2 and PC this August. An Xbox 360 version is expected to launch alongside the system sometime this holiday season. This should give all the wives and girlfriends time to squeeze in all those ?Honey-do? tasks.