Madden NFL 09

An excellent Madden game for players of all ages.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

As with the real NFL, football players in this game are made up of all colors and creeds.

Violence & scariness

It is a pro football game, though, so there is tackling.

Not applicable

We reviewed a pre-release version of the game, but ESPN and other brands will likely be part of the game.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that there's no inappropriate content in this video game – unless you consider professional football too violent a sport. While some sports games have a soundtrack with off-color lyrics, this game doesn't. Parents will welcome the new adaptive features that help set the skill level at an appropriate level so that all players can have a positive experience.

What's it about?

Are you ready for some football? Twenty years and 70 million units later, EA Sports' popular Madden NFL series is now celebrating a milestone anniversary. Available for multiple platforms, MADDEN NFL 09's slick production values are what jumps out at you when booting up the game for the first time – namely, the high-definition graphics, adrenaline-pumping soundtrack, and a wealth of options available from the animated main menu.

But before you tackle any of the solo or multiplayer modes, you might want to try out the new features that help set your skill level, to ensure a gratifying game-play experience. This includes Madden Test, a collection of holographic drills and minigames that determine your "Madden IQ" in four key areas (rushing, passing, rush defense, and pass defense) and My Skill, a custom skill setting you can select prior to each game instead of general difficulty options such as "rookie" or "all-pro."

Is it any good?


In the Xbox 360 version, the game feels as good as it looks with tight and responsive buttons. As with the previous year's version, the "weapons" system is back, special skills assigned to elite players in the league to reinforce what makes them great. For example, when activated, Ladainian Tomlinson becomes a truck who plows through defenders, whereas a Smart QB, like Peyton Manning, can read the field and expose players who simply stick to their money plays. If you make a mistake on the field, though, you can pull a mulligan by "rewinding" the play like a DVR and trying again (or turn off this feature altogether). On a related note, along with the broadcast-like presentation with play-by-play and color commentary by Cris Collinsworth and Tom Hammond, Collinsworth can also tell you where a bad move went wrong and how to "tackle" the action the next time around.

When it comes to game-play, number of modes (including the ability to create online leagues with up to 32 teams), and presentation quality, Madden NFL 09 is arguably the finest football game in the franchise's 20-year history.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about whether an annual sports video game -- such as 20 Madden games in as many years -- should be purchased every year. Are the few improvements offered every year worth the purchase or are publishers taking advantage of consumers?

Game details

Platforms:Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PSP, Nintendo Wii, Nintendo DS, PlayStation 2
Available online?Available online
Developer:EA Sports
Release date:August 12, 2008
Topics:Sports and martial arts
ESRB rating:E for Everyone (N/A) (Nintendo DS, Nintendo Wii, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, PSP, Xbox 360)

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Written byAnonymous October 15, 2009
age 6+

Decent and replayable.

First, this is a review for the WII version, NOT any other consoles. The first thing is that there is a great feature called "call your shots" that allows you to draw your reciever's routes on a passing play. You are probably supposed to use it when you don't like the defense, but it is great anytime. Commentary is good, but the computer AI is ridiculous. Even the 3-13 Rams got off a 70 yard passing play on their first play of my game against them. There are too many big plays, wwaayy too many sacks, and too many touchdowns. When you get a touchdown you are supposed to get up and move the wiimote and nunchuck to celebrate. When you are on multiplayer its fun, but when you are playing the CPU, it is completely ridiculous and pointless. There is a way to turn it off, but then you cannot celebrate. There is a good collection of mini-games on this disk. They are supposed to help your skills at this game, but they are so fun that you may not return to the regular game for a very long time. There is even a backyard football game on this, called 5 on 5. Each touchdown is one point and playcalling is made unbelievably simple. The players have big heads, for reasons beyond me. They have franchise and superstar. Franchise is good but the more you play it, the more likely you are to get bored. Superstar is quite fun, as long as you aren't a QB. If you are a QB, the camera angle constantly switches from seeing one side of the field to the other, and sometimes the camera is so bad that you cannot see the reciever that you passed to. The main game will frustrate you with its bad AI, but EA made the other features good enough to make it fun. It's a game worth buying.
Kid, 9 years old May 31, 2009
Teen, 13 years old Written byGold_medal_champion September 22, 2011
age 6+


i LOVE this Game for the WII its SO MUCH FUN if you like sports games!!!!
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Teen, 13 years old Written bybepoisfunny December 23, 2009
age 7+

one of the best football games to hit the market

This game is possibly one of the best football games to come out for game systems such as ps3, xbox, and wii. It's very fun to play for all ages, and it will also teach you a lot about the game of football itself. While I say this game is good for all ages, be aware that there may be somewhat violent aspects to this game, such as tackling and stuff like that, however that's a big part of football as a sport. Also, there is a fair amount of product advertising. Soda, candy bars, and even cell phone networks are built into this game, almost as if you’re watching a real game on TV. Overall, a great game, very realistic, and competitive.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much consumerism
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models


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