Madden NFL is one of the longest running game franchises, and to stay fresh, it keeps evolving in terms of gameplay and graphics. With each passing year, the developers discover new techniques to improve the feel and look of the game. You'd think that a single year couldn't possibly do all that much for a franchise that's been in play for more than 20 years, but you'd be wrong. Madden NFL 10 brings an impressive array of new graphical elements to the fore that help make the game seem more realistic and at the same time more TV-like.
Two of the biggest graphical improvements made to Madden NFL 10 are depth of field and lighting. Depth of field effects (oddly enough) give the game focus. Whenever a play is completed, the major players involved get treated to a special camera view that brings them into focus while everything else gets a little blurrier. The effect is similar to when a camera zooms in on a particular object.
Accurate lighting and shadowing give players realistic shadows, and they even provide self-shadowing. It doesn't sound like much, but when you see it in action, you'll wonder how the game did without it. Other minor improvements include better weather effects during cutscenes.
Depth of field
Depth of field gives the game a sense of agency by bringing the key players to the forefront. The effect works well most of the time, although you can expect to see some strange blurry characters when a figure who is not a key player steps into the scene in front of the important players. It's especially weird when the fuzzy player is only a foot or two away.
It's a subtle effect, but when you see it in action, it's hard to go back to shadowless characters. It just looks right, even if the shadows are on the low-resolution side at times. Note how a player's hands shadow onto his pants and how a character's shadow interacts with other players.
Weather effects didn't seem all that different between the two versions when actually playing the game. But during the cutscenes and between plays, the camera would get raindrops and snowflakes on it.
360 vs. PS3
The differences between the two versions of the game become more and more miniscule as the years go by. Frame rates on both versions remain high and the visuals are close to identical. The Xbox 360 has an edge when it comes to texture clarity, but it's really only noticeable with the name on the back of a player's uniforms--and then only when you compare the images back to back. While playing, they're pretty much the same.