Madden NFL 2001 Preview

EA Sports returns with the new millennium's second update to one of the longest-running football franchises in video game history.

Some franchises will probably never run out of steam, and the Madden line of football games is one of them. EA Sports adds more features to every new version of Madden, and the 2001 edition is no exception. Madden 2001 contains the same core gameplay that's made its many predecessors popular, and it brings several new elements to the table that should convince previous Madden players that it's worth moving on to this year's update.

Madden 2K1 contains the usual assortment of players past and present (numbering in the hundreds), as well as such novelties as the All-Madden and All-Superbowl teams. In addition, you can construct your own team from a pool of current and retired players. To further personalize your creation, you can then choose your team's name and stadium location.

Probably the biggest addition to this year's Madden is a sort of electronic collectible card game. "Madden cards" are unlocked by playing minigames, and these cards can be traded with other Madden 2K1 players through memory-card save files. These Madden cards unlock various features in the game such as new players, teams, and stadiums.

EA Sports is further tweaking Madden's gameplay to move toward greater realism. The tackling model has been enhanced to take advantage of players' physical attributes. Height and weight will now come into play when determining how successful a tackle is. New character models and small touches like end zone celebrations will round out the set of features.

Of course, Madden 2001 is due out not only for the PlayStation but also for the upcoming PlayStation 2. The latter version will include enhanced graphics and quite a few features that its little brother won't. Still, Madden 2K1 for the PlayStation should give those who don't choose to upgrade to the PlayStation 2 enough to keep busy.

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