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The most recognizable franchise in video game sports returns for a 20th season of gridiron action in Madden NFL 09. The constant tweaking of the series continues as well, with the "09" entry unveiling an assortment of new features and updated animations. The new All-Play Mode mixes traditional controls with Madden NFL 08's "Family Mode" controls, and incorporates one-button playcalling, optional playbooks, and assisted player movements so gamers of every age can compete at the same level as seasoned veterans. Motion controls also play a large part in Madden NFL 09: All-Play, most notably in the Call Your Shot feature. With Call Your Shot, gamers can use the Wii Remote to completely re-design plays before the snap, resulting in an infinite number of "hot route" audibles.
Party, Trivia, Franchise, and Superstar Modes return with minor tweaks, but the 2-on-2 mode from Madden NFL 08 has been replaced by the all-new 5-on-5 Mode. Mixing the family friendly cuteness of games like Wii Sports (the players have oversized heads), with the hard-hitting arcade-style action of a series like NFL Blitz, 5-on-5 Mode puts players on a smaller field where the fast-paced action means there are no first downs, and touchdowns are worth only one point. Tackling controls have been improved, making it easier for gamers to swing the momentum with a bone-jarring hit, and those lucky enough to score a touchdown or sack the quarterback can use their Wii Remote and Nunchuk to execute unique new celebrations. Online play has also returned, featuring tournaments, real-time updates from ESPN, worldwide quickplay matches, mini-game party mode featuring user-created Miis, and roster updates for 2008 and 2009. ~ Christopher Brown, All Game Guide