Generally favorable reviews - based on 50 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 43 out of 50
  2. Negative: 0 out of 50
Buy On
  1. Madden NFL is a series which feels like Pro Evolution Soccer did in its peak. It’s a game which every year you wonder how they could improve it in any way other than basic graphical updates and the odd new mode, however unlike the former, Madden is a series which on its twentieth anniversary is still taking large strides every single year.
  2. The game looks great, there are a ton of little nuances football fans everywhere will love, and most of all, it’s fun to play. Despite some issues with the AI, I think this is the first must-buy Madden for next-gen consoles.
  3. An improvement on last year’s game no doubt, Madden NFL 09 is as impenetrable for novices as ever, yet is still the best and most comprehensive American Football game we’ve played.
  4. AceGamez
    The refinements and tweaks made to the already exceptional game engine have resulted in the best Madden game to date, while the new additions of My Skill, Play Style and Rewind make it a surprisingly accessible introduction to the series for newcomers.
  5. We’ll happily play all season long, during which we’ll invent a thousand more reasons to love and hate it all at the same time. No matter what, though, we’d be lying if we said we weren’t a tad disappointed that this year’s version didn’t make the same jump we’d gotten accustomed to the last two years.
  6. Madden NFL 2009 stumbles, but manages to regain its composure long enough to stiff arm critics and dive into the endzone.
  7. If you are already a Madden fan you will enjoy this title. If not, rent before you buy.
  8. Madden NFL 09 is a massive improvement and a great experience for NFL fans everywhere. The two new modes, Madden Moments and Online League are great additions although quite as good as the "classic" modes Superstar and Franchise. Virtual Training Centre works well even though the level of difficulty still isn't entirely well balanced. But if you're a fan of NFL, this is no doubt the game to get.
  9. Like most EA Sports releases, Madden 09 is a good re-entry point for anyone who's skipped a few years, but less than essential for anyone who picked up last year's edition. The changes may be numerous, but few feel essential and you're always aware that many of them will be back next year, in a further refined form.
  10. In truth, we’re in distraction territory – beyond (admittedly quite a few) graphical changes, its only substantial addition will feel to football veterans like throw-in training might feel to, er, football veterans.
  11. The game will satisfy the appetite of both casual and hardcore football fans and its mixes those two worlds together very well.
  12. 91
    The most accurate description of American Football on a videogame console that I’ve ever seen.
  13. This 20th version of Madden NFL will sure be known as one of best of the series and will sure keep the whole Madden Nation happy…until next year of course. Expectations will continue to grow.
  14. We're happy to report that Madden NFL 09 represents the pinnacle of the modern Madden era. [Sept 2008, p.68]
  15. 90
    Madden has finally entered the next-generation with a fierce new look and some ability to flex some powerful new features like Madden IQ.
  16. Madden 09 is the best Madden of this generation. It's the first of the series which feels like it actually belongs on these consoles, and wasn't just ported with prettier graphics.
  17. EA have this year won the Superbowl this year by providing the best NFL experience to date.
  18. Additions to this year's Madden title have truly made it shine. The franchise just keeps getting better and better!
  19. A real solid sports game that does not disappoint.
  20. Players will love the new features in this game and will come to long for them if they pop in an older game for nostalgia sake.
  21. Madden NFL 09 is far from a perfect game but at the end of the day this one is the best versions in its 20 year run.
  22. 88
    Madden NFL 09 is the most loyal translation of America’s favorite sport I’ve ever seen. It looks great, plays great, and despite its few moments of inaccuracies, is still one of the best sports games in memory.
  23. There are a lot of new features this year, but none of them are of much consequence. If you own Madden 08, there is no truly outstanding aspect that makes a repurchase necessary. In fact, the Superstar and Franchise game modes are nearly identical, and the Online Leagues aren't impressive enough to outshine the excellent online play of last year.
  24. 88
    I've not played many of the previous Madden games, and I wouldn't call myself an American football enthusiast by any stretch of the imagination. But this game really managed to capture my attention. Its addictive; its fun, and its very easy to get sucked into.
  25. Even though Madden NFL 09 is not perfect in any shape or form it is the best football experience available on the Xbox 360 and should be checked out by new fans of the series as well as twenty-year veterans. The new features tossed into the game give Madden 09 a bit of everything for everyone who enjoys football.
  26. Madden 09 has far more successes than failures, enough that any pro football fan that’s been hesitant to actually pick-up the game for the past few should definitely give this game a shot.
  27. There’s a whole lot of game here, but that was true last year, and for every gameplay improvement there’s something annoying to dampen the enthusiasm. It’s still an excellent football game, but the casual player is going to like it a lot more than the grizzled vet.
  28. Madden NFL 09 is a competent addition to this twenty year franchise, and perhaps the best that Tiburon has to offer for the Xbox 360. But one has to wonder why issues such as unnecessary clipping, framerate/loading issues and the lack of full Live functionality are still around three years into the 360’s console cycle.
  29. While the play-to-play action has some awesome moments, the Franchise mode is stuck in a boring rut.
  30. Even with all the new features and promised tweaks, Madden 09 still feels a bit too familiar and some might even have a hard time separating it from last year’s game.
  31. If you are looking for a football game to play with friends for the next year, you can’t go wrong with this one. Although the changes and new additions may not be game changing, they do enough to keep Madden 10 fresh and playing with a buddy in co-op is always fun.
  32. Ultimately, Madden NFL 09 offers just enough to fans to warrant a purchase. Although meager, the new additions do help the game feel like it's worth the price of admission.
  33. For every addition, like the backtrack feature, Collinsworth, or improved visuals, there's a problem that rears its ugly head, like the unchanged Superstar mode, poor pass coverage in the middle of the field, or underwhelming online leagues. Newcomers will still face a steep learning curve, but if you're a football fan or series veteran, you can't go wrong with Madden 09.
  34. This is a game that has successfully changed my opinions on American Football, and could do the same for you.
  35. 75
    On the whole there is not much new going on in the world of Madden NFL 09, but the implementation of features that make it more accessible to casual gamers is a step in the right direction if the franchise is to flourish outside of the United States.
  36. For every new mechanic implemented, there is something else botched just enough to render the neat new aspect moot.
  37. Individually this game should be superb and if you’ve never played a previous version this should be your first point of call. However, taken as part of a continuous series, this is a fairly pointless offering as it offers very little in terms of innovation.
  38. I wanted this game to be exceedingly different, and I don’t believe I got that. It’s still much the same, even if the grass looks greener this time around.
  39. 100
    The new commentating team, Backtrack replays, soundtrack, and improved graphics really packs that extra punch of realism making this game a must buy.
  40. 80
    Online play is a very enticing part of what Madden brings to the table this year.
  41. If you've been waiting for a Madden that's going to be entertaining instead of frustrating, this is your year. I highly recommend the '09 edition!
  42. 100
    The mud-caked Slop Bowls, bustling sidelines, and significantly varied player physiques mean that Madden 09's finally lived up to EA's next-gen target video from three years ago that -- for three years -- looked way better than the games themselves.
  43. Everything from the visuals, audio, and presentation have been bumped up a notch to a level that would make any fan who has turned their heads for the last 3 years take notice.
  44. What you are left with is a great 2-player game, a lot of features that the well established fan base most likely won’t care about (even though Backtrack and Rewind are both pretty good ideas), a half-baked online league system, and gameplay that is at times highly polished and entertaining yet also plagued by AI issues.
  45. For years Madden has been improving visually and adding features, but to what end? What you're left with every year is a game with a split personality: An awesome football game that's great to play with your friends or even online, but makes you want to smash your machine if you ever play against the computer.
  46. 90
    The controls are tight and responsive, and the overall flow of an NFL contest feels realistic.
  47. Official Xbox Magazine UK
    It's online that Madden 09 really comes into its own. [Oct 2008, p.88]
  48. LEVEL (Czech Republic)
    The polished diamond called Madden NFL combines first rate playability together with adaptable AI and a very good multiplayer mode. Unfortunately, most parts of the game are the same as last year's version, so it is more of an add-on than a regular next version. [Sept 2008]
  49. Electronic Gaming Monthly
    Parity's finally come to Madden multiplayer, though - the new difficulty-balancing feature works great, and it allows me to finally play competitive games against better players. [Sept 2008, p.80]
  50. Games Master UK
    Enormous US football sim that isn't as hard to get into as some of the previous versions. [Oct 2008, p.82]
User Score

Mixed or average reviews- based on 127 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 78 out of 127
  2. Negative: 35 out of 127
  1. WXT
    Aug 22, 2017
    I'm Australian and hence not really into NFL. I tried this out just out of curiosity but didn't get it, for fans of the sport the score wouldI'm Australian and hence not really into NFL. I tried this out just out of curiosity but didn't get it, for fans of the sport the score would be much higher and i would recommend it. Full Review »
  2. Oct 16, 2010
    Ok this game has absoulotly nothing to say for its self Id rather have the first madden game ever. The first place this game goes wrong isOk this game has absoulotly nothing to say for its self Id rather have the first madden game ever. The first place this game goes wrong is when I boot up play now mode excited to play my first madden game on the 360 and I her chris conlinsworth. I hate this guy and this is the worst decesion EA has made with madden so far. EA tiburn had alot of competion this year also because NCAA 09 turned out great. Id rather spend less money to buy the game on my psp and lose the commentary of chris and be a pro mode. The franchise mode also stinks and I can go online with my psp. EA DID NOT GET THE JOB DONE THIS YEAR. Full Review »
  3. MohS.
    Mar 2, 2009
    Alright, I'll be honest, this madden is an improvement, but nothing will top the 2k sports games. NBA 2k9 is way better than NBA live Alright, I'll be honest, this madden is an improvement, but nothing will top the 2k sports games. NBA 2k9 is way better than NBA live 09. ESPN 2k5, way better than madden 05,06,07,08,09. That is real serious. I mean it's the best nfl game out there, thats because its the only one. NCAA 09 is better than this game. I just love it because i love football, and i love smashing on cats in this game. Full Review »