>>> Casual Misanthropy
By staff writer JD Rebello
August 21, 2005

So my roommate Mark bought me Madden 2006 as a birthday present, roughly one week before my actual birthday. Smart move, as I had plans to buy the game about 8 minutes later. By now you know the stories. Every guy has a Madden story. Every girl has in some way been slighted by Madden. It’s just one of those things that has somehow created its own culture pretty much out of nothing. Like Old School, O.A.R., and DVDA. So here, without further ado, is my review.

Madden 2006 is way too fucking hard.

We’re talking calculus for business majors hard. We’re talking watch Mulholland Drive and understand what in the blue hell is going on hard. This year, EA Sports added this thing called QB vision. Here’s how it works: a quarterback gets a cone of light aimed at a receiver that essentially means it’s much easier for him to complete a pass. If you’re a QB with a high awareness rating, the cone is bigger. If you’re a QB whose name is A.J. Feeley, you have a cone smaller than Courtney Love’s kidney.

“I wanted Video Game Justin to cheat on his wife and drive his Viper into a crowd of pro-life advocates. None of that happens in Madden '06.”

At first, I thought this would be a cool feature. Given that I was playing with the Patriots—namely, the best quarterback in football and porn connosieur, Tom Brady—I assumed this would only help my immortality with Number 12. Just for background, in last year’s game I led Brady to seven Super Bowls and six MVP titles, including a magical 2010 season where Brady threw 72 touchdowns. (Take that, Peyton, you pussbag.)

Anyway, I assumed my brilliance with Brady would only continue in 06. Wrong. WRONG. He got absolutely torched in his first game. Five interceptions against the freaking Raiders. But it’s not his fault. QB vision is absurd. Absolutely absurd. You start out focused on one receiver. To change focus to another receiver, which you almost always have to do because the defenses this year don’t put up with my bullshit of the same shotgun play every time…this became known in my apartment as the 12-second drill…. Where the hell was I? Ok. Basically to change focus to another receiver, you have to hit R2 and the icon of the receiver. Sounds easy, but you have about .01233 seconds to pull this off before you get sacked. And I’ll ruin the suspense for you, you will get sacked. Remember in Under Siege 2: Dark Territory when Steven Seagal outran a train collision, meaning he basically had to outrun a speeding train that collided into the speeding train he was already on, with no point of impactwhatsoever? Or remember The Mummy Returns, when Brendan Fraser had to outrun the sun to save Rachel Weisz and Rachel Weisz’s breasts? Or remember Day After Tomorrow, when Donnie Darko outran it being cold? Those are pretty base examples of the concept of time required to pull off QB vision successfully. Maybe this is accurate. Maybe this is like the real NFL. I don’t care. I’m playing a video game, dammit. What are we in store for in 2007? Perhaps some doctor injecting whale hormone into our grundle? Actually, that would be kind of cool.

The other new addition to Madden 2006 is Superstar mode, in which you can create a player from scratch and guide him through an NFL career. I, of course, created myself. Now, you’d be surprised, but a 140-pound, left-handed rookie quarterback out of THE Northeastern University doesn’t fare terribly well. Every time I got hit, which was often and always, I either got lost the ball or got injured. In the third quarter, following a vicious hit from Jeremiah Trotter, video game Justin died. Literally died. The injury report said: “JD Rebello, out for eternity.”

Regardless, superstar mode is horseshit. You take interviews, star in shit movies (like a Revolutionary War film called “Musket,” which sounds funny, except you know those pricks who made “Troy” will somehow try and make “Musket a reality), but it doesn’t lead anywhere. I wanted Video Game Justin to cheat on his wife and drive his Viper into a crowd of pro-life advocates. None of that happens. How come you can’t go T.O. and get into a war of words with your coach? Or tell GQ about your affinity for porn? Or lie at a congressional hearing and sucker the city of Baltimore into thinking your some kind of hero? You can’t do any of that. About the coolest thing you can do is get your guy a mullet. Good times.

That’s not to say this year’s game sucks. Far from it. The Patriots are ri-donkulous in this game. Peyton Manning still takes a laughable amount of time during the snap count. The soundtrack is decent, and Madden still makes utterly retarded observations like, “The ball tends to get slippery when it’s raining out.”

I just don’t like this year’s new additions, particularly when you consider how well EA Sports has done in the past, like in 2003 when you could set snack bar prices, in which I created one-dollar draft beers at Gillette Stadium, or in 2005 when you could audible your defense, allowing me the first ever 11-man blitz.

But that QB vision. God, it infuriates me. I’ve lost my first three games on franchise mode by a final score of 105-10. And that’s with the defending fucking champs! Not only that, but I didn’t really need a bloody video game to remind me I’m way too skinny to play football, and am a constant risk to be decapitated every time I drop back for a passing play.

Thanks EA Sports, but no thanks. Maybe next year you could kick sand in my face and steal that brunette I like. I mean, the least you could do is put Brady on the cover.