Madden 3DS

John Madden Football is the video game equivalent of an ambassador to the public on behalf of a new gaming system. If the game could talk, it would probably say: "Hey, everybody, see this new gadget? It's safe to buy because I'm here. You trust ME, right? I'm awesome."

And so it goes with the launch of Nintendo's nifty 3DS handheld system. The 3DS already overcomes one big obstacle for mainstream acceptance -- it doesn't require dorky glasses to enjoy the visuals in three dimensions. Step number two in 3DS World Domination Campaign: Having America's most beloved ex-coach/commentator right there by the portable's side.

But the question remains: Is this little pocket version of Madden a winner?

PRETTY AS TOM BRADY

From a graphical standpoint, Madden Football 3DS scores a touchdown. If you want a title to show off the 3DS to your sports loving friends, Madden is the one to snatch up. The game looks near-console quality (if that console is a Wii, that is) and the 3D effects are spectacular, especially during instant replays and "Spotlight Moments" that feature an up-close and personal view of the action.

Your eyes may take some time to adjust to the graphics, but once they do, you'll appreciate the fact that the increased depth of vision makes it slightly easier to spot where your receivers are on the field.

It's difficult to quibble much with Madden 3DS' controls. EA has found a way to comfortably convert the game's action to the 3DS' control scheme. The sound is also top-notch as everything from the sound effects, music and bombastic play-by-play commentary of Gus Johnson and Cris Collinsworth seems imported straight from console versions of Madden '11.

MADDEN-LITE

Madden Football 3DS does, however, deserve a 15-yard penalty for its distinct lack of extras. Except for the addition of a rapid 5-on-5 mode that will remind nostalgic gamers of the old NFL Blitz games, there's very little in the way of different gameplay options.

Gone are the extensive franchise and Create-A-Player modes we're used to seeing from every home version of Madden over the last several years. Most disappointing, perhaps, is that all multiplayer capabilities have been benched in favor of a strictly solo campaign.

VERDICT

If you're a football fan that wants a quick and dirty portable version of Madden without all of the trimmings -- Madden Football 3DS is a worthy pick. The 3D effect is so good, you might think you feel a gust of wind as Devin Hester returns a kick for a touchdown.

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