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The EA Sports A Team Returns

Enhancements and tweaks expected for the major franchises

EA Sports continues to deliver those lucrative league-licensed products that sports gamers crave. This fall, four major titles anchor the company’s lineup.

Having concentrated a great deal on defensive-play enhancements during the last few years, the Madden team has moved its focus to the offensive side of the ball for Madden NFL 2006 (PS2, Xbox, GameCube, PSP, PC). Changes in NFL rules last year encouraged more passing-orientated attacks, and Madden NFL 2006 is reflecting this shift in play by placing an emphasis on quarterback accuracy and precision. Also, expect firm details on how the series will be extended to next-generation systems—footage of which was seen in a 60-second TV ad during the NFL draft on April 23.

In the realm of college football, NCAA Football 2006 (PS2, Xbox) puts its focus on the Heisman Trophy race. Players start off with a promising prep-school athlete in search of a scholarship and must then work their way to the top, hopefully culminating their career by winning the coveted Heisman Trophy. Additionally, the gameplay for impact players who can change the course of a game has been enhanced, as have the character and stadium models.

While racing games have traditionally been a driver-versus-driver affair, NASCAR Chase for the Cup 2006 (PS2, Xbox) adds a more realistic team component to the series. A new crew-chief function puts greater control of the race into the player’s hands, complete with the ability to switch to another of his or her team’s cars during a race.

EA Sports is also revealing details about the next-generation Tiger Woods game. One confirmed new feature is the premier golfer’s new swing. Woods has made sure that Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2006 depicts him accurately, having his revised swing motion-captured for authenticity.

By George T. Chronis

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