IGN writes: "Madden is a rare sight in the videogame industry. It's a yearly release that has managed to stay fresh and fun throughout its 20 years. Detractors say that its general lack of overhauled innovation is an abomination, while fans rabidly defend it (and the sales charts prove it). Madden NFL 09 will likely be received the same way by both groups as it manages to refine the already splendidly realistic football that was seen in last year's version, while bringing it to a new level. It may not look all that different to the casual observer, but football aficionados and Madden veterans alike will be able to appreciate the small enhancements.
EA Sports is putting a large emphasis on the accessibility of the core Madden gameplay, now offering different play styles and a user-defined difficulty setting known as My Skill to go along with revamped production values. These two main features represent the biggest changes to the Madden formula."