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When I reviewed Madden 08 for the PC, I said that I would be doing this review in the near future. Now, some several months later, I’ve finally got the review up. The review might not have been worth the wait, but the game itself is. This is everything the PC version should have been: The graphics are detailed and sharp, the Superstar mode has been tweaked, the sound has improvements and the weapons system is finally worth while. It’s hardly perfect, but it is the best football experience on the market today.

The game itself is solid. I really enjoy the balance and control offered in this game. It’s not too hard or too easy, mostly due to the accuracy of the player interactions. The animations are well done and don’t interfere with the play because they can be cut off for quick movements without looking choppy or broken. The movements are smooth and precise, and I have to say that I love the location of the ‘sprint’ button on the right trigger. This makes it so much easier to juke and truck with the right stick compared to the PC version, which puts the sprint button on the face.

The Superstar mode, my favorite feature, is much improved. No longer do you have to watch each play your team makes while you’re off the field, the game now allows you to sim whatever happens when you’re on the bench to help make the game faster and cleaner. I hated the down time on the PC while I was on the bench. Why wasn’t this in the PC version? How hard would that have been to add? I can only imagine that EA Sports was just too lazy to implement it. My biggest complaint is that I am unable to produce players that start with a rating over 45. The game doesn’t explain what I’m doing wrong, which is a downer. The oddest part is that Bud Daniel, my running back for the Browns, in rated a 43, but gets 158 yards per game and leads the league in touchdowns. How realistic is that? He really ought to be a third or fourth stringer somewhere, but instead he’s in his second season with the Browns as their starter and a dominant back. I made a QB who was rated a 31, with less then 45 on both throwing accuracy and power, and after his first game after supplanting Brett Favre (and Aaron Rogers) in Green Bay, he’s thrown for over 300 yards and four touchdowns. There are so many problems there that I don’t know where to begin. I shouldn’t have replaced Rogers, let alone Favre, and I never should have racked up the yards the way I did. I also don’t get why my stats are always so darn low. I’m weak at the mini-games, but can dominate in games. What’s that supposed to mean? It’s confusing.

I harped on the Weapons system on the PC version. Part of my problem was that almost every other player was a Weapon, and there was no way to make a created player a Weapon. On the 360 version, there are many more ratings to be had that help establish weapons. I like that weapons now make an impact on games. As my running back, I know to dodge big hitters and brick wall defenders in the defense because Daniel isn’t strong enough to force his way past them. The Weapons are fewer in number but more effective in practice.

The graphics are good, but not spectacular. They’re light years ahead of the PC version but could be better, and they don’t maximize the 360’s potential. The sounds don’t include the Madden/Summerall tandem in the booth, but I like the arena announcer more in this version. I always disliked how the voice lacked reverberation on the PC, but this version has it. It feels more like a stadium announcer that way.

I both like and dislike the create-a-team feature at the same time. I love the possibilities, but it needs more art options and more uniform styles. All of the teams you make look fairly similar due to the limited uniform options. The stadiums also need more variety. You can, though, draft a team from the whole league as well as the Hall of Famers included in the game. I dislike that you are unable to edit your teams once you’ve saved them. The create-a-player options are excellent, and very versatile.

Madden NFL 08 is a fun game and is definitely the best pro pigskin game on the market right now, so I’d definitely recommend it. I personally prefer NCAA 08, but this is good in it’s own right. There’s some balance issues and some quirks in the Superstar mode, but it’s a good play nonetheless. Alphasim out

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