Review by coffee7729

Reviewed: 08/15/07

Good fun and still great Madden football, but nothing phenomenal

For those of us who haven't quite yet made the next-gen leap, Madden NFL 08 has been released on the 3 current-gen systems as well. And if you're a current-gen owner and still love the Madden series, the current-gen version of the game will not disappoint. Let's take a look deeper into the game judging by 5 main categories: Gameplay, Sound, Graphics, Off-Field Features, and an overall.

GAMEPLAY: 7/10

The on-field AI is much similar to that of Madden NFL 07. The blockers block generally the same way, and player movements and intelligence remains relatively untouched. There are, however, some new animations as well as new defensive audible options. There are some really sweet tackle animations you'll notice fairly soon. Gang tackles make their return to Madden this year. So if you're running and you're stuck between a big heap of defenders on the line of scrimmage, you just may end up on the turf with two big D-Tackles on top of you. Another series of new tackle animations is brought on by the new Hit Stick 2.0. With this, you can choose to take the ball carrier out by going high or low. Going high is for if you have a favorable power matchup, for example Brian Urlacher going for a hit on Tatum Bell. You may knock the ball loose if you go high. Going low isn't quite as powerful, but it's much more effective if you have a defensive back going for a tackle on a fullback or tight end. You take them out by their legs and they fall over you. A few new catch animations have also been thrown into the mix. Also on defense, you can choose the new WR Spotlight feature. Use this for a receiver you want to keep an eye on, like Chad Johnson or Steve Smith. It helps keep him contained by constantly putting your best guy on him. The new Weapons System tells you the specialties of players, but in reality is useless. It's just a quick way to tell who's good at doing what and who to stay away from. Kick returning seems to be easier this year, but punt returning remains difficult. The gameplay isn't horrible, but if you're looking for a huge upgrade from Madden NFL 07, you won't find that here.

Sound: 8/10

I'm personally not a fan of the songs in most Maddens. The very first song I heard when I turned the game on I had to turn off because I simply couldn't believe it had been put on an NFL game. The Sam Spence Classical NFL Music seems to fit the game more, but the soundtrack all depends on personal preference, so I can't really put that against the overall rating. The commentary has hardly any new lines from what I've heard so far, but is still solid with Al Michaels and John Madden making the calls. The on-field sound effects are still sharp as ever.

GRAPHICS: 7/10

The graphics are pretty much untouched from Madden 07. Same player models, absolutely no new player features, and the fields all look the same. If you took away the score bar at the top of the screen and held up screenshots of Madden 08 to 07, you couldn't tell the difference. These aren't bad graphics by any means, but just nothing improved.

OFF-FIELD FEATURES: 8/10

The new NFL superstar mode allows you to pick a player from the current incoming draft class and start an NFL career with them. You can pick from JaMarcus Rusell, Calvin Johnson, Gaines Adams, and many, many more players and guide their careers. The normal superstar mode is pretty much unchanged, except for a few things regarding the creation of your player. You choose his face and race, then instead of picking parents for your stats you apply them yourself at the next screen. This way you can make your guy good at what you want to. After that, it's all the same except for a new apartment, some new e-mails, and a couple new interview questions. You still work out for 3 different teams before the draft and have one workout at the combine. Franchise is pretty much the same thing to. The only changes are, EA Radio was taken out of the game. Not that big of a loss, it got old pretty quick anyway. Also, a new menu in franchise, "My Week", has been added to give you quicker access to the important aspects of the upcoming opponent. On it you can play your next opponent, go to the rosters, gameplan the opponent, go to practice, or read e-mails. You can still create a player in franchise mode, as well. Skill Drills are also a new addition to the game. In this mode, you can sharpen your skills in 4 different aspects of the game: Rushing, Passing, Pre-Play adjustments, and defense. Experienced Madden vets should find it pretty easy, but if you've never played the game before, it could be a challenge. There's also a new mode called Fantasy Challenge, in which you select groups of players to construct a team. For example, you could take the Ravens linebackers, Colts defensive linemen, and Lions wide receivers, and go forward as if in a season or franchise. Teams will challenge you for your players, however, and you have to perform well in drills to keep them. Pretty interesting mode. Overall, there's lots to keep you entertained off the field.

OVERALL: 7/10

If you're one who buys Madden every year, you won't be upset this year. If you're one who's sitting on 07 waiting for feedback from those who have upgraded from 08, and aren't quite sure you want to buy 08, you may be upset. If you aren't sure you want to spend $50 right now, sit on 07 for a few months until the $10 price drop. If you haven't upgraded since 06 or before, it's time to buy 08.

Rating:   3.5 - Good

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