Review by Galactus21

Reviewed: 06/04/08

Hit and miss...

When my new roommate pulled out a copy of Madden NFL 2003, I was quickly interested to replay it and see how well it held up over the years. Not surprisingly, the core game play mechanics are still there. Unfortunately, the stale game play of Madden hasn’t changed over the years either. In the 2003 version however, there are several issues that I had problems with. The hit detection/tackling animation was horrid, controls felt awkward, and the passing game was sluggish. While there are moments where Madden does things right, i.e. the running game, the other moments is where the game falls apart.

Madden’s core game play have been fairly solid in certain editions. In 2003 however, I felt the passing game was very sluggish. What I mean by that is receivers missing routes at times. I can understand the a few occurrences to generate realism, but coming from professional wideouts, it seems strange that simple routes can be missed. The running game on the other hand was very smooth. What I mean by that is that the running games in other games I have played have been too easy to rack up the yards. In 2003, it requires careful reads from the player to see where the holes are forming or where the blockers are going. Due to this, it makes the running game much more fun to use. Playing on the defensive side was also quite smooth. The transition between players flowed effortlessly. While the animation and hit detection was shoddy, tackling for the most part worked out well from a game play aspect. Like all other Madden games, 2003 boasts numerous different modes and options to keep the player entertained for a while. Here lies Madden’s appeal if you ask me.

Graphics on the other hand does not hold up too well. The character models were ugly – even if it was to be compared to games in that time frame. Animation was poorly done as well. While citing an earlier example of tackling as a main reason, other reasons include the shoddy cuts that receivers made or the running motion of players. The game however did flow quite well. The frame rate was solid. The commentary in the game was good, but repetitive. What I mean by that is the commentators are good, but they repeat the same lines too much.

Madden NFL 2003 was a decent game if it was to be compared with games from the past. Not much has changed. 2003 is still a decent game. The shoddy passing games is the main reason for 2003 not scoring higher. It had a lot of potential, but it eventually couldn’t piece everything together to make a good football game. Madden NFL 2003 is now in the bargain bins, so it should be really cheap. I would recommend the game because of that. If it was 50 bucks in that timeframe, I would not make the same recommendations.

Rating:   3.0 - Fair

Product Release: Madden NFL 2003 (US, 08/12/02)

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