Review by KnightofMists

Reviewed: 10/18/02 | Updated: 10/18/02

Better then M. Tices random play calling

Briefing Room

After a medicore debute release on X-Box the previous year. Madden2003 delivers a 'hook' right to the head of X-Box Football Sports rivals. The new release of Madden, makes 'everything wounderful now'. With a load of new gameplay options, such as Minicamp, 101 mode, and all the others you've grown acustom to seeing in each yearly installment. To top it off the nicely polished off graphics, and new animations are abundant, smooth and must i add crisp? Oh yes, Madden2003 shines like your janitors bald head. Waxed, shined, and glowing with perfection. But alas EA didn't ship your shinny Madden gem with Online play. Yes, it IS true. No Online play with your Madden2003(X-Box only) boys and gals. Which will play a big part in which football series holds the crown as the dominate franchise.

Appearance

Madden2003 comes packaged with the funniest random intro/loading screens to date. with a 3 to 8 second range in length. It consists of one or more well known football players saying, ''EA its in the game'' in there own fashion. To tell you the truth this was probally one of the more costly features of the whole game, and to me one of the worst showcase's of ill spent money in EA history. Yet it keeps the 'random' feel i get when i play Madden. 'You can win or loose on any given MaddenDay'. Other then a bit of work done with the selection process, and save/load features, etc. Its the same Madden. Is it me, or did they modle the ingame selection color scheme after the Titans?

Graphics

Using the engine that has made Madden the 'king of football', you will see very little change in the flow of Madden (PSx,X-Box). Only a few programming 'tweaks' to make it overall run abit more smother, including a better collision enviorment. Which for this very reason makes me a bigger fan of Madden VRS NFL2k. (The only football games, as far as im concerned) The animations of Madden are tried, true, traffic, TIRED. Same ole Madden in this aspect, the gang tackle animations is really sharp in Instant Replay, but lack the Madden luster in-game.

A few spiffy new add-ons to maddens graphic engine are the cheerleaders at halftime, the QB side arm throw animation, throwing on the heel, and 'Matrix filmography' replay as it twists in a awesome fashion to show the pick in a fashion never done before. It will really make your mouth water. Aside from the zombie cheerleaders who look as happy to see you up by 40points as the other team, Madden is as stated before a graphical gem in a pile of coal (Rival Sports).

Sound

''BOOM HE'S ON HIS BACK'' Yes Madden, eat that six legged turkey and give us a break from your one-sided obvious comments. Yes Madden is still pointing out runs that had no chance, picks that were clearly over thrown, and DB's that blew the coverage. But dont you love to hear Madden tell you what you already know? We've grown accustom to it havn't we? Pat is still gone, Madden is still here, what more can i say? The sound track for Madden is explosive rock. Featuring ''Party Hard'', a well done traditional new rock Bon Jovi title, and many others. Still no option to play music from your list, which football title will take this area to the next level? So far none.

Game play

Here is where Madden shines. If NFL2k's (''AND 3 SUUUUCCKKA!'') player animations is a long run, Maddens game play is a long bomb to the enzone, Touch Down; Terrel OWeNz. Your back, reciever, etc have an arsenial of animations/ways to pick, grab the ball, and 'run-the-sideline'. A wide-out with high agility can make a one handed catch across the middle 5 yards ahead of him and then run up the side line Cm's away from being out bounce with three corners in hot pursuit. You got them beat by 10 yards? Try pressing ''Y'' while running, ahhh..... Dieon Sanders highstepping all the way in. Perhaps you didn't make a touchdown, you were hit out of bounce doing that ever so crafty sideline tiptoe run, and you were hit out of bounce? Try the challenge says your advisary? It could go either way now. The CEE is right on top of things. It will determine if you were in or out. Giving the play to the one deserving it. Oh wait, did you fumble it? Give it a shot, maybe you were down by contact. (INSTANT REPLAY) His knee hit the ground first?! You get the ball back! The new features in the gameplay are just packed. Challenge the play has become a MUST for footballs with Madden's new revolution with it. Sadly nfl2k doesn't have anything like this. But the juke, spin, and stiffarm are all here still. The Defence can use the stripball move, where they try to 'whack' the ball out. This is hard to do, the play must hit the ball with there selected player. Which is hard to do, but if you button cram in desperation, like a tekken 30hit combo, it can be done.

Now like any gem, there is always a few rugged corners, and chipped edges. Lets start with the audibles (Not because they are utterly worthless, usually causing you more stress, and a loss of yards then anything). In order to call an audible you have to hit ''Y'', then a following button to do it. The responce is sluggish, and at times seems like it doesnt even work. Aside from not knowing what play you audibled to, (unless you took the 30minutes to set them and remember them ahead of game time) you never know if the audible went threw unless it changes your formation. I think this was an attempt to stick with more realism, but it hurts the game play in the long run. On the defensive side, everything runs smooth and works. I hate having to try shift the line my audibles, its the same as on offence. Most the time i just button cram till i get something that 'looks good', realisim for you. If your the Minnesota Vikings head coach anyways.

Replay Value

Here is an area all sports games try to put a Bryant Young tackle on the opposition. Inorder to secure a title as 'good', it MUST have high replay value. With Madden they really put there time into this area. With the way calls can go, and be challenged. Madden beefed up there line this year. Including new modes, and naturally the ability to create your own, profile, team, player(s), play(s), and even a nifty logo to choose. Its still not a dramatic leap for the series, but its still pushing its weight around. With online play, Madden X-Box would have no equal. Yet again, like Microsoft would say, ''Its MyOOONwaAAYYyy or the highway.'' Only Sony shells it out, to stop X-Box this time. I can't say that im sad for Bill Gates, but im mad that X-Box misses out.

On another note, the Madden cards add alot to the game. You can buy them with the points earned on single player. Unlock teams, and a few other bundles of goodies they have added to keep you glued to the tv, for hours of one on one, or even 2 on 2 good ole fashion Madden football.

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

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