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Platform

Xbox 360

 

Genre

Sports

 

Publisher

Electronic Arts

 

Developer

EA Tiburon

 

ESRB

E (Everyone)

 

Released

August 14, 2007

 

 

- Gameplay is so nearly perfect (sans the kicking game), no other game has ever come this close to capturing true n-the-field NFL football action in a game

 

 

- I simply donít know why EA Tiburon still canít figure out an effective kicking mechanism after all these years

- Radio broadcast (thereís no Madden calling the gameplay) is rather dull compared to the on-field action (especially during exciting plays)

 

 

Review: Madden NFL 06 (360)

Review: NCAA Football 08 (360)

Review: NCAA Football 07 (PS2)

 

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Madden NFL 08

Score: 9.0 / 10

 

Thereís not much of a problem in any competition finishing first when thereís nobody competing against you. And thatís been the case recently with Electronic Artsí multi-million unit Madden NFL franchise, only the most popular football video game ever.

 

madden nfl 08          madden nfl 08

 

When Madden started to face a stiff challenge from Visual Conceptsí 2K series with 2K5 as the best pigskin video game around, EA bought the NFL license exclusively for its Madden franchise for 15 years, effectively eliminating any opposition it had. The results of its exclusivity on the next-generation Xbox 360, however, were met with mixed enthusiasm from longtime Madden gamers and critics alike. Competition brought out the best in Maddenís EA Tiburon development team, and now that it was gone, it wasnít exactly putting forth a stellar effort.

 

Thatís changed with Madden NFL 08, which, not coincidentally, needed to compete once more against a Visual Concepts football game this year. Publisher Take-Two

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had a brilliant plan: donít worry about the current crop of licensed players and teams whose rights EA now owned. Go out and sign the retired legends of the game for All-Pro Football 2K8. However, EA Tiburon took the re-entry of its nemesis to task, and has bestowed Maddenites with a solid and redeeming

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next-generation title in Madden NFL 08 for the Xbox 360.

 

Defensively and offensively, Madden NFL 08 is at its highest performance levels. Running and passing on offense as well as playing defense couldnít be any more detailed and well-handled than it is in Madden NFL 08, with stellar and responsive controls along with more natural animations and on-field reactions. That unfortunately doesnít completely apply to the special teams, which once again has the absolute worst kicking meter thatís appeared in a football videogame. Thereís no trust whatsoever that the meter will allow you to kick a field goal when needed, even with kicks that should be chip shots. Punt returning is more stable than before, where thereís actual blocking instead of the threat of getting hit nearly at the same time that your punt returner catches the ball, leading to fumbles galore in Madden NFL 07 if your dared tried to field the punt.

 

Thereís a new icon-based Read and React system, where certain players have icons assigned to them based on a particular skill. Rifle-armed quarterbacks have corresponding icons, as do the fleet-of-foot running backs. It supposedly helps you make a read on both defense and offense as to who needs to be paid close attention to, although if youíre playing Madden, you probably already know that those particular players have the superlative skills that need your front-and-center awareness. Maybe not coincidentally, Madden NFL 08ís A.I. seems to have been ratcheted up a notch, although veteran gamers still should be able to win consistently without much difficulty.

 

madden nfl 08          madden nfl 08

 

Madden NFL 08 has a enhanced Front Office mode as the gameís franchise mode, which gives gamers total control over operating their favorite NFL franchise. Along with that, thereís a role-playing aspect to Madden NFL 08. By earning in-game rewards that in turn increase your Madden gamer level, you build a championship ring in a tiered setup, starting with an average gold ring all the way up to a spectacular bling-blinging piece of finger jewelry.

 

Football, whether itís NCAA Football or Madden NFL, has arguably been EA Sportsí best online performing sport, and Madden NFL 08 is perfect proof of that, with another strong showing via Xbox Live gameplay. The radio broadcast that eliminates past seasonís play-by-play calling that featured Madden and his sidekick announcer du jour is rather dull, especially at times when there should be some excitement in his voice on the part of the radio announcer based on the on-the-field goings-on but it is completely missing. This guy wouldnít last a full preseason if he actually called real games this way.

 

Competition has brought out the best in the Madden franchise with Madden NFL 08, an all-around excellent football game that more than atones for its somewhat uneven Xbox 360 showing in Madden NFL 07. With its rival counterpart once more providing a competitive football gaming market, Madden NFL 08 nonetheless rises to a championship-caliber level, with excellent football gaming savvy, the bar-none best franchise mode around and strong online gameplay.

 

- Lee Cieniawa

lcieniawa@armchairempire.com

(September 6, 2007)

 

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