The 18th version of this popular NFL football game has some nice analytical and role playing additions. The read and react system lets you exploit individual strengths and weaknesses before every play. Madden 08 extends role playing elements in Superstar and the new Front Office mode. These involving activities include creating stadiums, hiring a staff, setting concession prices and conducting the draft. Each activity eventually breaks down into income (including local media contracts and parking) versus expenses like advertising and fan appreciation day.
The Superstar element continues with challenging drills and plentiful information/media to help you make informed decisions. If you’re making a new player, you can use your Mii. You can still create a positive or negative ego. Take this option to extremes to shake things up in this role playing mode where players dream of the Hall of Fame and other bonuses. The ever present chance to stretch your status, including morale and coach prestige, encourages players to do more instead of simulating through games.
Break out your no sleeve shirts because your arms will get a workout! The controller options on the Wii console offer two choices: the easier family play (remote only) or advanced (nunchaku combined with remote). The family play option gives new and younger players great options so they can get in the game! Besides Football 101 for the newbies, players can also practice each remote/nunchaku function until they’re ready for the big time. Remember, the remote functions as the default controller, so you can only use it when selecting certain options. Both options work well, but the remote A button maybe a bit too sensitive when select plays because you can accidentally select two in a row if you thumb gets too excited.
A quick button release and fast remote motion (especially on swats and kicks) will help improve your performance. The kicks might be the most challenging lessons. Players have to pull the remote up very fast to get a noticeable effect. On family play, players can find big success on defensive hits by switching players to find gaps then constantly moving the remote forward for an easy big hit. Practice makes perfect during the controller learning curve, but it’s definitely worth the time and effort. The arm motions can get physically demanding, especially when in the heat of the moment, so make sure you’re fit to play – and don’t have any valuables in the vicinity.
The player roster allow the same option without the season mode complete with depth chart and free agent pools that include Corey Dillon and Mike Vanderjagt. Haven’t found a situation yet where you can’t switch first picks with other teams in the top 5 or 6 picks. If you need help, go to http://www.madden08.com for a roster update list (NOTE: no longer supported). If cap penalties and other logistics go beyond your realm, then rely on the CPU can always make up any roster issues and discrepancies, which really promotes a lot of experimentation. After you update the rosters, you can simulate the entire season to see who the big contenders might be (It was the Chiefs, Colts, Broncos, Patriots, Chargers, Bengals, Saints, Giants, Redskins, Bears, Rams and Eagles with no updates). You can even choose a “total control simulation” where you call the plays, possibly ensuring your big players can pad their stats. You have to simulate each individual game in week 17, then division and conference playoffs (surprisingly low scoring fares). You even get an AFC/NFC pro bowl, which you can also spawn, right before the off season.
The Madden Party multiplayer mode features 22 mini games (you need at least two remotes to play this mode) including trivia if you need a break from all that arm activity. You can be like coach Madden even more in this mode with entertaining telestrator options and highlighting. The graphics work well, but the sound really stands out, especially when it comes through the remote, which has a very long great range. Even tried it from another floor and it still worked! Perfect for the gamer on the move. Sound options include keeping the sound on the field or in the announcers’ booth. There’s plenty of in game rewards and bonuses to acquire.
My Madden also allows plenty of custom fine tuning. Players can enact a “fairplay” option to limit 4th down attempts, onside kicks, etc. You can also limit the no huddle offense, which has a rapid effect when using family play controller option, especially when playing a weak team. If you want a real challenge try playing a weak team using the advanced controller option against an elite team like the Colts or Chargers. The online play (with no friend codes) lags a bit, but does the job. Player animations are much improved as well (e.g. cornerbacks jump over people to avoid a hit). Options like immense statistics like rush/pass logs and customizing your own championship ring are all right, but how about some post game celebrations (i.e. Gatorade dunks) and locker room halftime events that focus on the team? This title could also use bigger fonts.
This game is rated E some of the music lyrics in the soundtrack songs are questionable, so parents beware! The recommended (*** out of four stars) Madden 08 goes to another level as armchair quarterbacks, families and diehard players alike can all get in this game. Also available on GameCube, Nintendo DS, PC, PS2, PS3, PSP, Xbox and Xbox 360. Rated E for everyone.
Copyright © Michael Siebenaler