Kicking off football season with Madden 08

Alison Young
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August 24, 2007
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It’s that time of year again ... football season! In just a few days our beloved UH football team will kick off its season. You may remember that it kind of started already for me about a month ago when I began fiddling with Electronic Arts’ (EA) NCAA 08 Football. To add to the hype, the much-anticipated EA title Madden NFL 08 just hit the store shelves last week.

One of the coolest things you can do with this new Madden is build up your college player in NCAA 08, then turn him into a pro by importing him into Madden 08. As with NCAA, you can view ESPN’s real-life latest headlines streaming in at the bottom of the main menu page, and hear an ESPN announcer as well.

Other new features of the game include a new read and react system, a Front Office Mode, Your Ring of a Champion and Madden Unmatched. The all-new read and react system uses player skill icons that appear at the foot of a player to give you a quick look at what they’re capable of. These icons appear on both your team’s and the opposing team’s players, making it easier for you to quickly react and use your strengths and exploit the other team’s weaknesses.

The icons are easy to see and extremely easy to follow. Some examples: Shoe with wings for speed - these players are the fastest in the league; hands for a weapon counter - these players are great pass rushers; or two hands with a football in the middle for the possession receiver - these guys are good at catching in traffic and rarely drop the ball.

The Front Office Mode gives you the power to take control of every aspect of an NFL franchise. You build your own stadium, set the concession prices, hire a coaching staff, draft players and just manage the operation from the top down. For Your Ring of a Champion, you can increase your Madden Gamer Level to help create and customize your own in-game championship ring. The Madden Unmatched feature gives you all-new player moves, including auto-motion, backward passes and low-hitting tackles.You can control receivers and make perfect catches or key possession receptions, or roam the secondary and strip your opposing team of the ball with a tackle.

Another interesting aspect of the game is the Superstar mode. It’s not new from previous Maddens, but it was the first time I tried it. You select a rookie from the 2007 draft class and take him through his first training camp and throughout a season, then hopefully to his first Super Bowl victory. It can be a bit frustrating since you only have control over that one player and not the entire team. You’ll see him lose many games, and you can’t pick the team he’ll be on since he is drafted.

As you play, the commentary is pretty good, but I noticed the yardage from your plays is sometimes off. As with previous Madden games, you can do the “Ask Madden"for a suggestion, and you’ll hear John Madden’s real voice give you the answers. Some of the phrases said back to you seem recycled from previous games, and occasionally his answers are incorrect to what you’re asking.

I tested this on the PlayStation 3 (PS3), but some of the buzzings I heard say that Madden 08 runs faster on the Xbox 360 than the PS3. That’s a minor issue, and I didn’t notice any “slowness” in the PS3’s gameplay. Overall, I thought the game has excellent graphics, and the new icons/weapons feature is a nice addition. This is definitely the most complete Madden to come out so far on any platform.

Madden 08 is rated E For Everyone and available for the Nintendo Wii, PlayStation 2/3, PlayStation Portable (PSP) and Xbox/Xbox 360. To purchase, visit your nearest Best Buy (, CompUSA (, or GameStop ( Prices range from $39.99 to $59.99. For more information on the game itself, visit


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