Well, it’s that time of the year again, and hordes of fans have been lining up and waiting for it. Football season is here again, and without fail, EA parades their premier football franchise, with the new Madden NFL 08 for all major platforms. After reviewing the decent PS3 version, we turn attention to the Xbox 360 version. Could this version fair better than the PS3 verison? Read our full review to find out!
I have followed the Madden franchise since the very beginning, and although I was in my younger years when it first came out there was still always that excitement each summer when we found out the Madden was coming out. I know each year we now continue to wonder what sort of features will be added to the mix each year, and how much will change. Over the past few years we haven’t seen any real major advancements for the franchise, and everyone though the learning process for the developers and the new consoles would be completed and now we should start seeing some great football games. Does Madden NFL 08 deliver on the Xbox 360?
The one big addition to this year’s game is the new weapon system. No Peyton Manning didn’t become the Bionic Man, but instead you now have certain players on your team who have that extra ability or in a sense are the superstars who go above and beyond the normal player. They could have abilities like an amazing stiff arm, the ability to read a defense or an offense, and the like. It makes perfect sense to include a feature like this and although it doesn’t sound like it would have that large of an impact on the game it actually does. You will find that the individual player and his skills begin to have great effects on the overall outcome and flow of a game, and the way in which everyone will play this game.
Some other new things in Madden 08 this year are a lot of animations on field which have a pretty big impact on the flow of the game as well. Things like gang tackles, double team, leap catches and even sideline animations that really improve and create a much more lifelike experience for the game. Although I would have loved to have seen more the additions made in this years game are really solid and offer up a good deal of depth to the experience. I couldn’t tell you how many times players in previous games completely missed the sidelines not paying attention, something that has been worked on a great deal this year. In terms of animation you could see that the transitions, which are a big aspect in this game translate a lot better on the Xbox 360 version then on the PS3.
In terms of depth, there have been a lot of added features in Madden NFL 08 to both the superstar and franchise modes. The superstar mode got the greatest upgrade which is the view angle which makes a huge difference as last year the views were for the most part unplayable, and this year they brought the camera angle back a bit making it much easier to get into it. In terms of Franchise mode one of the touted features that fans have been begging to come back is Fantasy Draft which makes a return this year and in stunning fashion. It works just as it once had before but really does allow you much more depth into the game something that we all really have been looking for.
How much better is this game from last years? Actually quite a bit, and its not just the content updates that the developers put into the game but instead a lot of it has to do with how the game is played and a lot of under the hood sort of improvements that make the game just a lot more well rounded on both sides of the ball. With the added weapons feature you really do feel the difference from playing as Peyton Manning to Aaron Brooks. That really does help round out the game to a much deeper and satisfying experience.
On the flip side there are still things missing from this game. First and foremost being the online play, which has gone literally unchanged. There are still no online leagues, no real customization online whatsoever. It is disappointing to hear the fans year after year beg for this kind of content and continually get turned down. This doesn’t seem to me to be that complicated feature to include, and one that if you are EA makes a lot of sense to include, but I guess my rational thinking doesn’t always mean it will happen in a game. However the Xbox 360 version using Xbox Live seemed to have once again a much smoother online feel to it. It really managed to give a better online experience overall than the PS3, but that is not to say that it wasn’t still lacking some much needed depth!
We have all heard the debate on Madden NFL 08 on the Xbox 360 and PS3 and the difference between the two. I don’t necessarily have the keenest eye detect the graphical differences between versions, but the difference between the PS3 and Xbox 360 version was overly apparent. The frame-rate was the major change on the Xbox 360, which on my new LCD featured a much clearer, and fluid feel than the 30fps that was found on the PS3. Will the average gamer notice the difference? I would actually say the answer to that is yes. Otherwise the game still needs more work, I would like to see more changes to the playoff style atmosphere over the regular season and pre-season games. Overall though the Xbox 360 version is improved over last year’s game and actually looks quite good.
The only real problem I had with Madden 08 for the 360 was the lack of online content which is not a first time for mentioning this problem, as I have said this since the first 360 Madden in 06. With that being said there were a lot of perks to this years version, superstar has been upgraded a lot, the franchise mode is deeper, there are just a plethora of new animations including gang tackles, and they added my favorite fantasy draft back into play. Oh and need I not forget the new weapons system which in itself adds a lot to the experience as well. Overall I have to say that this was really the first significant step forward for the franchise since making its first appearance on the Xbox 360.
There is no question that no matter what I say in this review, the Madden faithfuls will go run out and buy this game, and I actually wouldn’t argue against it. The Xbox 360 has had three years to mature and grow with Madden, and we are really ready to be wowed and Madden 08 does a good job of it, but I still think fans want more. And what it comes down to is Online play, this is a big deal in this day and age and I could see a revolution if they leave out some significant upgrades online next year. In Madden 08, you’re getting a much improved package that adds more content then any game of the past couple years, but I don’t think this is yet the revolutionary Madden title fans were hoping for.
The owner and editor-in-chief of Darkstation.com. I've been apart of the website since 2002 and purchased the website in 2010. Owning and running Darkstation is a dream come true. I love video games and I love writing and talking about them even more.