Sometimes I have to take a step back for a second and realize how long I have been reviewing games - it’s been a long time. And then I think about the patterns of the industry, those that I respect and those that I just don’t understand. And then I look at a game like NCAA March Madness 2008 from a franchise that I never have felt got enough respect from its fans and its own developers. This year with the battle for the best college basketball game in the land becoming tighter and tighter, could EA nudge its title forward to the top of the pack? Read our full review of NCAA March Madness 2008 for the Xbox 360 to find out.
There is no doubt that many of us have had the painful experience of playing the College Basketball games and just feeling like you got a washed down clone of the NBA title. Now it makes business sense to develop for both franchises, I am not knocking that. It is the fact however that the college game always gets the short end of the stick. Will that hold true in this year’s game?
Well in some ways it does hold true and in others there are some unique improvements to this game. Let’s get into the review by discussing the modes to choose from. You of course have the dynasty mode which is about the same as it was last year. It’s very deep, a very good all around feel, and if you have the time it can really reward you with plenty of gameplay. Some other modes worth discussing include the online support, which supports Online Leagues out of the box. I went online and checked them out and there are some solid leagues starting out so the feature is definitely one that hit home perfect with fans.
Outside of those modes, there really isn’t anything overly new to speak of in terms of modes. Mostly from what we could tell just slight improvements in the modes that have already been in place. Moving on from the modes however there have been a few gameplay twists added to this year’s game. The big one for this year’s game is the low post option for defense and offense, the feature really allows more of a presence in the post and offers up a lot more fluidity in the whole experience. The option will also get you to want to post up more because once you get the hang of the new feature, it proves to be very convenient.
Other than that, there really hasn’t been much else changed, although a lot of the improvements that we saw on the NBA Live 08 game have translated over to this game. Although my complaint may be a familiar one if you have read my reviews for a while. I just didn’t feel like the gameplay was as smooth in this game as it was in the NBA game. It’s not bad, but the polish seems to be missing in spots. For example the hit detection when players are posting up or maneuvering around just seems a bit funky. All in all however NCAA March Madness 2008 is just a game with some minor improvements. It’s not going to win any new fans and I think the current fans are going to be pretty bleak about it. There just wasn’t enough new or improved in this game that made any overly positive feelings to surface.
Visually there is a lot less attention to detail in this game then in the NBA Live 08 game we saw a few months ago. The reasons for this have some to do with the fact that you don’t have the real players in the game, the other reason for this is that I just don’t know if the same time is put into this game. It looks good in motion, the camera keeps up, but at the same time I think there is still more they could do visually to capture the strength of the crowds in the game, that is of course college basketball at its finest.
There is no doubt that when speaking of NCAA March Madness 08 that in many ways this is a game that has a lot of great things going for it. The gameplay mechanics are solid, the visuals good, the modes work, but all of this combine and make for still a rather disappointing final result. I enjoyed my time with the game, there is something about playing college sports games that always finds ways to make it enjoyable, but there is just an overall need for change in this game that wasn’t in this title.
I would love to say that I recommend everyone to pick up this game, but if you already own NCAA March Madness 2007 the need for an upgrade probably isn’t necessary for this game. I would recommend anyone having a craving pick it up for a rental, that is probably the perfect amount of time to enjoy this one.
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.