It’s that time of year again, the fanatics have already lined up, the faithful are prepared, and I have only one question for you. Are you ready for some football? Well EA Sports is back in their strongest asset, the Madden franchise, probably hands down the most successful gaming franchise ever created. You can’t think of success on any platform without having some link to the Madden franchise, which has been around for a long, long time. With another year of NFL exclusivity for EA, they have had a year to continue improving their next generation iterations of Madden, hoping to continue to improve and please the Madden faithfuls. So can EA Sports and Tiburon manage to bring some success to the Sony PS3 version? 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, 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 PS3?
The big marquee 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.
There has been a lot of added features added to Madden NFL 08, with added depth 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 it’s 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 for most being the online play which has gone literally unchanged. There are still no online leagues, no real customization online what so ever. 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 of a 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.
It’s unfortunate that EA hasn’t been able to really utilize the PS3 in terms of its graphical power. The fact that the game is running on 30fps is pretty noticeable, as there are times when the framerate dips and the action slows down to a crawl. I do believe that this being the second outing for Madden on the PS3 we were hoping for a lot more, and in this sense EA under delivered. With that being said, you can’t ignore the fact that even with the problems the game still looks good, the character models feel a bit sharper this year, and as mentioned earlier the amount of new animation in the game is a real helpful addition. In the end, the game still manages to look decent, but we wished it could have been much improved.
To me there were two things that really hampered my experience with the PS3 version of Madden 08 - first being the visuals which just didn’t flow all that well and had some real frame rate issues. Then came the second problem being the lack of online content, which is not a first time for mentioning this problem. With that being said, there were a lot of perks, 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 don’t forget the new weapons system, which in itself adds a lot to the experience as well.
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. I would say to EA specifically that you have a lot of great ideas, but smooth it all out, develop more on the PS3 and use its strengths and get that frame rate up and consistent. Online play is a big deal in this day and age, and I could see a revolution if they leave it out of the 09 version of Madden. In Madden 08 you’re getting a much improved package I don’t think however it improves to the magnitude most of us 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.