Madden NFL 08 Review
Madden 08 comes with a full set of game modes to keep you busy. There is a superstar mode that lets you create a rookie player and then lead him through an NFL career. Once you've created your player's look and picked a position, you'll pick an agent and then go through a series of mini games before reaching draft day and finding out which team will be your future employer. The mini games consist of multiple choice interviews that help establish your player's personality and the same training mini games that you can play at any time from the main menu. I could certainly do without the training mini games as they are tedious affairs such as a 40 yard dash in which you need to move the sticks as if they were your legs. Running plays in practice drills would be far more appealing here. Once you're drafted you'll play through preseason and regular season games as in franchise mode, except in this case you're not calling the shots on the field. The coach will call the plays and he won't always call your number. It can be kind of fun to take your turn at blocking on a play, though. The game will kindly sim through plays when you're not on the field if you'd like. Your enjoyment of the superstar mode will probably be dependent on the position you choose to play. Playing as QB means being a central part of every play, but the game's behind the back camera angle can make it a little tough to pick out the open receivers. The camera angle is more suited to a running back, but if you're on a passing team or you're playing from behind expect to spend a fair amount of time as a blocker. In general superstar mode is enjoyable but I do have one big complaint about it. The game keeps track of your record against the CPU and games in superstar mode are added to the record books. You may find yourself playing for only a quarter (and not being able to call plays when you're on the field) and taking the loss because your team got blown out in the other three. It happened to me.
Franchise mode has been given some new features in 08 that make for a deeper experience, at least while you have your franchise owner's hat on. The revenue model goes beyond player salaries and the cap, with sponsorships, stadium improvements, and even franchise relocation under your control. Player scouting now involves the hiring of a scouting agency to track collegiate talent and determine their potential. Once the new class of rookies is on your team they'll be given a level of expectation. Those that exceed expectations will become gems and receive stats boosts. Those that fail to live up to their potential will become busts, and their performance will suffer accordingly. If all of the old and new features of the franchise mode are a bit too much for you to manage, then you can get the game sim everything for you and just play the games yourself. Of course, the game will do an adequate job but to get the best results you'll need to get your hands dirty and do things for yourself.
Online play provides you with the basics - lobbies, ranked and unranked play, player matching, etc. - but things such as leagues and tourneys are completely absent. It would be nice what a next-gen sports game could really do with its online features, but I guess we'll have to wait another year for that. The ESPN feeds are a nice online touch, and when you're in the lobbies you'll hear the day's sports headlines and see news and scores scroll by on a ticker at the bottom of the screen.
Madden NFL 08 has many things going for it and it certainly will provide you with some enjoyable videogame football action. However, you'll still be stuck with the feeling that it's still not quite a complete package. As the only NFL game in town, Madden NFL has a responsibility to provide the consummate football game experience and it's not quite there yet. Oh, and EA Sports, please do something about those turnovers in Madden NFL 09.
In The End, This Game Hath Been Rated: 85%. Madden NFL 08 is a good football game, but it's still not a complete next-gen experience.