Jeff Markiewicz On October 1, 2008 at 7:21 am

Another year, another Madden, in these crazy times it’s nice to have something consistent. But does it hold up to the name, is their enough improvements over last years to warrant the ticket price. Well let me tell you, according to the back of the box there are over 85 new features and enhancements and some of them are pretty substantial.

It’s far too hard to write a review to cover every single feature in a Madden game, it’s just that extensive. You’ve got football, training players, create-a-player, managing a team, participating in the draft, managing players on the field, and then you can take it all online. This is a full featured game. Some of the more predominant new features are Madden IQ, BackTrack, and Rewind. Madden IQ is pushed to the forefront and will be the first thing you do. Basically it tests you to see how good you are at the game so it can set the difficulty to your skill level. This test lasts a little longer than I would have liked and after every game you get asked if you want to go back. Most people will just see this as a glorified tutorial and it works relatively well as that. As for how it affects the game, it wasn’t really noticed, each game was a decent challenge without being frustrating so I suppose it does its job well. BackTrack ups the already great presentation and makes you feel like you’re really watching a football game. It points how mistakes you did during your play, for example throwing into coverage when you should’ve thrown to the free man you didn’t see. Rewind is bound to be the most controversial new feature; it’s a godsend for people who don’t want to get screwed by a single play but make no mistake, you feel dirty using it. Essentially the point of it is if you don’t like a particular play, just press a button afterwards to make it all go away and get a redo. This feature does seem to point out an issue with the game, even when the plays are exactly the same you can get a wildly different outcome from the first time. Perhaps they set some variable to make this happen, since you do want the result to be different but it makes the game feel more like a roll of dice than true football. Going online is a breeze and as full featured as the single player component. You can have ranked matches, unranked matches, and even set up tournaments with friends. The performance online is just as good as if the person was sitting right next to you. Overall the gameplay is exceptionally well done, the online is great and the new features are, for the most part good.

The graphics have been stepped up a notch. The first of which you’ll notice is the grass, its high resolution almost makes the rest of the graphics look dull in comparison. The player models are great and chock full of small details. The stadiums look great but the sideline crew is quite stiff as they never move. Most of the time you won’t even notice it but when you’ll go for the touchdown with a clear field and start running around in the end zone and you’ll easily notice it. The football players are animated quite nicely to the point you can almost feel the pain when they get wiped out by another player. Overall, they are quite nice, there is some room for improvement but then again there is always next year.

To help you feel the pain of the hit, Madden of course has some great audio to deliver that final punch. You get easily immersed into the atmosphere the sound creates from the cheering in the stadium, to random chitchat of the football players yelling out to each other and calling out plays. The only issue (inherent to all sports games) is that the announcer eventually becomes repetitive. In this game, it only took until the second game to start hearing phrases being repeated. The announcers sound great and say some complicated lines, even informative at times, but I wish it was a little more varied. Overall though the sound is very immersive and the announcers are great but become repetitive a tad too quick.

Well in summation, it’s Madden. If you’re a fan of the series, you probably already have it. Everyone else, this game has been fine-tuned through years and years of development so it surely doesn’t disappoint. Madden IQ, BackTrack, and Rewind give new gamers a chance to dive in and have fun without it being overwhelming or too challenging. And once you get a hang of the game and thought you experienced everything, you’ve seen just the tip of the iceberg. There is so much to do in this game its ridiculous. It’s expertly presented in such a way that it’s like a nice buffet dinner, you can choose only a couple things or you can have one of everything and no matter what, you’ll be satisfied.


It’s All Madden. The amount of options and ways to play are so high, chances are you’ll only skim the surface. Veterans will feel at home and rookies will be welcomed with open arms thanks to some of the new features.


Models, stadiums, even the grass look great. Player animations are especially nice but the field staff isn’t animated at all. Overall a small improvement over last year’s edition but more could have been done.


Each hit sounds so real you might just feel pain and the players shouting, crowd cheering will draw you into the atmosphere. Unfortunately the announcer quickly becomes repetitive and can get a little annoying, especially when calling things that remotely couldn’t happen.


Fans of the franchise, this is another good entry in the series and worth your money. Rookies holding off because you’re not sure you can handle all the complexity do not worry. This game is flexible, you can jump in, play for 5 minutes and leave satisfied or you can sit down and play through an entire franchise with your friends. Go to the superbowl. Get your ring. And score with the cheerleaders. Maybe not the last part but you get my drift; this is a fun game with tons of depth and nice little touches.

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