Madden 08.. Oh why… [Game Review]

Okay, it’s time for…….
Madden 2008 (XBOX 360) : The Good, The Bad and The UGLY
Hi to all.  I’ve been playing Madden NFL Football for over ten years on various consoles (PC/PlayStation/PS2/xbox/xbox360). 
Last year I made the switch from the xbox to the xbox 360 (to take advantage of 1080i resolution) and also because the PlayStation 3 was not available in Australia at the time.  Oh, and if it were I probably still wouldn’t shell out the $A 1,000 RRP for it anyway.  Oh and I might as well point out that the fact I even *own* an xbox 360 is 99% due to the shift towards hi-res Madden 🙂
This years’ edition of Madden 08 has stumbled greatly in a number of key areas.  Madden ’07 was not a bad version (and my first on the xbox 360) so I can only compare ’08 on the 360 to ’07 on the 360.
Historically, I like to categorise the review into Good (Nice Improvements), Bad (Irritating non-Showstopper issues) and the UGLY (Horrible, can’t believe they missed this in testing issues).
The Good:
– SuperSIM provides some interesting possibilities to speed up game play
– The new ‘Ring mode’ appears to credit the player based on achievement rather than multiplied by the mode of play (Rookie/Pro/All Pro/All Madden) which levels the playing field for all players although is a disincentive to play the tougher skill settings.
– Less requirement to focus on the front office (which can be annoying if you aren’t interested in the financials)
– Scouting mode is a neat feature which better reflects the work a scout must do during the regular season (pre draft).
The Bad
– Madden cards are gone 🙁  Bring back the Cheerleader cards with new photos!
– CPU controlled teams are a little nicer in trade negotiations, but the whole trading system could use a rewrite and wouldn’t it be nice to trade future draft picks as in real life?
– Passing is noticably harder even on Rookie and Pro settings (including lots of CPU defensive interceptions)
– Am I missing the Mini Camps in Franchise mode?
– Player progress?  How can I easily see which players are getting better (or worse) in franchise mode?
– I’d like to be able to coax retiring players back into playing
– Waaaaaaaay too many fumbles – especially when there is simply no excuse for a fumble (kick returner or punt returner muffs the ball when there is no pressure or worse when signalling for a fair catch!  Reducing fumbles in Game Settings -> Gameplay -> UI has little effect.
– Game locking up when trying to simulate a game/round – this is a show stopper, folks!
– Players walk through walls when celebrating in the endzone
This is an ongoing review: check back for updates

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