Madden 08 – First Impressions

Okay, time for some first impressions on the new Madden 08 football video game for the Xbox 360. I have to admit that I have not been a fan of Madden over the years. In fact, I have been downright vocal against the series. In my opinion, EA has done what it can to ruin the video console football game. The NFL 2K series was far superior, however, EA fixed that by buying the exclusive rights to NFL games for many years. As usual, the consumer was screwed. Also, this year, I finally showed some prudence and rented the game instead of throwing my money away on a game I ended up not playing and selling back to a store.

I have played video football games for many, many years. The last few years with poor football video games has been tough as they have always been a staple of my video playing time. I can’t wait for the exclusive license to end.

All that out of the way, let’s move to my first impressions. I say first impressions because I have had the game rented for three days now and played many games. That said, I haven’t dug in depth into the game. I have only experienced single player mode against the computer AI. I haven’t played online or tried the owner mode. If the single player grabs me, I may do more rental or even purchase the game.

Game Pros

  • The framerate is absolutely rock steady. No stuttering or graphics slowdowns
  • The graphics are the best in a football game to date
  • EA finally tightened up the controls so they are mostly responsive (see diving in cons)
  • The defensive secondary AI finally is not super prone to getting burned
  • Many, many pre snap options. Just be careful not to get delay of game penalties while thinking about the options
  • The EA Trax music is much less annoying than usual – still not my favorite, but definitely an improvement
  • Some hits are brutal and will make you shake or shutter while playing
  • Game keeps your attention
  • EA finally has fixed sideline animations to at least have players trying to be realistic trying to stay in bounds

Game Cons

  • Controls – diving with a player is still very haphazard and almost seems random which direction he will dive
  • The announcers and commentary are still extremely weak. At least it’s not annoying as you pretty much don’t even know its there after hearing a few things
  • What is with all the fumbles and interceptions???? Every game seems to have 3or 4 of both – by each time. Not very realistic
  • I hope you have a deep bench. In five games, each game I had four players gets injured and be out. Plus, I had a couple that were able to come back later in the game. Again, not very realistic. Hopefully, I can tweak the settings and turn down the injury rate
  • How does a game ship with some of these obvious bugs?
  • While the hell can’t you save a game in progress and come back later to finish??
  • Why have a challenge capability and then have it greyed out for so many plays?
  • Games are still way too high scoring. I guess folks get turned off by having to punt
  • Michael Vick is still first string QB for the Falcons. I hear a roster update is coming soon

Again, these are some of my initial impressions after three days with the rental game. So what’s my verdict thus far? I will probably rent the game again, and continue to evaluate it. For me, it’s the best Madden to date, but still has some aggravating “features”. I still yearn for the NFL 2K series or better yet, something that comes close to the fun of the old Tecmo Bowl days.

I wish EA was really concerned about the consumer. They could really get something going here instead of these small incremental steps they make.

Okay, enough ranting against EA and Madden. This game is a step in the right direction and I need some more time with it before I decide if I want to buy it or not.