E3 2001 Hands-onMadden NFL 2002

Madden is returning to the PlayStation 2, and we've played the new version at E3. Click on through to check out our hands-on report.

Madden shipped as a PlayStation 2 launch game, then proceeded to sit atop the PS2 sales charts for months. The next installment in the Madden franchise for the PlayStation 2 is playable at E3, and we took the time to give it a go. While the game may seem the same cosmetically, there are plenty of refinements added to the game that will fine-tune the gameplay even further.

Madden 2002 will include all the features players have come to expect from the franchise. There is a season franchise mode that may be played for up to 30 continuous seasons, as well as an exhibition mode where up to four players can go head-to-head. New gameplay features to the franchise include a coaches corner mode, where you're taught the finer points of gridiron strategy by John Madden himself. You can create your own players, and you may also create an entire team and customize its logo, uniforms, helmets, and stadium. The two-minute drill mode lets you practice your end-of-game clock management skills in a variety of situations. Madden NFL 2002 will include all 32 NFL teams. The latest expansion team, the Houston Texans, will also be included in the game, and you may conduct your own expansion draft to fill the team's roster. You may even import players from EA's NCAA Football 2002 into the draft. There are all-new Madden cards included with new players, designs, and cheerleaders.

The PlayStation 2 version of Madden 2002 looks even better than last year's installment. Madden 2002 includes all new face and body technology that eliminates the blank stares found in last year's PlayStation 2 version, and more coaching animations have been included for the cinematic sideline shots. Hundreds of new animations have been added for the players, as well as more transition animations to make the time between plays appear more realistic. New replay camera angles have also added for increased dramatics, including a camera angle that lets you see the action from behind one of the players' facemask.

Other improvements on last year's PlayStation 2 version of Madden include new defensive and blocking logic, linebacker shifts, defensive back shifts, and widescreen TV support. The second Madden for the PlayStation 2 is nearly complete, so EA should have no problems getting it ready for the opening kickoff of the 2001-2002 season.

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