Camp EAMadden NFL 2003 impressions

The latest build of Madden 2003 was on display at EA's event. New GameCube screens inside.


The latest in the Madden NFL series was on display at the recent Camp EA event. Obviously, one of the biggest changes to this year's game is the addition of Al Michaels (who replaces Pat Sumerall) to the commentary team, and the difference is already quite noticeable. Michaels' commentary seems much more upbeat and generally works well in tandem with Madden's color commentary. There's also a minicamp mode that features eight minigames that will test individual football skills. Additionally, the franchise mode has been refined. You'll be able to work as a general manager over the course of 30 years and help bring teams to the Super Bowl during that time.

As far as graphics are concerned, EA Sports had made a few additions. There are now 3D cheerleaders on the sidelines of the field, and parts of the crowd are now fully rendered in 3D. In addition, a large number of new player faces have been integrated into the game. There are a variety of new animations as well, ranging from new stiff-arms to a new running move that enables a running back to avoid an offensive lineman when running the ball between the tackles. Some quarterbacks will be able to use sidearm passes, and there are even new animations for breaking tackles, including one in which a defensive player gets shaken off as the ballcarrier runs down the field.

The online component in the PlayStation 2 version seemed straightforward, as it only requires that you challenge other players in the same lobby area. We'll have more on Madden NFL 2003 before it approaches its mid-August release on the GameCube, the PlayStation 2, the Xbox, and the PC.

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