E3 '07: Madden NFL 08 Hands-On

We check out the PSP version of Madden straight from E3.

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If you own something that plays games, mostly likely it will be able to play Madden NFL 08. The next game in EA Sports' long-running football franchise is coming to all major consoles, as well as handhelds like the Nintendo DS and the PlayStation Portable. We had a chance to try the PSP version of the game at EA's E3 press room, to get an idea for where the game is heading on this, the third iteration of the game to appear on the Sony handheld.

The PSP version of Madden 08 will feature the same weapons system from the console versions of the game--so individual players will be classified by their individual abilities on the field. A quarterback like Philip Rivers might be known for his arm strength or his intelligence, for example, and all weapons in the game will be noted on the field with handy icons under each of the "weaponized" players.

Of the new additions to the PSP version of the game is the superstar challenge scenarios, and it seems to be the most significant. Twenty-five challenges will comprise the scenarios, and all of them will be culled from last season's NFL campaign. The challenge we played was the first one in the game--Chad Pennington's fourth-quarter drive that won the game for his New York Jets over the Tennessee Titans. Your goal in the mode is to match Pennington's performance and win the game with a touchdown--though a field goal victory works as well. As you enter the challenge, the game is tied at 16 and your Jets have three timeouts left, and it's up to you to drive for victory.

In our brief time with the game, playing through the challenge, we were able to run a number of different plays, including pass plays that demonstrated the game's various new catches for wide receivers. There are three catches available--cautious, normal, and aggressive catches. To perform an aggressive catch--such as a one-handed grab--you press the triangle button and up on the D pad; for a cautious catch, you hit triangle and down on the D pad. Normal catches are pulled off either automatically or with the triangle button.

Our time with Madden 08 for the PSP was brief, but the game looks like it's going to be another solid entry in the handheld series. It's due for release on a metric ton of consoles, as well as the PSP, in August, and we'll be bringing you more on all versions in the coming weeks. Stay tuned.

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