Losing faith in EA...

User Rating: 6.5 | Madden NFL 08 PS3
EA had some great additions to this years' installment, but it lacks the most important ingredient: fun. I own the PS3 version, and while the modes and features are great, the gameplay itself is borderline disastrous. I'm a casual Madden player - usually buying NCAA twice, then Madden - so I do have familiarity with football games. Nevertheless, the controls are way too complex for casual players. I can see how some die hard Madden fans would love it, but its just too much for someone who just wants to play some football without memorizing dozens of different button options on each side of the ball, especially on defense. The days of dive tackling are long over. In fact, making a successful user controlled tackle (especially in the open field) is incredibly challenging no matter how you make the attempt. The buttons seem to lack quick response as well. At times it almost seemed as though when the ball was given to another player (pass, punt return, ect) the game would take a split second to load the controls or animations for that player, which meant any button you hit during that very short window would not respond. This is especially frustrating in between every single play because the camera leaves the playing field to zoom in on the stadiums monitor before your playbook loads, causing you to sit there and wait. Unfortunately, there is no way to turn that feature (nor the constant replays) off. So instead, you are sitting there mashing X to get through the camera changes, which occasionally results in you selecting a play before the playbook even loads.

Due to the slow response and highly complex controls, managing a defensive player is quite challenging. It's a somewhat different story on offense. I found that the controls are more comfortable and easier to learn. The most annoying aspect of offense is pass knockdowns/interceptions and incredibly bad pass protection. Unlike the defensive problems, several of these issues can be adjusted via the Game AI menu. You can beef up your OL's blocking ability as well as reduce knockdowns and pics to balance the gameplay better, but I still couldn't get it to the point that I would consider acceptable.

The gameplay also suffers from some other smaller issues. Players get tired way too fast. While viewing your playbook you can see circles representing your players in their formation. The circles are colored green, yellow, and red based on current stamina level. One of my uninjured CBs drop from green to yellow after the first play of every game. The player has a STA rating of 88, and will drop to yellow whether the opening play is a pass or run. Gamespot said the PS3 version running at 30 fps was noticeable, but it didn't make the game awful. In my opinion, thats a questionable statement. While it doesn't completely ruin the game, it does have some pretty significant side effects, such as the slow response controls and delays to load camera movement in between plays.

As for the other aspects of the game, the graphics and sound are actually quite poor. The graphics are certainly better when compared to the last Madden purchase I made on the PS2, but when I think about the PS3's capabilities, the graphics need a complete overhaul. As for the sound, lets start with the EA Tracks. I don't get into the default rap settings, so I was glad to see the option to turn all of it off - and replace it with NFL Films legend Sam Spence. The in-game commentating suffers from, well, everything. The comments are boring, repetitive, and quite often not accurate.

In summary, if you are a die hard Madden fan, you probably already own this game so my review is probably useless for you! For the casual Madden gamers - just skip it this year. Don't make the same mistake I did. I read how terrible NCAA Football was, so in order to get my Fall football fix I just had to get Madden! The end result was wasting $60.