Madden NFL 08

The most popular football franchise is finally getting a look under the hood. Madden 07 was a disappointment, with negligible improvements and little "next-gen" gameplay to speak of. Tiburon’s head man Steve Chiang puts it quite simply: “There are no more excuses for lame games." Welcome to Madden 08.

The focus over at EA this year is gameplay – whatever happens on a real NFL football field will happen on the Madden field. From realistic gang tackles and hurdling to cutting corners and stripping the ball. Producer Ian Cummings wants the game to play as dynamically as it possibly can. Just a few things recently revealed to the press:

– In air collisions: Receivers getting smacked when they jumped for balls.
– Big time catches: The real-life stars can make one-handed and other special catches, as each receiver had a unique way of catching the ball.
– Hurdles: Players were cheating when EA included this in earlier expansions so the feature was removed. Guess what? It’s back and improved, with hopefully no more cheating.
– Improved Hit Stick feature: Now easier to handle.
– Improved Line: The O-line will now be more realistic with double teams and stretch blocking. The designers made the O-line so realistic that Cardinal fans might need to start worrying.
– Different environments: Each stadium comes with unique effects for particular teams and players, like heat and cold
– Breaking the rules: The NFL may have made it against the rules to celebrate, but EA is just getting started. Each player and team will have unique celebrations after great plays, whether it be a great touchdown dance or a group hug after a nice sack.

You’ll of course see many of the previous game modes and features return in Madden 08, such as Defensive hot routes, Owner mode, Superstar mode, and Hall of fame mode. EA also made each player more unique – taller players will pick on shorter players, bigger linemen knock over smaller lineman, and best of all, star players will play like star players. If all this comes true, then EA might have finally proven that they don’t really need competition to push them to make a great game. Now it’s up to them to make it a reality.