Madden '08

I picked up Madden '08 last night (technically its my girlfriend’s but I have it all to myself for the week so for now its mine) and there are some pretty solid new features that I have been toying with.

Skill Drills:
Think of an expanded Mini-Camp section. In the skill drill section, you compete against tackling dummies. Really its just an expanded tutorial section that teaches you how to use some of the more advanced running and tackling moves at game speed. Its a nice supplemental addition to the mini-camp feature. As with the mini-camp there is no requirement to play this section but it does unlock extra features.

The Juke moves:
I had always felt that the more elusive moves in Madden were unrealistic. Now, however they just look and feel better than before. It is hard to describe but it just feels like you have more control over your players agility.

The graphics have improved quite nicely but I really have to reserve final judgment until I pick up my copy (I have a 360, she has regular Xbox). Tackling gets better and better every year. I like seeing people get wrapped up and watching them fall to the ground naturally instead of like a sack of lead. Breaking tackles actually looks like the defender lost their grip on the player instead of them just bouncing off. Gameplay is also smoother than in previous editions.

Some dislikes:

I understand why pre-snap is so involved now but I actually liked it when I could change routes and formations quickly. Now its like I am sifting through the playbook again to pick an entirely new play.

Player skill icons:
I am actually 50/50 on this one. I like the idea for the casual player who might not know everyone on the field and their capabilities, but I also liked the challenge of having to actually know which players to watch for without a cheat sheet. I feel like this area has a lot of room for future improvement.

Any other thoughts on Madden '08?

This year had to blow me away to stop me from jumping ship to All-Pro Football.

This year’s Madden hasn’t done it. There are some things that this game does well, like always. This game looks and feels like last year’s, but presnap things are VERY complicated. With time, it’ll become second nature, but I do like it.

It might grow on me.

Yeah, like I said above, I’m not really into all that pre-snap nonsense right now. You have 360 right? How does it look? Any other major differences? (In other words should I bother getting my own anytime soon)

It looks rather tasty. I don’t have an HDTV, but my buddy does. Over the weekend, I’m sure I’ll be over there, so I’ll see it then.

I like all the pre-snap stuff. That’s how it should have been. The only problem is that you should have a smidgen more time in which you execute your controls. I can see the amount of time going down as you go up in difficulty.

Haven’t found out yet, but I’ve always wanted a difficulty between “Madden” and “All-Madden”. Madden was easy, All-Madden was ridiculous. It may have that this year.

My biggest bitch is the player grades. That irks me the most of all. If you include historical players, there’s no possible way that Devin Hester would have the first 100 speed. Player grades are way overblown.

It seems that they’ve put some oomph into the defensive tackles. That’s good, for they rarely collapsed the pocket and got sacks in previous years.

One thing that always bugged me about training drills were the crazy load times just to run a 30 second exercise. Is that improved any at all?