Reviewed: September 23, 2007
Released: August 14, 2007
Now it is your turn to throw touchdown passes like Peyton Manning or Carson Palmer, break out 80 yard touchdown runs like LaDainian Tomlinson or Larry Johnson, and make big punishing hits like Ray Lewis or Bob Sanders!!! In the Wii version of Madden NFL 08 you control all the action. This has to be the best and most fun version of football anyone can own!
Set up a franchise mode and work your way through drafting, training camp development for players, or improving on your own skills in your created player, and work your way like the pros to achieve every football players dream, WINNING THE SUPERBOWL!! Play this game mode by yourself or with a friend - both ways will keep you entertained and cause you to lose track of time. If the franchise mode isnít what you want, play with the new Party Mode with up to four friends and have a ball with up to 22 mini games. Who ever has the most points at the end is the champion. Some games are two on two, kicking combine, YAC or rushing attack, and Mini-Camp competition. This game isnít just limited to adults; anyone can play and enjoy this game!!
You can use the Wii controllers in two different ways. You have the normal way in which you turn the controller sideways and play like any other version of Madden. The advanced way is the best and most fun way to play. This uses the Wii Remote and nunchuk and allows you to do so many more moves and calls during the play or before the snap. The advanced way does take some serious time to get used to. I had to play for about 3 hours before it became second nature to press the buttons to perform the desired move.
One way to help develop these natural movements is a Learn Madden mode in which it gives you a short tutorial on how to perform the moves at desired times. Then immediately after you are done you go out and do drills and have to pass those tests to move on. This helped out tremendously and it didnít take long to pass at all. The only thing that really disappointed me about this newest Madden was that there was not a normal Season mode. For the people who just like to play and not work out in mini camps, make draft picks, or do all the extras that are in the complex and overwhelming Franchise mode it can be a little bit of a disappointment.
The play mode is where I spent most of my time due to the fact that I just love to play one-on-one with a buddy. In this mode I was the most active and more "into the game" than I have ever been while playing a video game. And much like real football it all starts with the kickoff. You swing back the Wii remote like a bowling motion and press the A button and then when you want to kick you let go of the A button and swing forward. Then you get to run down the field using the nunchuck to guide you. When the players get close to the opposing teams rusher you press the A button again and you now are the closest player to the runner. As you close in and are ready to tackle you push the Wii remote forward as if you are lunging at the runner and you make a Big Hit or a Big Whiff.
On defense you select from a lot of different formations on which defensive play you wish to run, just like any other Madden game. Before the snap you can select a player by pressing the A button. If you are a linebacker (only as a linebacker) you can pump up the crowd if you are at home by raising your Wii remote and nunchuk into the air as if you are physically pumping them up yourself. If you notice that the defensive play you called was incorrect you can call a defensive audible (defensive line adjustments, linebacker shifts, or coverage audibles) by tapping the A button while you are in that desired area.
There are many other ways to run your defense, like the new receiver spotlight, but I donít want to spoil everything for you. After the play is in motion, as in a pass, you can hit the A button and you are the closest defender going in the direction of the pass. To deflect the pass you swat the Wii remote just like you would if you are doing it in real life. Now to intercept the pass you raise both the Wii remote and nunchuck into the air as if you were catching the pass. If you canít do either of those you can make a Big Hit just by pushing the Wii remote and nunchuck forward.
The offensive side is where all the action is. You are in control of all the skill positions. It isnít as tough as it sounds. Just like the defense you chose your play before you go out to the field camera. Once you are out on the field before the snap you can select the primary receiver if it is a pass play, or call an audible to adjust to the defensive formation. To hike the ball you just snap your wrist back with the Wii remote facing up (hold the Z button to hard count) and then control where your quarterback goes by the nunchuck. You donít have to control the quarterback if you called a running play.
On a pass play there are many options to choose from. First, you can make the straight drop back and pass. When doing this you must complete a lot of things to make it work out. You have to get your quarterback in the right position to make the best throw. After doing this you have to decide which receiver you want to throw to. When you do that you press the desired button assigned to each receiver (Up, Down, Left, Right, or A button) and then decide weather to make a bullet pass or a loft pass or somewhere in between. To actually throw the pass you swing soft for a lob pass and harder for a bullet pass. To perform a pump fake you hold down the Z button like the hard count and then pass just like you normally would. The other option as the quarterback if no one is open and you are getting rushed you can tuck and run by hitting the Z button and you become a lethal runner which we will get to the controls in that area later.
Once the ball has left the quarterbacks hands you have two options: to become the receiver or not. If you just want the computer to do all the work for you donít press anything and let the play develop on its own. If you want to control your own destiny you press the A button and you become the intended receiver. Just like the defensive backs, to bat it away from being intercepted you swat the Wii remote and to catch the pass you lift up both Wii remote and nunchuck. One thing to remember is that you must run the route as well. So when you hit the A button make sure you steer the receiver to the landing point of the pass.
When you run the ball as the running back or after a catch, fumble recovery, or interception everything is the same no matter what. To execute a power move you thrust the Wii remote and nunchuck forward like a tackle. To spin you hit the A button. You can control your stiff arms by moving the Wii remote to the desired side in which the defender is or you can juke by doing the same with the nunchuck.
The kicking game is the easiest to remember and perform. Field goals and punting are the same motions. Swing back the Wii remote and hold down the A button, and when you want to kick the ball at the power you wish you let go of the A button and swing the Wii remote forward like a bowling motion. You adjust the angles and heights of the kick using the Up, Down, Left Right d-pad on the Wii remote.
You truly need to play with someone else because the experience is so much better and you can control the moves that can actually make your buddy miss and you can trash talk him and have true meaning behind it. The great thing is that no matter how much you play there are ways to get better. By this I mean follow up a juke move with a stiff arm or spin or whatever but instead of just pressing buttons you have to move your hands, which makes you work to get better. This game gives you so much upside and it drives you to want to play it and get better which causes you to feel that you are stealing the game for a standard price.
I was a little upset with some of the visuals, but in other areas I was impressed. Some of the downsides of the graphics are the body designs. They are really boxy and remind me of the original PlayStation design. When the camera does zoom in so you can see the face (rarely does) the faces are done very clear and crisp. I do hate the fact that when you throw a pass that looks like there is no way your receiver can catch it somehow it magically moves into his hands.
Some of the things that impress me are the cutscenes before the snap - they are very lifelike. The movements of the players are very smooth and lifelike. They seem like real life physical movements and angles that you would have to take instead of full body turns.
The sound for Madden really surprised me and the first time I played the game I jumped back in shock and awe. The first thing that stood out for me was before you can hike the ball you hear the quarterback say "down...set" from your Wii remote. As trivial as it may sound, this subtle touch has to be one of the more innovative features for the Wii version of Madden; well that and the interactive and physcial gameplay.
The audio is just like all the sounds you would hear on television. You hear the audibles before the snap, hear the grunts from getting hit hard, and hear the heavy breathing during and sometimes after the play is over. The crowd noise is done well. When you pump them up they get a little louder (wish it was louder), and when you want them to quiet down they get quiet. You can really tell that EA thought these things through and it shows and makes this latest Wii version of Madden even better than before.
Madden NFL 08 will give you your moneyís worth and much much more, plus this game is for all ages and one that the entire family can get involved with. Even if you just a casual fan of football, you will freaking love this game. Yes, it is a standard priced Wii game but even at full price it is worth every penny.
Another thing that makes this game great is the online feature, which just like any other system with online gaming allows you to play against anyone anytime. EA Nation offers friends lists, latest players, and worldwide rankings and there is a ranked lobby system with the ability to create rooms with passwords, and many other options for customizing weather, quarter time, AI difficulty, and rank/unranked play. There is no voice chat or real text messenging. Insteady you must use phrases from a list of 20 available pre-sets to congratulate somebody or even request to be added to their friends list.
Creating an account for EA Nation is simple and more importantly FREE, and uou'll be able to use a combination of letters and numbers to make your online account that can be shared with other gamers around the world. Thankfully, EA has eliminated the need and use of those clumsy "friend codes".
If you are unable to go online you can still play with one other buddy, or get a big group together and check out all those mini-games and never get bored. I have played for at least 15 hours and havenít truly experienced every aspect of the game, but it only keeps getting better with each passing hour. You really canít get much better than that with sports games, but I'll still be looking to see what Madden 09 offers next year..
Once again, let me just say. WOW! What a game! I have played Madden on PlayStation and Xbox and this is by far the most fun and interactive way to truly enjoy this game. Every second of the game when I discovered something new with a move or just used the move to perfection I got really excited and was ready for the next play to see what I could do next. This was by far the most fun I have ever had reviewing or playing a video game.