Madden NFL 08 PlayStation 3
Published by: EA Sports
Developed by: EA Sports
Release Date: Out Now
Not long ago we reviewed Madden NFL 08 for the Xbox 360. The game was the third Madden game to arrive on the console and it was a case of third time lucky as the game gave us a fully featured Madden NFL experience that is arguably one of the finest Madden games from the last few years. Thankfully PlayStation 3 gamers won't have to wait quite so long to have such a great Madden game, as Madden NFL 08 on the PlayStation 3 is feature identical to the Xbox 360. The only difference between the two is in the performance of the game which we'll elaborate on in a moment.
We looked at the new Read and React System in our PlayStation 2 review of Madden NFL 08. Unfortunately, as we mentioned in that review, the system was flawed for a variety of reasons. In the PlayStation 3 version however, there are no such problems and the system is a fine addition to the game. During a game you'll notice certain players with icons, most of which are icons of weapons. These icons denote the star players and show, at a glance, what type of players they are. The crosshair icon, for instance, denotes a precision passer. You'll be able to see who is a pass blocker, big hitter etc. simply by looking at the player's icon. This is certainly a good idea as it's useful to see what players you can rely on, or exploit, in certain situations. Unlike the PlayStation 2 version, here you can actually see a difference between the players, and the icons really help you to effectively assess both your players and the opposition at a glance.
In terms of game modes, Madden NFL 08 offers the usual assortment. Play Now, Mini Games, Superstar, Franchise, Hall of Fame and Practice make up the choices for the single-player experience. The Franchise mode still isn't as in-depth as in some of the earlier versions of Madden NFL but it is adequate. It's now possible to train your players before games in an attempt to improve their attributes. The scouting options are also more advanced. The Owner mode has also been enhanced to give you more control over your team's monetary matters and stadium upgrades etc. The other modes are essentially the same as last year. The same can be said for the online modes but you still cannot play in an online league, which is disappointing to say the least.
Other new features include the new improved Hit Stick, not surprisingly called Hit Stick 2.0. You can press the right analogue stick upwards to jar the ball loose or you can press the right analogue down to do a drive-stopping tackle. It's now possible to strip the ball from your opponents during a tackle, which is a good inclusion. The AI has been improved defensively and now plays a tighter game. Defensive hot routes have also been included in the PlayStation 3 version of the game to allow you greater control over your defence. You can also spotlight a receiver and apply double coverage to a receiver of your choice. These features really add to the overall experience and make for a more involving game.
Madden NFL 08 looks great on the PlayStation 3 but there are some problems here that essentially will have you opting for the Xbox 360 version should you own both consoles. The game has a more aliased look to it and you can notice the jaggies quite easily. The biggest problem however is the frame rate. The Xbox 360 version ran at a smooth and constant 60 frames per second. The PlayStation 3 version has been capped at 30 frames per second and the game feels slower and more laboured as a result. The game also fails to runs constantly at 30 frames per second and there is some noticeable slowdown although it's fair to say it's not problematic. Of course the 30fps cap probably won't bother those who haven't played the 360 version but it's disappointing to see such sluggish performance from the PlayStation 3 although it's understandable to an extent, given that the developers haven't had as long to work with the PlayStation 3 hardware.
Unfortunately, support for deaf gamers is just as spotty as ever. The game commentary isn't subtitled. The pre-game presentation isn't subtitled. Madden's comments aren't subtitled. The tutorial messages that explain each of the weapon icons are verbal only, so deaf gamers miss out on all of this information. Despite these omissions, the game isn't really problematic for deaf gamers as all of the essential information is shown in text. The game manual is rather skimpy and won't be of much use. The most useful information it contains, aside from the list of controls, is the description of all of the weapon icons so that you can see what each icon means.
Madden NFL 08 on the PlayStation 3 is feature identical to the Xbox 360 version and therefore you are getting a very good Madden NFL game. The only difference comes down to how the game performs and in this respect the PlayStation 3 version comes off second best. If you're fortunate enough to have the choice between the 360 and PS3 versions you'd be crazy to pick the PS3 version because of the performance issues. If you only own a PlayStation 3 then the problem will be less of an issue and you're still safe in the knowledge that Madden NFL 08 is a very good game and will easily keep you occupied for the next twelve months.
The PlayStation 3 version of Madden NFL 08 is just as good as the Xbox 360 version with the exception of the performance issues. The drop from 60fps to 30fps is very noticeable but it doesn't prevent the game from being enjoyable.