Madden 08 info

Discussion in 'General Gaming Chat' started by CeeJay, May 1, 2007.

  1. CeeJay

    CeeJay Guest

    Well heres the blurb on madden08, sounds like they're adding a whole lot of good stuff this year, and its about time too. Im not sure if im ready to trust next gen madden again, but ill definately be having a look.

    take a look:
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  3. Ripper

    Ripper Guest

    f***... this is all just a big conspiricy to make me go next gen...

    NCAA 2008 looks preety good as well, but than again the NCAA series has always had it over Madden IMO... but what I like the most about this Madden is that they seem to be going after the little things, stuff like "real" gang tackles, a working fatigue system and some real blocking (although 2007 was a major upgrade).

    So in other words its Next Gen Graphics and Gameplay with Old Gen Features... and when All Pro Football Bombs all the decent Hall of Famers will be in it as well (although they already have Barry Sanders so i'm not complaining)... Looks like I will be taking the plunge sooner than I thought.
  4. shiznit

    shiznit Guest

    All Pro Football??? is this 2K sports??
    i might have to check that out... havent really bothered with madden since 2K got punted by the NFL.

    i havent played it on next gen since everyone complained about it. to be honest though... i didnt watch one NFL game last season. lost intrest in the NFL.
  5. CeeJay

    CeeJay Guest

    I was very excited about pro football, Im a huge fan of the 2k series, and cant belive that theyre going to ship this game with no franchise or player progession. Just a single season. The reason they give is just plain strange. Very shocked. Even EA didnt leave out franchise mode.

    Check it out.
  6. Ripper

    Ripper Guest

    So it has Less Franchise Features than Rugby 04... but without the real teams.


    This round goes to Madden me thinks. 2K Made is making a mistake, if they made it a more acarde style game (but with Simulation Gameplay) it could be a success. Something like starting off with scrubs and having to go through a time wrap like thing, building your team up as you go along, and as you conqour the teams from each era you can pick players from those teams and what not, than it could be fun, but just a straight season mode with fictional and retired players seems kind of stupid.
  7. CeeJay

    CeeJay Guest

    Exactly. For me, football games live and die on franchise, and 2K has always dominated when it comes to deapth. They have a huge base of loyal fans that are left scratching their heads after this announcement. No franchise due to lack of team history, and therefore theres no point in franchise! This dosent even make sense! Franchise is about creating a new history for your favourite or ficitonal team. They really need to deliver first up if theyre gonna compete with madden again, and no franchise just dosent cut it.
  8. jinxed_nz

    jinxed_nz Guest

    I wold definatly have to say that 2K's up coming football game seems to have more promise then the same old Madden. Although the details about the game are still sketchy so I will reserve judgement untill closer to release. But you have to say that sence the 2k5 vs Madden 05 year, Football games havent progressed much at all. I think this will give them a bit more push to make things better.
  9. BOKean

    BOKean Guest

    im hoping this years pc madden will be next gen engine...
  10. CeeJay

    CeeJay Guest

    I think you are correct in waiting before judging, but how can you think 2k has the upper hand at this stage with no franchise compared to maddens almost unbelievable (and probably for good reason) list of new features. No franchise = no purchase for me. I will hire, and if its greater than madden by miles like 2k5 was only then will I buy and continue support the 2k guys. but no franchise is very hard to swallow, and if they didnt put in a franchise in the following installment then they can R.I.P.
  11. jinxed_nz

    jinxed_nz Guest

    I think you are correct in waiting before judging, but how can you think 2k has the upper hand at this stage with no franchise compared to maddens almost unbelievable (and probably for good reason) list of new features. No franchise = no purchase for me. I will hire, and if its greater than madden by miles like 2k5 was only then will I buy and continue support the 2k guys. but no franchise is very hard to swallow, and if they didnt put in a franchise in the following installment then they can R.I.P.

    Very true, and I am, as you seem to be to, someone who loves a game to be as realistic as possable. But to me that means game play and customisation aswell. I think what 2K is able to bring is a sence of an allround experiance. I remeber when I got to the Super Bowl it was great and felt like I had achived something. Madden just feels to flat. So i think atmosphere is another aspect aswell. I would love to see madden make a fantastic game this time but they always just fall short for me. Who knows All Pro may be the next PES??
  12. Ripper

    Ripper Guest

    Customisation Options don't really seem that deep in this game, and I don't think you'll get the same excitement of making the Superbowl.. since there is no Superbowl, just fake stadiums in the same season mode which you have to play over and over (Sounds like the early Rugby Games).

    And Madden 08 has a different producer, and the focus seems to be to tighten up the gameplay... also why isn't 2K being ripped for holding features back on the next gen? Madden 360 offered more features (it at least had a Franchise Mode)
  13. jinxed_nz

    jinxed_nz Guest

    Thats exactly why i don't wana pass to much judgement at this stage. But being 2K sports, they do know how to make a game and they wouldn't make a **** game just because they could. They have already said thats why they havent made a football game sence 2k5.
  14. ak47

    ak47 Guest

    the owner mode will bring back my madden love, which i have lost in the past 3 years

    last madden was ok, but superstar mode sucks balls

    i need owner mode and profit graphs, attendances and prices

    depending if i am due for a new game will determine a purchase

    Rugby x360 is aledged to be released in september and 1 month later GTA, there wont be much Madden time if these titles are on the shelves around spring
  15. jinxed_nz

    jinxed_nz Guest

    at some of the things being said about rugby, i think madden would be a better buy. lol but i didnt say that did i! :ph34r:
    But definatly would have to leave room for GTAIV
  16. CeeJay

    CeeJay Guest

  17. Ripper

    Ripper Guest

    Looks like I'll have to splash out on a 360...
  18. stan_stan

    stan_stan Guest

    Here's some info I found on a different forum. It's all the info from websites like IGN and Gamespot combined.

    Pure dynamic gameplay. You control the animations -- the animations don't control you

    On the field, Philip Rivers hands off to LaDainian Tomlinson on a simple dive play. But no LT run is ever simple. He runs straight though an arm tackle, covering up the ball and pumping his knees. A safety tries to join in on the gang tackle, grabs LT's waist and tries to spin the MVP to the turf. LT simply goes with it, regains his balance and accelerates to the outside and rips off a big gain.

    In another sequence, Carson Palmer throws to Chad Johnson on a comeback route on the right sideline. A cornerback goes for a big hit that Johnson simply avoids. Then, dancing left and right, he picks his way through the secondary on his way to the end zone and the Ocho Cinco Riverdance.
    Some call it responsiveness. Others call it twitch. Whatever you want to call it, Madden 08 is fast and fun. Remember back in the days when you didn't need the juke button to lose a defender? You could simply hesitate, wait for a defender to commit, and run out of the way. It's strange how the Madden team has looked back at what made past games great. It's brought back all those old twitch elements and eliminated old exploits like corner routes and Michael Vick domination, and we're not talking about the championship pit bull circuit.

    Thanks to some extremely responsive controls, the gameplay in Madden is already feeling like an improvement over previous years. When running the ball, for instance, our natural inclination in the past has been to bounce outside and try to get around the corner--thanks to shoddy inside blocking. In Madden 08, you can feel free to run those inside routes, and especially with the more elusive runners, you'll usually be good for a positive gain. New animations, such as a running back turning sideways to slip between defenders or would-be tacklers bouncing off the big bruisers, make the experience that much more compelling. Similarly, the passing game makes a clear distinction between possession receivers--those guys who make the catch and keep the ball even after a big hit--and spectacular play guys who can go up for a ball you've intentionally thrown high and come down with it. On defense, gang tackles bring the pain against the ball carrier, and the secondary is more responsive than ever when breaking to the ball. In all, star players feel like stars in Madden 08 (we're thinking of the Bears' Devin Hester and his blistering 100 speed rating, which really feels like something special in the game).

    Branching animations-
    It starts with overhauled animations, specifically tons of new branching animations. How many times in previous Madden games did you throw to a tight end or wideout near the sidelines, only to have the animation take the guy out of bounds when he clearly could have gained a few more yards by staying in bounds?

    The big benefit of this new branching technology seems to be more animation "breaking points" wherein the player holding the controller regains control of the player on the field quicker than ever before.

    No, you won't be watching Reggie Wayne execute triple back-flips into the end-zone, but on those crossing routes where he's heading to the sidelines, you'll likely see him plant his feet once he's hauled in the ball, and angle up-field to gain those crucial extra yards.

    Fans of the user catch are going to love the extra control you have over receivers. Making a subtle change of direction no longer takes you out of the play, ready to throw your controller at the screen as the pass falls to the grass incomplete. Instead, you can fire the ball downfield, switch to a receiver, come right back to the ball and leap for a spectacular catch.

    Branching animations will be visible in practically every part of gameplay, it seems.

    Madden's new moves are made possible to a new animation system borrowed from the FIFA franchise and NBA Street Homecourt. The goal is to make players move as realistically as possible. Instead of turning in a lazy arc, players are going to plant their feet, drop their shoulder and make cuts.

    The running game is also getting a reboot, with help from the FIFA team. Improved animation means that different stride lengths for different players will result in different animations, and that means the improved physics systems will have more to work with. Another big part of what will change running is improved "inverse kinematics," meaning that instead of having your team move on the field as if they were paper dolls being dragged across linoleum, the physics system will actual simulate how much grip on the field a player's feet have. It's one of the few sequences that EA had video to illustrate with, as opposed to just PowerPoint slides, and the difference looks dramatic. And that feeds into the entire system of branching animations and stat calculations, since the game can now do a much better job of calculating how much grip on the field your feet have.

    "inverse kinematics"- In action
    YouTube - best of fifa07

    First off, branching animations mean no more canned animations locking you into a bad position. The goal is to put control back in your hands faster, rather than locking the character into an animation. Instead of watching your receiver keep on trucking right out of bounds instead of heading up field, or watching someone "jetpack" up and not being able to do anything about it, all because the animation has begun and you can't do anything until its finished, you'll be able to take control of your players at virtually any time. Since what animation is appropriate is calculated more often, you can send your player upfield or tear that jumper out of the air. Branching animations might not be such a big deal to players who get through Madden in a haze of football Sunday beer, but having even a moment more of control during a play is going to be huge for serious players.

    Branching animations also mean the return of the ability to "jetpack" and "hurdle," since counters now exist. Since it was possible to jump to guarantee a catch once you were in the "jump and catch" animation, "jetpacking" was simply removed. Similarly, you could just keep slamming jump to try to get over a pile, safe in the knowledge that once you were in the air you were safe, locked into the animation. To fix that in previous years, EA simply removed the animations, making the exploits impossible. Now, you can try to jump for that catch, or jump over that pile -- but your opponent can rip you from the air, since the animation is no longer one canned sequence but a constantly calculated ballet. And if you're hit in mid-air, that's more likely to injure the hit player. Gang tackles will actually calculate the effect of each player as they add to the scrum. Some of these changes are possible because of improved stat calculations (which I'll get into below), but a lot of them are due to branching animation.

    The more I played Madden yesterday, the more I was blown away, not just by the flashing eye candy of graphics and animations and gang tackles and 60 frames-per-second, but by the amazing responsiveness of the controls. From spins to stiff arms to jukes to the way you work your receiver back to the ball then sidestep defenders and take it to the house, David Ortiz calls 08 "the most responsive Madden ever" and I have to agree. This is going to be the game where your skills on the stick are the difference between a 5-yard gain and high-stepping 50 yards for the score.

    The way the animations branch from one move to the next, the ability for runners like L.T. to bounce off a tackle, stiff arm the safety and maintain his balance as he shows everyone why he's the MVP are just so fluid, so smooth at this point,

    Gang Tackling-
    You can stand a guy up and come in with a linebacker to clean house. Yeah, it's been done before. But from here, Cummings said you can add on dynamically at any point. So maybe it takes two, three, four guys to haul Larry Johnson to the ground. Or if you're running in with a linebacker, you can actually knock the other defenders off the ball carrier with a poorly-aimed hit. Or blockers can come in and try to knock defenders off. Or you can try to strip the ball. A runner can cover it up. The list just keeps going.

    As producers demonstrated in a video, tacklers can be added onto a pile at any point when trying to bring down a ball-carrier; equally important, tackles can be shed dynamically thanks to the aforementioned branching animation technology. One particularly cool video example of this showed Tomlinson, wrapped up by a defender, make a spin move, only to have an incoming defender run into the defender that first wrapped up LT, knocking him off the running back and letting Tomlinson gain a few more yards in the process.

    There will also be gang tackles, so if you're the third tackler to the party, no problem! Just jump on in, and maybe even try to strip the ball. Plus, there will be more broken tackle animations for offensive players, so they can drag the pile, or wriggle their way out of the grasp of two different players.

    More new ratings/stats-

    The ability to break down stats even further will make a change across the board, with catching being a great example. New stats will include ratings like separate catch and catch-in-traffic ratings, so that a receiver who's great in the clear may not be your go-to man in the thick of it. Basically, the computing power next-gen offers makes it possible to give players more stats, and while that's not as sexy as a gameplay video set to a rock song, it's those stats that really determine how the game plays out. Running into a friendly lineman from behind, for example, is no longer going to have your back simply running in place forever. Instead, the hit will take into account the players' relative sizes and strengths and resolve dynamically, with branching animations based on the results of those stat calculations.

    You can also expect to see loads of new animations such as receivers falling down in the end zone during touchdown catches, lots of juggling animations, and more. Also, wideout-specific player ratings such as "spectacular catches" and "catch in traffic" will play a bigger role in how your receivers perform on the field.

    What's more, you'll see them reaching out for one- handed grabs and leaping into the end zone for six. That's not to say a good corner isn't going to shut down some of these plays. But a scrub DB? "He's toast," Cummings said.

    To do this, EA had to better emphasize the roles receivers play by looking at situational awareness and catch-in-traffic ratings. So expect to see a big difference with possession guys like Keyshawn Johnson and showboats like Terrell Owens. Johnson won't stretch the D, but he will do the little things -- in the end zone on a timing patter, he'll catch the ball with his hands and fall right to the turf to avoid the hit and secure the football. Along with highlight catches, you can also trigger possession catches that ensure you catch the ball, get the feet down and tuck it away safely at the expense of some speed running after the catch.

    New attributes will also be a factor. There's now Ball Carrier Vision, Catch in Traffic, Spectacular Catch, Route Running and Hit Power -- all things that used to be handled by Awareness. This means star players really have a chance to shine, as there will be more distinctions throughout the game.

    where a receiver always wins jump balls against defenders, should disappear thanks to new mid-air collisions. Now if you jump for a ball, a d-back can come across and put a helmet in your spleen. The result: dropped passes, broken bones, and plenty of "holy crap!" moments. And the hurdle's back! It was plucked from the game two years ago because it was essentially broken. But now tacklers can meet hurdlers in mid-air (with mid-air collisions) resulting in fumbles, flipped running backs, and, again, plenty of "holy crap!" moments.
    The team has also added a route running attribute this year.

    Hit stick 2.0-
    when it comes to improvements for gameplay, it seems the team's essential goal is in finding balance--for every move on the field, there should be a counter move that a player can use to offset it. Going up against a receiver with a huge "spectacular catch" rating? Take him out in mid- air and hope for the ball to come loose. About to be bowled over by a rumbling, stumbling monsters like T.J. Duckett? Take advantage of what producers are calling "hitstick 2.0", where flicking down on the controller will cause the defender to go low and attempt to take out the legs of your much bigger opponent (pushing up will result in a higher tackle, which will be ideal for taking out runners who are looking to leap over the pile on short yardage situations).

    If LT is going to hurdle to avoid a tackle, you have to be able to answer on the defensive side of the ball. Enter Hitstick 2.0. This will allow you to tackle high or low by flicking up or down on the right stick, respectively. This opens the door for all kinds of possibilities.

    If you're an undersized corner and Lorenzo Neal is barreling toward you, you better take out his knees at risk of getting trucked. If it's Warrick Dunn dancing toward you, on the other hand, you may want to hold off on the hit stick altogether at the risk of losing your shoes. But if you're Zach Thomas and the situation is right, a high tackle is going to ring some bells.

    Balance in Madden 08-
    When it comes to improvements for gameplay, it seems the team's essential goal is in finding balance--for every move on the field, there should be a counter move that a player can use to offset it. Going up against a receiver with a huge "spectacular catch" rating? Take him out in mid-air and hope for the ball to come loose. About to be bowled over by a rumbling, stumbling monsters like T.J. Duckett? Take advantage of what producers are calling "hitstick 2.0", where flicking down on the controller will cause the defender to go low and attempt to take out the legs of your much bigger opponent (pushing up will result in a higher tackle, which will be ideal for taking out runners who are looking to leap over the pile on short yardage situations).

    They are back for two reasons it seems one. One to jump over fallen players and also to jump over people who us the hit stick low. This should add another dynamic to tackling rock, paper, siccors anyone.

    The Line of Scrimmage-
    This season you'll see double teams, stretch blocking and linemen extending to the second level.

    You can expect blocking improvements all across the game, according to producers. Double team blocking, zone blocking, pull/lead blocks, players pushing off to the next blocking assignment, stretch and reach blocks... dare we say this is "next gen blocking"? Running backs will also benefit from a distinctive lack of "Mario running" this year. Instead of jamming up against the line and running in place, how a back reacts will depend on his size; big backs like Lorenzo Neal will look to push the line forward for an extra few yards, while smaller, elusive backs like Warrick Dunn will wait for an opening, or spin and juke their way through the beefy linemen.

    Player fatigue has been a sore point in the past few Madden entries and the team has taken that into consideration with Madden 08, blowing out the feature this time around. As producers put it, every action on the field will count against a player's fatigue rating. You spend time scrambling around in the background with Michael Vick, and sooner or later he's going to wear out. In addition, temperature and location will make a difference to your player's performance--think of the thin frigid air at Mile High in December, or the sweltering late-summer heat in Miami. Just as in real life, those kinds of conditions will have an effect on how your team plays. This improved focus on fatigue should definitely affect how you play the game--do you go run-and-gun in order to tire out your opponent's defensive backs, or grind it out with your running backs in order to punish your foe's defensive line? Furthermore, you'll want to stay aware of your player's fatigue ratings as the game progresses? Calling a no huddle after you just sent your wideouts on streaks downfield? Bad idea. In fact, taking your time snapping the ball will actually benefit your team, as they get a chance to catch their breath before the next play.

    Guess what? Temperature and location play a factor in a football game. If you're a Green Bay Packer playing at Dolphin Stadium in September, you're going to feel the heat while the Dolphins are well-adjusted. And don't start on the Dolphins playing in Foxborough in December. Weather will play into the home-field advantage next season.

    But fatigue is caused by a lot more than a hot day. Consider this: If Reggie Bush scampers left, then right, then backward, then left and right again and finally into the end zone as only Reggie Bush can, he's going to be tired at the end of the run. In Madden, you'll notice him slowing and, with a different set of running animations, you will see that Bush is gassed. But really, does that guy ever get tired?

    For those of you that enjoy sprinting from sideline to sideline with Michael Vick, it's time to get a new strategy. Then again, the defense will tire too...

    After a play, you won't see the same canned animations of 11 players jogging back to a huddle in unison. Players will huff and puff with their hands on their hips, longing for the oxygen tank on the sidelines. This will add a new dimension to clock management as you can't simply run Hail Mary after Hail Mary with a no-huddle offense. Those long patterns (and the jog back to the line) take a heavy toll. Instead, you'll need to complete a pass and -- dare I say it -- spike the ball to stop the clock. Just waiting a few extra seconds to snap the ball will have an effect.

    Another issue that is finally being addressed is the fatigue. Now every single action on the field counts against a player's fatigue. If a monstrous defensive tackle lucks into an interception, and runs the ball down the field (we're imagining Robert Traylor here), he'll get completely gassed. So tired, in fact, that he might not be able to make it all the way to the endzone. The developers are also factoring in temperature and altitude -- so Miami and Denver have serious homefield advantages (as the Dolphins won't be affected by the heat, and the Broncos won't be tripped up by the height).
    Ultimately this should all allow you to play to your style. If you grind it out for three quarters on the ground, the defensive line is going to have trouble stopping you in the fourth. If you pull a Peyton Manning and pick apart defenses, the defensive backs are going to run out of juice by game's end. If you don't huddle after sending your receivers out on a streak, they're going to be slower. And to remind you that these guys are all exhausted, you'll see them slump-shouldered, hands on hips, huffing and puffing.

    Campus Legend turning into a super star-

    The more games work together, the happier I am. That's why I was ecstatic to learn that you can take the player you build in Campus Legend mode in NCAA Football 08 and transfer him over to Superstar mode in Madden. That means all of your hard work building up a player doesn't have to end after four Heismans. You can enter the draft like every other hot shot and see if your player turns out to be the next Peyton Manning or Ryan Leaf.

    If you're not into creating players, you can actually play through Superstar mode this year as one of the impact rookies. EA wouldn't specifically say how many rounds deep you can go picking a player, but if you always wanted to be just like Adrian Peterson, now's your chance to see what it's like to run behind that Minnesota line.

    The guys at EA Sports also guaranteed that the camera angles for all positions have been improved to make the mode more playable, no matter if you want to be Calvin Johnson or JaMarcus Russell, and there is also an addition of something called The Super Sim where you can simulate through a game and jump in to play as your character when you need to make that first down run or sack the QB on third down.

    Madden Gamer Level 2.0-

    Flip on the game and first thing you notice is the new trophy room presentation. Clips of your favorite team are being shown on a giant Jumbotron thanks to NFL Films, and as you scroll around the room, you will see all of your trophies and accomplishments, from the time you ran for 200 yards in a game, to the game where you passed for over 400. The more trophies you earn, the cooler your room looks, not to mention the fact that you will now be able to bet trophies head-to-head and online.

    But that's not all. The room also has a special showcase section for rings. Think of it as an extension of the Madden Gamer Level from last year. The more you accomplish in Madden, the more your ring starts to fill out. There are 5 rings total you can pimp out, with the first couple your basic gold, but as you work your way through the game, you'll be adding diamonds, even your team logo if you win the Super Bowl in franchise. It's a visual representation of your skill level, and you'll take that ring with you when you play online so people can instantly recognize the bling of a Madden vet or the iceless gold of a newbie.

    Previous next-gen versions of Madden included the "gamer level" system to indicate your progress through the game. That will change a bit in Madden 08, as the team is introducing the concept of championship rings, which you will build and earn as you make your way through the game. A "shrine"--decked out with the logo, colors, and highlight videos of your favorite NFL team--will show you all of the different rings you've built over time, as well as a multitude of in-game trophies for things like rushing and passing records. There will even be a trophy case for the head-to-head trophies you've won against other players online. You'll be able to create and name new trophies as you go, and the game will keep track of each head-to-head trophy you possess, complete with stats such as overall record in the "trophy competitions," the score of the last game played for a trophy, and more.

    Owner mode-

    Owner mode will be back, fantasy drafts will be back, player editing will be back. While players have their roles in the game, there's no saying that you can't improve upon or even change their skill set when in franchise or owner mode in Madden 08. To do so, you'll need to spend some time in the upgraded minigames, which feature slightly tweaked variations on familiar minigames such as the quarterback challenge, running back challenge, coverage challenge, and so on. We had a chance to try the QB and RB challenges in our time with the game. In the QB challenge, you first choose the kinds of weapons you wish to throw to (hands guys, possession receivers, and so on), then try to nail as many completions as you can during the time allotted. The most apparent change for the quarterback challenge is the addition of blitzing defenseman, which adds a degree of challenge, especially in two-player matches.

    For the running back challenge, you're given a different type of back on each successive play (a power back, for example, followed by a stiff-arm specialist), and your goal is to get to the end zone as many times as you can or, if on defense, to try and prevent the other team from finding pay dirt. Especially when playing defense, the type of back you're going up against makes a difference, as you want to approach a power back in a different way from, say, an elusive back, who's able to skitter out of your reach. In addition to the aforementioned minigames, there will be offensive- and defensive-line challenges, as well as the bench press and 40-yard dash from last year's Madden. As you progress in the minigames, your players' abilities will improve throughout the season.

    The new "Weapons" system-.

    Peyton Manning's mind is a weapon. The man watches so much film, when he walks to the line of scrimmage and starts doing the hand jive to receivers, sure, some of it is a bluff, but other times he can immediately read the defense's coverage scheme, make the split-second adjustment, and send Marvin Harrison deep for a game-changing play. In real life, that's called Super Bowl MVP. In Madden, the term is Smart Quarterback and it's 1 of 24 superstar abilities in the game. Here's how it works: There is an icon under Manning as he lines up (in fact, anyone who has a special weapon ability has an icon that looks similar to NBA Live's Superstar icons). When you start the game, Manning's icon is gray. The more the defense calls the same plays throughout the game, the more Manning's icon turns to gold. When the icon is completely gold, the guy controlling the offense can hold down the right trigger + LB to reveal the play art of the defense. This is where it becomes a chess match as the offense can quickly hike the ball knowing where to exploit the D or call a hot route or audible if they don't like the match-ups, but at the same time, with defensive hot routes back in the game, the defense can also make adjustments to what the offense is doing. And just like Manning does in real life, you never know who's bluffing and it makes for some great moments of trying to outthink your opponent (while at the same time talking junk to your opponent about how his mom looks like one of Ron Mexico's pitbulls, of course).

    But Peyton Manning isn't the only smart player on the field. Guys like Ray Lewis and John Lynch are leaders out there on defense and have been designated as Smart Linebacker and Smart Safety. If you have a guy like this on your team and the offense keeps calling the same plays, their meters will turn to gold as well and you'll be able to see what the offense is about to do (everything is revealed but the wide receiver play art).

    There are Possession Receivers who will make catches in traffic with the tap of Y. Shutdown Corners like Champ who will run stride-for-stride with the best in the game in man coverage (even if there are no guarantees in zone), and Spectacular Catch receivers like Randy Moss (who is always motivated in Madden, making the Patriots ridiculous in this game), who have their own set of animations when it comes to wowing the crowd with their big-play ability.

    And the cool thing is, for every weapon, there is a counter. For power backs who use the Truck Stick, defenders can use Hit Stick 2.0 to tap down on the right stick and take out their legs. For players like Brett Favre who have a "Cannon Arm", sure he can throw the farthest and with the most velocity, but he is also more likely to overthrow his receivers. Guys like Laurence Maroney carry a wicked "Stiff Arm" as their weapon, but are prone to the defensive strip at the same time.

    Players also have the ability to play with more than one weapon. For example, Ray Lewis is a Brick Wall Defender, a Smart Linebacker, and a Big Hitter. You will also be able to train players throughout your franchise and give them additional weapons by bumping their ratings up, earning new animations for that player with their new abilities.

    Fans of the user catch are going to love the extra control you have over receivers. Making a subtle change of direction no longer takes you out of the play, ready to throw your controller at the screen as the pass falls to the grass incomplete. Instead, you can fire the ball downfield, switch to a receiver, come right back to the ball and leap for a spectacular catch.

    Well, not everyone can make a spectacular catch. Brandon Stokely isn't going to leap over Dre' Bly and pull it down with one hand. Randy Moss will, because he's a weapon, and the spectacular catch is his ability. In Madden 08 EA introduces a new weapon system, highlighting star players and telling you how to take advantage of the skills. It's a sort of cross between Winning Eleven's star players and NBA Live's superstar moves. Ray Lewis is a brick wall defender (and a smart defender -- stars can be a weapon in more ways than one.) But hey, let's not discount Stokley -- he's a weapon in his own third receiver in the slot sort of way: he's a damn fine possession receiver. There are 24 weapon categories in all.

    At the team select screen, you can see just how many weapons each team has -- the Pats lead the pack, unsurprisingly, with 14. The important thing to note is that these weapons are more than just icons on the field that run faster than the rest of the players. John Lynch is not going to be out of position in the secondary. Brian Urlacher is going to hit you a lot harder than Walt Harris.

    Where EA is hoping the weapon system will really take off is in Franchise mode as you try to form the perfect team based on your play preferences.

    This season, it's all about weapons, that is the superstars on each NFL team that can turn the tide of a game single-handedly. Practically all of the gameplay tweaks in Madden 08 revolve around the concept of the weapons on each team, from presentation to animations, and the result is a game that feels markedly different from last year.

    Regardless of your thoughts on parity in the NFL, it's still true that there are haves and have-nots when it comes to talent in the league, and that will be mirrored in Madden 08. Unlike the NCAA series and its impact-player system, there's no minimum or maximum number of star players on an NFL team. Some teams (like the San Diego Chargers) are flush with talent, while others (like the Cleveland Browns) will only have a handful of game changers on their roster. That said, any player designated as a "weapon" will be someone you'll want to watch out for.

    To that point, the development team behind Madden 08 is striving to make sure that you're always aware of who the weapons are on the field, and that they feel different from your standard NFL player. The visual cues for weapons are extensive--from the player introductions on the field that highlight a handful of star players to multiple icons that indicate each star player's different abilities. The player icon is a bit reminiscent of the system used in previous years' versions of EA's NBA Live series, except that instead of five player roles, Madden NFL 08 will define 24 different types of weapons on the field. Examples include big hitters, finesse or power defensive linemen, elusive running backs, power backs, possession receivers, spectacular catch receivers, and many more.

    To the game's credit, players aren't too narrowly defined by their weapon categorization. In other words, the truly elite NFL players can be noted as multiple-threat weapons. In fact, if you back out to the player menu screen in a game, you can see a player's top attributes and get a feel for how strong he is within each of these weapon categories. In the game, for example, San Diego QB Philip Rivers is known for his arm power, accuracy, and intelligence, all of which he can use to his advantage on the field. As you progress through a season, you'll receive scouting reports from week to week, indicating your next opponent, that team's star players, and how you can go about counteracting their best players.

    The best way to take advantage of a weapon in Madden 08 is, obviously, to play to his strengths. You don't want to use an elusive runner like Brian Westbrook as a power back--his strength is getting between the tackles and slipping through the hands of defenders. That said, no matter how powerful a "weapon" a player is, the game is being balanced to ensure that he can be brought down. Every weapon will have a counter weapon that you can use to minimize his effectiveness. In the case of Westbrook, putting a big hit on him with the new hit stick (where you can choose to hit either high or low by pressing up or down on the right stick) will often cause him to drop the ball; he's also more susceptible to the ball being stripped out of his hands.

    Similarly, players who aren't playing to their strengths might fall into traps of their own making--running too many jukes and spins with a power guy like Lamont Jordan, for example, is a surefire way to get him to cough up the ball. Even linemen are in on the weapon/counterweapon fun; to counter a offensive lineman known as a "crushing run blocker," for example, you throw a power move defensive lineman at him and knock him on his tail.

    To give you a quick glance of your team's (and your opponent's) abilities on the gridiron, you can press the left trigger before the snap; the camera will pull back, and you'll see all the different weapons on the field, with icons indicating their specific specialty. In a nice presentation tweak, the right trigger will now pull back the camera to show you your receiver button assignments but not the specific patterns your receivers will be running. To see the receiver patterns, you simply move the analog stick--a handy tool when you don't want your opponent to see your play before the snap.

    Weapons list-

    Cannon Arm
    Accurate Quarterback
    Smart Quarterback

    RB, FB,
    Elusive Back
    Power Back
    Crushing Run Blocker
    Stiff Arm Ball Carrier

    TE, WR,
    Spectacular Catch
    Route Running
    Possession Receiver

    Pass Blocker
    Crushing Run Blocker

    Big Hitter
    Brick Wall Defender
    Power Move Defensive Lineman
    Finesse Move Defensive Lineman

    Big Hitter
    Brick Wall Defender
    Smart Linebacker

    Big Hitter
    Smart Corner
    Press Coverage
    Shutdown Corner

    Big Hitter
    Smart Safety

    # Big Foot Kicker
    # Accurate Kicker

    # Big Foot Kicker
    # Accurate Kicker
  19. CeeJay

    CeeJay Guest

    I just fired up NFL 2k5 last night on my old xbox, just to see if in hindsight it was as good as i remembered. Its better. This game wipes the floor with next gen madden, its quite unbelieveble. The amount of things they get right is just amazing. I will be buying all pro football franchise or no franchise. These guys are the only ones who know how to make a football game, and theyre our only chance that madden will ever become what it should be.
  20. Fred187

    Fred187 Guest

    I'm definitely going All-Pro; I don't actually even like American Football, but I still absolutely love NFL 2K5, it wipes the floor with any Madden game in every respect (especially value for money). So, even without the licensing (which won't actually matter, because it's going to be entirely customisable, looking to do to Madden what Pro Evo did to FIFA; gameplay over licensing), it's going to be a better game than Madden provided they carry across anything from 2K5 (this is one of those games where I will be happy if the only thing they change is the graphics).
  21. CeeJay

    CeeJay Guest

    Well, theyre not carrying across franchise, and thats a major blow, but ill still be supporting them. As you said 2k5 was just to good not to.
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