Madden NFL 08

PUBLISHER: EA Sports DEVELOPER: EA Tiburon GENRE: Sports ESRB RATING: Everyone MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS: 800MHz CPU (1.8GHz in Windows Vista), 256MB RAM (1GB in Windows Vista), 2.1GB hard drive space (gamepad recommended) MULTIPLAYER: 2-8 players

Review: It’s high time that EA Sports stepped up the quality of its PC productions, because porting last-gen console games just doesn’t cut it anymore. Madden 08 is pretty much a highres

version of the Xbox (not 360) game, littered with enough sugarcoated upgrades to distract you—until you dig deep into the gameplay. The new weapons feature, for example, is a great way to differentiate the superstars from the subpar stars, but this doesn’t make it any easier for one of those studs—or any player, really—to break up a pass or put a hit-stick lick on a ball carrier because the controls in those areas are plain unresponsive.

The game looks sharp, but closer inspection shows a lack of differentiation in the player models. The addition of smart routes that allow defenses to deny passes on first down is welcome, but throwing the deep ball still means far, far too many home-run receptions. In fact, QBs have no limits
on their ability to hurl the ball a mile—even while on the run—with a simple flick of the wrist. No windup necessary! Also of note: Throwing the red flag to challenge a referee’s call is plain busted; the zebras miss a handful of obvious calls, and they don’t fix them after going under the replay hood. But the game’s biggest sticking point is its A.I.—new-gen Madden underwent an overhaul, but you wouldn’t know it from playing this port. And the worst part is that you don’t have a choice: If you want NFL football on the PC, this is the only stop. It’s not a bad game, but it’s a shame this afterthought wasn’t better.

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