Last year, Madden 07 was a great surprise for Wii owners who may have expected a poor port of EA Sports’ flagship title. The Wii remote was implemented well, and while it didn’t have the graphics or depth of the Xbox 360 version, it was still a very good game.
This year, the franchise is back in Madden 08, and it brings with it some new features. Unfortunately, other features are flat-out gone from the game, most notably the create-a-player and create-a-team modes. These Madden staples are sorely missed and they had better be back for Madden 09.
What comes to Madden 08 are several new features, some of them Wii-specific. New “weapons” allow certain star players to create game-changing plays. For example, a star cornerback might be able to stick with a receiver on an important down, no matter how fast they are. Likewise, a star receiver might be able to leap over defenders and make an amazing catch on an important play. Superstar Mode now allows players to make their own player or pick one of the 2007-08 NFL rookies instead, a nice addition to the series. Unfortunately, the Wii version doesn’t let you edit the appearance of custom superstars. The trophy room from the 360 version is also absent.
However, in place of these subtractions, the Wii version adds in online play and a party mode. Online mode currently has problems, though, because EA is having server space issues, but that will hopefully be fixed soon.
The party mode consists of a trivia contest, a mini-game tournament, and a telestrator mode that lets you play through the game as normal, but also use the telestrator like John Madden himself would. The telestrator mode is incredibly fun, though I wish it would have just been an added feature to the game as a whole and not a separate mode.
As for the mini-games themselves, they are mostly the standard practice games you’ve seen in past Madden titles with a few new ones tossed in. That’s actually not a bad thing, as playing these mini-games will help non-Madden gamers get better at playing the game.
Speaking of non-Madden gamers, EA Sports has created a whole new feature just for them. Called Family Play mode, it only uses the Wii remote, with the game doing the running for you. All you do is make the movements, such as hiking or passing the ball or juking around a defender. It’s good for gamers who might otherwise find the standard controls, which remain unchanged from Madden 07, a bit too much to handle. The idea of multiple control settings is going to become something standard in future Wii games, especially complex sports titles like Madden where every button is normally used.