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The complete college basketball experience with new floor general features and great nostalgic game play and dynasty mode.

PS2 Review: NCAA March Madness 08

Basketball season hits the boards again. Basketball game choices have expanded to handheld titles like Backyard Basketball, but NCAA March Madness is still the default choice. The latest Playstation 2 title has some new content bits, while challenging CPU play, nostalgic game play options and the dynasty mode fill up a quality title.

The new floor general play calling system can also utilize the playbook option as well (yes, you can create your own playbook). Overall team momentum can be swayed through impact moments that often relate to the team intensity meter. These moments occur the meter maximizes, giving you full access to the entire environment. The creative interactions (like going into the stands) make you wish these events had a higher frequency, but the game makes you work for your rewards. Player composure plays a great role on the individual level, so check the player information boxes often.

The great controls promote smooth movements and even allow players to take a charge. Hook shots and fade away shots are great offensive weapons, especially when playing the CPU. The familiar lockdown stick boosts your defensive stance well, but still isn’t enough at times when playing the challenging CPU. The computer has a frustrating knack for scoring at will when close to the basket even when you pack the paint with your defense. Many times you just have to “crash the boards” for rebounds of missed shots and not let the CPU burn you if you’re guarding them yourself one on one.

Teams and reenactments of classic match-ups have enough exciting content for any basketball lover. The 74 classic teams include Cincinnati (1992), Georgetown (1982, 1985), Houston (1983), Indiana (1976, 1987), Marquette (19777), North Carolina (1982, 1993, 2005), Texas Western (1966), Valparaiso (1998) and Villanova (1985).

The deep dynasty mode allows you to manage a customized team for a maximum of 30 years, detailed scouting methods, recruiting statistics and even overall school pride. ESPN Access greatly enhances this title especially during online play (bringing Saturday game days to a whole new level). Updates and game casts in the Dynasty Mode provide plenty of flexibility for players to do whatever they want with minimal limitations.

Announcers Dick Vitale and Brad Nessler provide the commentary while Erin Andrews covers updates from the sidelines. Players who already have the previous March Madness installment might not have enough reason to pick up this title (other than updating their rosters), but any "baller" fan will find plenty of excitement throughout the year with this essential title. Together the options and complex game play create a complete college basketball experience.

NCAA March Madness 08 is rated E (Everyone) by the ESRB. This game can also be found on: PS3 and Xbox 360.


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