Madden NFL 2003 - Xbox

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Also for: PC, PS2, GameCube, PlayStation
Viewed: 3D Third-person, floating camera Genre:
Sport: Football - American
Media: DVD Arcade origin:No
Developer: EA Tiburon Soft. Co.: Electronic Arts
Publishers: Electronic Arts (GB)
Released: 4 Oct 2002 (GB)
Ratings: 3+
Accessories: Xbox Memory Unit


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Ever since the 16-bit era, with the likes of the Amiga and the Megadrive, John Madden has ruled the roost as far as NFL games have been concerned. Now in its thirteenth year, Madden NFL brings all the modes, features and depth with which it's synonymous to pretty much the whole range of home consoles, not least the Xbox.

With a primary focus on in-game graphics and gameplay, this latest incarnation of the series claims to be the best looking, sounding and playing football game ever. Not wanting to break the annual cycle of improvement, let's just say that it is. Just a selection of the new visual overhauls include new signature player animations, new cutscenes with high-poly cheerleaders and additional emotion-based bench scenes, more than 300 realistic player faces, and a more cinematic approach to camera positions.

Underneath the sexy new visuals, however, the usual, familiar gameplay mechanics are still to be found, albeit with a few updates themselves. A faster and more realistic game presides, with players following through, making hits on players without the ball and generally presenting a more finely tuned passing game.

The audio department has not been overlooked either. The great John Madden himself, along with fellow Monday Night Football star Al Michaels, takes care of the commentary via a new audio engine, which delivers appropriate commentary based on current game situations and player/team statistics.

All in all, this is a John Madden Football game. It was the first really popular NFL experience all those years ago and is still considered by many to be the definitive American Football sim. As with most of EA's sports games, it receives a yearly makeover and continues to improve - which isn't bad at all.