New hands-on and videos of Madden 08 for the Wii

Posted July 6th, 2007 at 12:31 am

Thus far a decent amount of information has been released regarding the Wii version of Madden 08. Now IGN has posted up the first true hands-on impressions of the game along with two videos.

In general, Wii motion controls are easier to use, so big hits on defense and head-down plowing are simpler and are much quicker in response time. As part of the full Mii incorporation, each player will now use a profile at all times, and the on-screen move indicators will now show the Mii head as well, so you’ll know if you were the one with the big hit or late juke move. It’s a simple change, but it helps nonetheless.

Also incorporated now are on-screen move suggestions, so not only will you see what move you already did, but what actions you should do when passes are in the air or when you’re being dragged down by a defenseman. In general all on-screen icons (including motion suggestions, Mii motion indicators, and passing icons) are now larger, so it’s easier to tell which receiver is up, left, down, or right.

In Madden 08, simply hit the “fake coach’s cam” button and it’ll bring up a fake play. If you’re running right, it’ll show a primarily left-centric pass play. If you’re going deep, it might show a small inside-cutting run play. For proof that this works we used it when playing an EA rep, and actually faked a deep pass, changing which receiver we were going to “throw” to, and then ran a wide right running play for the easy TD. As expected our human counterpart called a deep coverage audible, and the running lanes were wide open. This new addition to pre-snap play calling works, and it’ll be a huge weapon for hardcore gamers.

Speaking of going big against human players, this year’s Madden includes a Wii exclusive in-game replay function called the “Telestrator.” Basically working like an instant replay with the ability to draw on screen, the Telestrator puts Madden’s pen in your hand after big plays. When scoring a touchdown or pulling off a clutch interception a more complex version of the instant replay screen is brought up, with the IR changing to a marker on the fly. From there you’ll have about 30 seconds or so to humiliate your opponent, drawing on the screen like Madden does and showing off exactly how you schooled them on the field.

Details for the game’s online system are also scarce at this point, but we do know that it’s still based on an EA player tag, which either does or doesn’t need to be created via friend code (that is apparently still in the works). Players can either face off against friends or randomly against like-ranked players worldwide, but there’s apparently no tournament or season mode online. EA was kind enough to let us know that the EA Messenger will be included in the game though, so we assume you’ll be able to keep in contact with previously-played rivals and friends via some kind of online message hub. EA also reaffirmed that constant stat-streaming will be included in Madden 08 for Wii, but wouldn’t comment on automatic roster updates or Wii Connect 24 support. From what we can tell though, it’s a definite possibility given the depth in Madden 08 so far. This year though, it’s all about getting the game online for the first time, and polishing up the overall gameplay. Anyone looking for an incredibly deep online experience with Madden may want to set their sights on 09.

And then there are the mini-games. Over 30 will apparently be included in Madden, but right now “Party Mode” (where the magic happens) is on a need-to-know basis, and as much as we tried, we apparently don’t need to know. What we do know though, is that all games will be four player, and most will revolve around the same kind of two-on-two drills or pseudo-game environment challenges from 07 – kicking combine says hello. EA also let us know that many of the challenges will be based on the training camp modes in the main game, so you’ll be doing sprint runs or obstacle courses in a far more competitive environment. Other than that, we’ll have to wait.

So until we see more, that’s where we’ll leave Madden 08. It’s an amazing title yet again, and from what we’ve played it’ll be well worth any Wii sporting fan’s cash. You’ll be getting stronger overall gameplay, better motion recognition, more party games, full Mii integration, online, family play, an exclusive Telestrator for rival-bashing goodness, and a deeper single player experience. There’s more to Madden 08 than what we’ve seen thus far, but from what we’ve played already we’re extremely confident that Madden 08 will surpass last year’s effort. Forget the PS3/360 “Next Generation” efforts; Madden 08 for Wii is the closest thing to stepping out onto the field.