My first question was “What is your overall thought of the game?” His response was, and I quote, “MADDEN 2003 ROCKS, BABY!” My second question was about differences and improvements from Madden 2002. He told me that the A.I. was better and smarter, Scouting (sending football scouts to look at a new player) was added, and there is a practice “Pre-Season Play” like in the real NFL. He also said that in Madden 2002, increasing stats for your players was very easy, whereas in 2003 your players must earn their statistic increases (running more increases running power, passing improves passing power/accuracy, etc.). Also, if someone is kept on the bench or is a secondary, their skill begins to deteriorate, so you must try to put in secondary players whenever you can afford to.
My next question was, “How easily do the controls handle? Is it easier than other games?” He said that the controls were good. Passing is very easy-just press A, and then press the assigned button of your receiver. Running, however, is not so easy. You need to hold down the “Sprint” button to run fast, and it is hard to turn or maneuver while sprinting. Also, there are many special buttons assigned to running: one to spin, one to leap over defenders, one to stiff-arm other defenders, and so on, and so forth.
The next question was about how good the graphics were. He said that they were excellent, and many times, guests had walked into the room while he was playing and thought it was a real football game. I then asked him about the sound. He said that the sound, too, was excellent. There are some “Nauseating details”, such as bones crunching, the smashing of shoulder pads hitting each other, and the whap of the football hitting someone’s hand. He wishes they’d put in more varied dialogue between the announcers, because if you play it a lot, you tend to hear the same boring stuff over and over again. Ditto with the music. They have some good tracks by bands like Bon Jovi, and the rest of the music is pretty good. The complaint my dad has about it is that there are only about 6 tracks that play over and over again.
The next question I asked was, “What do you dislike about the game?” He said he didn’t “dislike” anything, but they could have done some stuff better. For example, they could have done trading better, and added AI trading, instead of just Human to AI trading. They also need more realism about free agents. The game shows them as just people who you bid on and recruit to your team. In reality, a free agent can work for a team, but still look for better deals and leave the team. Also, there were a few bugs, one of which was that the announcers sometimes confused the Home and Visiting teams.
I then asked him what his favorite part of the game was. He said, “Building a team and watching it grow and improve. Also, making a custom team out of, say, the Cincinnati Bengals and making a good team out of them.”
My last question was a wish list of features he would like in Madden 2004 (or whatever the next game is). His wishes were these (not in order of importance):
- Personal Logos for custom teams.
- Better realism of free agents.
- Better custom team football field choices.
- Computerized pictures for rookie players, because currently there is just no picture at all for players who aren’t playing currently.
- There was an expansion draft for the Texans last year (every team sent a couple players to the Texans, and the Texans chose some to make their team), and in Madden 2002, you could do a custom team expansion draft in place of the Texans. However, now that the Texans are a full-fledged team, the expansion draft was taken out. My dad feels that it was dumb to do that.
- Changing divisions for custom teams, instead of just getting whatever division the team you replace was in.
- Harder difficulty levels.
So, overall, Madden 2003 is a solid game with not many real problems, just some things that need improving.
My rating= 9/10.
Article by James Shea
Buy Madden 2003 from Amazon.com