IGN Review of NCAA March Madness 08
The college basketball season is like a locomotive shooting down the side of a mountain. It starts slowly, pushing off from a fully stopped position, then continues to build speed and momentum until it reaches its terminal velocity, symbolized in college round ball by the tournament to end all tournaments, otherwise known as March Madness. Each year EA Sports' collegiate contender of the same name goes through a similar process of releasing to little fanfare and then gaining popularity as the suspense and excitement for the NCAA Tournament builds. For basketball gaming diehards however, their fix for college b-ball has just arrived for this season. Does it perform under pressure or crumble at the first sign of adversity?
Last year's March Madness title suffered from hackneyed gameplay and an uninspired offering of game modes. Sadly, we must report that this year's entry is no different. We're not saying that the new features that they added don't work, we're saying that they didn't add any new features to the game at all. Everything from dynasty mode to tournament options is totally unchanged. The least they could have done would have been to port over the low-post controls that made their way into the current-gen offering. Instead we're stuck looking at the same menu presentations, the same game mode offerings, even the same in-game display as in '07. Disappointing to say the least.
The gameplay is also totally identical. Players still move decently well for being on such archaic hardware. Animations perform decently well with a few tricks here and there that might perk up a few eyebrows if you haven't seen a basketball game in motion for the last decade or so. The shot mechanic is something that NBA Live relegated to the simple exercise of holding the circle button until the animation ran its course. Luckily, March Madness switches things up and puts a little more skill into the procedure. Now you'll have to at least time your release at the peak of your jump. It's not much, but with this year's March Madness every little bit helps.
The offering of modes, while not devoid of fun things to do, is identical to what we've seen before. You'll still get to play as mascots (something current-gen collegiate hoops still doesn't have), you can still run through classic matchups from as far back as the '60s, and you can still build up your squad in dynasty mode, same as you could before. That's all well and good, but basketball fans need something added to their yearly bundle and March Madness 08 simply doesn't have it.
Technically speaking, gamers are once again getting an identical package from last year. Animations are all the same, player models have been ported over perfectly and the crowds do the same chants and cheers as before. As we said previously, the interface and menu system is a carbon copy from last year, so let's hope you liked it. On the sound front, Vitale and Brad Nessler are still delivering solid quips, even if they are slightly delayed due to the PS2 having to load up the comment.
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