Mr. Madden's football games continue to be the titles against which all other gridiron games will be judged. Considering that Madden NFL 2002 is the Xbox's first contribution to the series, it's a triumphant debut indeed. Everything that we've come to know and love about the console Madden games has made it to the Xbox. This version even has minimal but noticeable upgrades from the PlayStation2 edition.
Gameplay is almost exactly the same as Madden NFL 2002 on the other consoles, with key differences relating to the enormous Xbox controller. If you're not a fan of the Microsoft controller's ill-placed black-and-white buttons, you'll be happy to see they aren't used too frequently.
The artificial intelligence exhibited by the Xbox-controlled players seems to be equivalent to that of the very smart PS2 version. In other words, expect a slow-paced, competent game that will challenge you for every yard.
The graphics, however, have been slightly tweaked for the extra pixel-pushing abilities of Microsoft's console. Helmets get scratched and dirt, grass, and other filth accumulates on player uniforms. Players are somewhat sharper and smoother than in the great-looking PS2 version, plus people with widescreen TVs can view the entire offensive and defensive lines without having to pan left or right. All in all, the improvements over the PS2 version are slight, but they do add to the atmosphere of the game.
Also retained are the two-minute drills, teaching modes, and Madden Cards from the other versions. Sadly, repetitive and droll announcing by Pat "What Game Is He Watching?" Summerall and John "Blandly Stating the Obvious" Madden didn't get upgraded. One or both of these guys need to hang up their microphones in a hurry. Also, the game still puts way too much emphasis on the passing game, leading to somet
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