|System: X360, PS3||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: EA Sports BIG||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Electronic Arts||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Jan. 8, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-4||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
There are two other modes of play that are interesting but not great. They are creative mini-games worth a look, but I don't feel that they add much to the overall fun. Smash & Dash and Redzone Rush will have you take on the computer or your friends. Smash & Dash has you rack up a point total by running around in a circle with the ball trying to avoid the opposition. We used to play this game on the playground, but we had a much less politically correct name for it that you may also remember. Redzone Rush has you take on either one or two opponents and try to bust your way into the Redzone. The team with the most successful tries is the winner.
As fun as the single player modes are, the multiplayer action is even better. This is the kind of game that makes you want to throw the controller at your so-called friend's head or do the Dirty Birdie in his face. If you've got three friends over, you can play co-op, but I suggest playing "winner stays" one on one exhibitions. If you're alone on your couch you can connect to Xbox Live as well. That way you can always find human competition. On Xbox Live you can build a gamer profile, get matched up, chat, send voice and video messages or download new content. Everything you'd expect from an EA Sports title is available online.
The graphics are clean, but nothing special. I did like the various city-specific venues though. There's nothing grainy or any glitches to be seen, but don't expect this title to knock your socks off. Fortunately, the controls are very easy to use. They truly are pick up and play for both novice and expert alike.
The music is clearly reproduced and the track selection is quite good. Sadly, the commentary by ESPN's Trey Wingo is utterly repetitive. Thankfully, the comments are at times pretty funny. My favorite is Wingo's nod to Dennis Green's immortal, "The Bears are who we thought they were!" The developers poke fun at repetitive video game announcers all through the game. They do this by having Mr. Wingo purposefully repeat his comments and take jabs at the industries lack of announcer comment variety. This is supposed to be ironic and clever, but it actually accentuates the repetition. You're probably going to want to mute the volume and slap on some tunes.
As you already know, I really liked this game. I had a ton of fun. Unfortunately, I can't call this a great game. Some of you will absolutely hate this title. The wacky gameplay, broken tackles, and cheating computer may get the best of you. On the other hand, those of you that are arcade buffs or are particularly good at sports games should love it. I can't tell you how great multiplayer showdowns can be against stiff competition. There are a lot of things that could be adjusted in order to make it a better title. For example, I would love a much deeper offensive playbook. However, this game is exciting and is probably still worth your $39.99 plus tax.
CCC Lead Contributor / News Director