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What is it about John Madden Football? Is it the great graphics or the realistic polish that the game has? Either way this Madden 2003 is yet enough improvement on the already famous game.

To start with Madden 2003 has been released on Windows, Game Boy Advance, Gamecube, Playstation, Playstation 2, and Xbox platform. Every year the list of systems grows a little bit. This year the Gamecube, the Playstation 2, Windows, and the Xbox all have their own version. In addition the Playstation version is different from the big 4 systems, and the Gameboy advanced is a extremly scaled down version for the hand held market. The only differences in the big 4 systems' games this year is the fact that two versions allow online play, which are the Windows version and the Playstation 2 game.

The graphics of Madden 2003 are polished to a fine shine. The game is built to simulate watching a football game so the players are well built. The graphics won't outclass many games, but they are built to make you feel like you are watching the game. Don't expect the graphical capabilities of Metal Gear Solid 2, Super Mario Sunshine or Halo.

The music in this game is actually an improvement from last year's version as they removed the Madden rap and put actual songs in the disc from people such as Andrew W. K., and Bon Jovi both along with 9 other groups. The songs are nice to listen to as you do the mini games to get players and extras but won't interfere with your enjoyment of the actual game.

The commentary is something that requires to be mentioned. Gone is the old horrendous commentary of Madden 2002 with John Madden's inane comments. Unfortunately Pat Summerall left the football team last season but Al Micheals fills the empty shoes that Pat left. The commentary this year is better then the previous year. They actually call out the yards when running a long touch down and it adds a lot to the game.

Now for the gameplay, which is the largest part of any game. The gameplay is all about the options this year. The gameplay in for actual plays is the same as in the previous years. The only major difference in the gameplay is that there is no way to directly choose who you are throwing to, which means you must play actual plays. This is an improvement but makes the game a little harder for new players.

The options in this game are quite astounding and there are new ones. There is Practice,Situation, Play Now, Exhibition, Two minute drill, Franchise mode, Mini-camp, Create-a-playbook, Create-a-Team just to name a few.

The Situation, Play Now and Exhibition Practice all play about the same. The Situation is only different in that you can change it so you can start in the middle of the game. The actual game play is exactly alike in all four modes.

The Franchise mode has gotten deeper. The first change any player will notice is the preseason. That is correct, you will have to play four games before the real season starts. Be careful, you don't want to hurt a player for 7 weeks before they can do any real work for you. Overall there is a few differences but the tried and true Franchise mode is still there and as fun as ever.

For the Two minute drill and the Madden Training mode, nothing has changed since the 2002 version where it was perfect. The two modes basically allow you to gain more madden tokens for more madden cards. The training is a little better for commentary then the previous years but hasn't changed much.

The biggest change in the gameplay has come in terms of Mini-camps. You ride the "Madden Bus" to each team's home to train and learn how each position works. It really helps you learn the controls for the game, and is something that should be in every version of the game from now on as it helps to control the characters if you know the controls. Each Mini-camp type, or position will have four levels of mini-camp, and at the All Madden level will unlock a character for the Free Agent list.

The game still contains the correct modes for creating your own team and works well with other people but what good is that if you have to have your some other teams' play book? Not any more. You can create a full playbook including positions, plays, and moves. The positions are up to the player to decide as are the plays. Obviously this is only for the hardcore player and is not required, but gives more freedom then any previous Madden game. The online multiplayer for the console is the newest function of the game but unfortunately only for the Playstation 2 which requires a forty dollar network adapter. The Adapter will do LAN and modem for the price of the ISP, the game itself allows free connectivity. The online game is supposed to be very good but I have yet to experience it. Unfortunately the game only allows the buyer to have a one year license to the game, so those expecting this to be the final version of the game to be purchased will have to wait until they drop that rule. Some special items in this game are amazing. If you start the game with no players you can actually watch a full game and believe it is football season. The graphics are just stunning. There is actually no movie at the beginning of the game which is both nice and feels like there is something missing. In addition Madden Cards are back but there to get every card you must have a few types of games along with the Madden NFL game but renting them will work as well.

Now finally something worthy of a mention. The Patriots won last years Super Bowl, but the Madden team didn't make the Patriots better then the Rams. The Rams are still the highest rated team. Also the cover of the game is number 28 of the Rams. Brady's agent signed him to NFL Gameday 2003 so he was unable to make an appearance on the cover

With this many improvements in the most recent version of John Madden's football, makes it the best to date. If you have an old version of the game, it is probably worth the money to go to the newest version of the game if your a football fan.

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