This'll be a good trivia question for you to ask a gaming know-it-all in a few years' time. What was the Wii's second online multiplayer game in the UK after Mario Strikers Charged? Then you sit back chuffed as they say Pokémon Battle Revolution, and you reply, "wrong, it was Madden NFL 08".
Yes, the fact is that due to the complete lack of popularity of American football in this country, the Wii's second fully online game will probably not get the attention it deserves. Which is a shame really, because Madden NFL 08 is probably the best American football game we've played.
The game improves on last year's edition in every way possible. The motion-sensitive controls feel more accurate; there's a new 'Family Mode' that lets younger gamers just concentrate on the gesture-based throwing and dodging actions without having to worry about the analogue stick too; there's an all-new Party Mode (with Mii support) containing loads of mini-games - such as the one in which one player has to kick a field goal while the others shake the Remote and Nunchuk rapidly to make the wind blow.
Touchdown Or Touched Up?
The most amusing addition by far however is the Telestrator. If you're playing a multiplayer game and make a great play, you'll be given the option to enter Telestrator mode. This is basically an Instant Replay mode like in other sports games with the added condition that you have a time limit. During this time you'll be able to draw on the screen. Obviously, what you draw is up to you: it can either be circles and arrows explaining the play much like Madden himself, or it can just be rude pictures involving monkeys and poo. If you're on the receiving end you have to shake the Remote and Nunchuk as fast as possible to make the timer run down quicker. It's a hilarious mini-game that turns a normal everyday touchdown into a battle of banter.
We realise that a sizeable proportion of the UK couldn't care less about American football. If that means you, then Madden NFL 08 isn't going to do anything to change your mind. If it does interest you however, either as a casual observer or a diehard gridiron addict, then this is the best football game yet.