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News from the Playbox
Madden, Madden, Madden
And Other Stuff, Too, Like Tiger Woods and Too Human

I am so ready for some FOOTBALL; are you? Well, ready or not, here it comes. We got a taste of football with NCAA ’09, a sample of the upcoming season with the NFL Hall of Fame Game, and now things are about to get rolling for real with the upcoming release of Madden ’09. For many of us pigskin fanatics, this IS the start of the football season, and we have plenty of coverage planned for you here on the HJ Playbox.

You can get your first taste of Madden ’09 with the demo now available on Xbox Live and the Playstation Network—and in case you’re wondering what you’ll find on the demo, we have taken the time to explore for you, and we reveal exactly what you can expect from it.

When the game itself releases, we’re going to do more than just review. This is the twentieth anniversary of the Madden franchise, after all, and this year’s edition features over eighty new improvements—more than any year in the franchise’s history. Plus, this year’s game introduces Madden IQ, which according to the press release makes Madden ’09 the first sports game that automatically adjusts to how you play.

Does it work? Do all of the new additions make this the most realistic Madden yet? Well, we’re going to find out by seeing if the game can accurately predict the season of one team. I’ll be taking my beloved Broncos through their upcoming ’08-’09 season and compare the results each week between the video game and reality. Then, come playoff time, we’ll once again run through every game of the playoffs and see just how accurate Madden really is. (Last year, our playoff predictions were around 90% accurate.)

If that’s not enough for you, we’ll also share with you our impressions of the Wii’s All-Play version of Madden ’09. Madden has played really well on the Wii with intuitive controls and unique mini-games, so we’ll see how the Wii version matches up with the Xbox 360 version in attempt to help you decide which version is right for you. All the fun gets started soon as the twentieth anniversary of Madden begins August 12th.

Of course, football isn’t the only sport hitting consoles this month. Tiger Woods takes to the links again this year with Tiger Woods ’09. This year, the game features a true one-to-one motion control ration on the Wii. What does that mean? It means when you swing the Wiimote, Tiger swings his club. Will that make this version of Tiger Woods the most realistic golf game yet? We’ll let you know when the game releases on August 26th.

We’ll also have some baseball action for you this month with Mario Sluggers. Mario once again picks up a new sport with his buddies and adds his own unique spin on the game. There are still a lot of questions about the motion controls for this one on the Wii, and we’ll try and answer those questions for you as soon as we get our hands on the game when it releases the same time as Tiger Woods.

And lest you thing the month of August is just all about sports, a game that’s been in development for over a decade on a couple different consoles finally sees the light of day when Too Human finally releases on the 14th. Silicon Knights has been working on this sci-fi Norse epic since the early days of the GameCube. It’s been a long, rocky road, and now everyone wants to know if it was worth the wait. Our time with the demo didn’t allow us to conclude whether or not this really will be one of the must-have titles of the year, so be sure to check out our in-depth review later this month. Also, I’m closing in on the ten-pound mark with Wii Fit, so look for some new updates on the only game that helps you lose weight on the Mii Fit blog.

Of course, along with all of this, we’ll keep up to date on all the latest news and developments as the big three ready their massive holiday line-up. It’s been a record-breaking year for the gaming industry already, and with plenty of mega-titles hitting shelves here in August, the relentless pace isn’t about to let up. Come along for the ride here on the HJ Playbox.

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