A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this basketball game features scores of college teams from around the country in realistic action. Players will be exposed to some in-game ads, and examples of unsportsmanlike behavior in excessive celebration upon scoring, taunting of other teams, and delivering rough fouls. However, the game really focuses on the on-court play. While the difficulty levels are adjustable, some of the controls, menus, and modes are probably too complex for young players.
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What's it about?
March is the time of the year when hoops fans start going a little crazy. March Madness refers to the yearly college championship tournament that pits school against school and alumni against alumni. Boy, has EA got a game for them! Typical of an EA Sports title, MARCH MADNESS '08 shows off gorgeous graphics -- especially on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 consoles. The gameplay is tight and the game mostly adheres to realistic play and real basketball strategy. A deep dynasty mode lets you take control of a College team and handle the schedule, recruitment, and more. You can then automatically simulate the season, play every game individually, or even try a combination of the two.
Is it any good?
The gameplay works well, but there are oddities on occasion. Some fans claim the computer starts cheating a bit if you get ahead on points, and fouls aren't nearly as frequent as the real thing. The announcing is only fair, because the commentators get an awful lot wrong and sometimes their commentary is a little late.
The controls work well, and it's easy to run plays, drive it to the hoop, perform an assist on offense, and steal the ball, jam, or block on defense. All the colleges, the colors, and even the mascots and fight songs are here. All told, more than 200 teams are represented. The game links to ESPN, so during the season, if your console is on the Internet, you'll get real-world scores via a ticker at the bottom of the screen. We can imagine players playing each match-up in the tournament -- while they have the actual game on a TV nearby. The overall feel of the game is true, the gameplay is deep, and the teams do play to their real-world strengths and weaknesses -- in short, this game does a good job of imitating college basketball.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the importance of teamwork and good sportsmanship. What kinds of plays do you find appealing: showy breakaways and dunks or coordinated efforts involving the whole squad? Since this game is set in college, families can discuss the role of athletics in school. For online play, parents may also wish to discuss trash-talking, proper sportsmanship, and etiquette for video games.
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.