Madden NFL 08 - Hit me with your best shot

Ray Lewis shifts right and stacks the line, right in the direction your halfback sweep is supposed to go. It doesn't take a MENSA-level IQ to know you need to audible to something - anything - else. You just don't run at Ray Lewis, one of the NFL's most dangerous defensive weapons, period - especially this year.

In Madden NFL 08, EA introduces its new player weapon feature, meant to represent the dominant players of the league. In past years, "dominant" was defined by a speed rating. In 08, EA adds a handful of new player ratings and abilities that only the league's finest will be able to utilize.

The feature is inspired somewhat by the star players in Konami's Winning Eleven soccer game. You see a player with a star above his head and a hard-to-spell last name and you get him the ball. Now in Madden, you're more likely to hit your big time receivers like T.O. or Chad Johnson rather than dump the ball underneath to the slot every play.

The advantages of each weapon are more than cosmetic. Spectacular Catch receivers are going to be able to make amazing one-handed grabs with a corner right in their face. Smart quarterbacks will be able to occasionally "steal" the defense's play and see exactly what package it is running. Not to be outdone, a smart safety like Bob Sanders will be able to do the same and get the jump on an offense. Most importantly, elite players can be categorized as more than one weapon type.