EA Sports Roundup
- Tiger Woods Xbox 360 review
- Madden NFL 09: not reviewed
- NHL 09: not reviewed
EA Sports had a lot to prove in the wake of last year's disappointing cross-platform showing. Development clearly led on Xbox 360 in all cases, and while the Tiger Woods and FIFA efforts were excellent games on both systems (bar insignificant graphical differences), NHL 08 and Madden NFL 08 clearly had issues. The former was a jerky, jaggy mess on PS3 - worlds apart from the silky smooth Xbox 360 game. While Madden PS3 was still a very good game, it ran at half the framerate compared to the 360 original.
The good news is that things have radically improved this year, as can be seen in the montage video below. The headline news is that NHL and Madden both play at 60fps, with only minor framerate difficulties (mostly on close-ups and replays). Indeed, NHL is effectively identical in content and performance on both systems to the point where no further comment is really required.
There's a slight deficit in performance with Madden on PlayStation 3 - the menu system seems prone to entirely arbitrary pauses and the replays are noticeably lacking in animation compared to the Xbox 360 version. The developers are on record as saying that this is down to a memory shortage in the PlayStation 3 hardware, but you have to wonder why the replay data couldn't simply be streamed to the hard disk if it was that much of an issue.
The good news, however, is that the jewel in the EA Sports crown - Tiger Woods PGA Tour 09 - is equally excellent on both consoles. Aside from some more highly defined textures on 360, it's the same superb game. The PlayStation 3 version lacks the ability to use online microtransactions to unlock game content in the way you can on Xbox 360, but that's probably for the best.
All three games take longer to load on PlayStation 3 than Xbox 360, but the difference is a matter of seconds and crucially, none of the games impose themselves on your PS3 hard disk via a mandatory installation.
Overall then, it's fair to say that EA Sports has made leaps and bounds in improving the gameplay experience for PlayStation 3 owners after a couple of very dodgy episodes last year, and based on the performance of FIFA 08 and Euro 2008, hopes are high that EA's next flagship football title will be equally as good on both systems.