Halo 3:ODST

Halo 3:ODST is my most obvious DigitalOutbox pick so far. I loved the original Halo and played countless hours of split screen multiplayer. Halo 2 was a massive step forward due to the multiplayer – simply the best available at the time. Halo 3 took it one step further with improved graphics and the variety of map’s and gameplay that it had to offer. One thing that’s consistent with all those games – I’ve yet to complete the campaign (also called single player) mode in any of them. The campaign’s are good but I put the blame on one thing – The Flood. Quite possibly the worst aspect of the Halo universe is the flood and thankfully they are part of campaign only. Anytime I see The Flood I just yawn – so boring. Anyway, Halo 3:ODST.

odst

This release is probably Halo’s most controversial so far. ODST started off as an extension pack and over the last year has grown into a full campaign story, and a full priced game at the same time. Alongside the campaign you get a new Firefight multiplayer mode (think horde mode from Gears of War 2) and on a second disk every multiplayer map for Halo 3 plus three new multiplayer map’s. I say full price but I paid just over £30 for ODST which is less than most other releases. However, was it good value?

The campaign mode in ODST is rather different than the usual Halo fare. No master chief, instead you play the role of a rookie ODST (Orbital Drop Shock Trooper). The game is set a few hours after you have dropped on to New Mombassa and is set around the same timeline as Halo 2. What’s unique is that the missions (8 in total) are accessed as flashbacks as you roam the streets of New Mombassa. The gameplay in Mombassa is also quite different – almost stealth like. You can avoid combat if you like and in some cases you probably need to. Your trooper is not like master chief and some of the enemies are very tough for your character. No dual wielding or running for your smaller and weaker trooper and watch out for heights – no more jumping from tall buildings in ODST! There’s also no vehicles in New Mombassa – better get used to walking. However the missions you access are more standard Halo – lot’s of enemies to fight, warthogs missions a plenty and some amazing set piece moments.

odst_carnage

The best way to play campaign is definitely in co-op. Up to four players can play campaign this way and it is far more enjoyable. As for the story itself – usual pap that isn’t worth bothering about in my opinion although something to note is the story makes no account for co-op gamers. it’s told as if one rookie is playing the game, not four which can be jarring. The graphic style in ODST is also quite different. Using the Halo 3 engine, the New Mombassa parts are set at night and in a very neon lit environment that are very atmospheric. This is enhanced when you enable night vision (only in ODST, not Halo 3 multiplayer) which draws a nice red outline around enemies. One thing to note – compared to other games the Halo 3 engine is starting to show it’s age. Compare it to Modern Warfare 2 and it looks quite dated in some ways. Back to the value question – we’ve played through almost all of ODST and it’s take 6-8 hours. We’ve not got stuck apart from a very repetitive last level. And yes, thats without the flood!

The other brand new addition is Firefight mode. If you’ve played the Horde mode in Gears of War 2 then you’ve played Firefight. Select from a choice of 10 maps and fight wave after wave of Halo bad guys. They increase in volume and difficulty after each wave. Again you can play this mode with up to three other friends. I think it’s this mode more than any other so far in Halo that emphasises team work. There are 5 waves to each set and each set shares a number of lives between all players. So one good player won’t get your team through the game if a couple of others keep dying. You need to work together, use weapons wisely and share out the limited health. Another great feature is that if your down to one guy and he manages to survive and get your team through to the next set, all team mates get back into the game and he gets a hero award. It’s a great, tense addition and one we’ve loved playing over the last week, especially listening to Chris singing about being a hero.

Firefight

Firefight’s biggest problems are a lack of pause function and an inability to invite people in mid game. It’s also a friends only game. No random multiplayer support which is a bit annoying if you’ve only got one or two friends online playing ODST. Sticking to the value theme – I love this mode. A game can last anything from a few minutes to a couple of hours and it’s action packed. Also, every game has felt different so far and the map design has been excellent. That leaves us with disk 2 and Halo 3 multiplayer.

Whether this is good value or not is down to how much you played Halo 3. If you’ve bought all the maps so far then your only getting three new maps. If you didn’t play Halo 3, or didn’t pay for any of the new maps then there are 12 new maps for your enjoyment. In total there are 23 multiplayer maps across the various playlists and custom games that you know and love from Halo 3 multiplayer. For me it was three new maps so not brilliant, but then I still play Halo 3 every week so new maps are good and getting a larger community onto the newer map’s should see some better playlist variety.

[flash url=”http://www.digitaloutbox.com/movies/halo3_multi.swf” w=”500″ h=”282″]

First map I tried was Longshore. Quite large, and has multiple entry and exit points for flag and bomb planting. The movie above was from my first game. We were defending and the blues attacked perfectly. They activated a bridge to drop right on to the bomb plant spot while invisible ‘shotgun guy’ took out out gunner. Round over. Awesome. Really enjoyed this new map. I think it will become a favourite over time. Next new map was Citadel which is a pretty small map with not much cover. At first I was getting picked off with ease as I didn’t expect it to be so open or to be shot from a distance. Expect lot’s of 4vs4 capture the flag on this map. Two or three games already in this mode and it was very enjoyable as the game ebbed and flowed. Well, it was more enjoyable as I started to capture some flags.

citadel

Onto the third new map, Heretic. I say new – it’s really the classic Midship from Halo 2. I’ve lost count of the number of games I’ve played on this map. It’s superb for bomb and flag games and a welcome addition to Halo 3. In fact, I’d love a few more map’s from Halo 2 to make the move into 3 but I doubt we’ll see anymore now.

heretic

So that’s it, Halo 3:ODST. Oh, almost forgot. You also get exclusive access to the multiplayer demo of Halo Reach, out next year. If you like FPS and haven’t picked up some of the multiplayer map’s then this is a no brainer. If you like Halo and already have the map’s then it’s still a worthwhile purchase. If your not into multiplayer gaming then I’d stay away from ODST. Our co-op games have been good with Firefight standing out as a really good addition. Just remember that Firefight needs friends willing to play as you can’t invite randoms into those games. On that note, it’s back online for me.

Windows 7 Party Time!

I know how excited a whole lot of us – myself included – are about finally getting the retail edition of Windows 7. What better way of celebrating such a tumultuous event than by having a party! We all love a party right? I know I do. Especially parties with truly dorky friends all huddled around a PC enjoying the plethora of exciting new features – like preview popups of windows straight from the doc-bar. I mean, what party have you been to where you haven’t fired up a laptop and enjoyed the delights of the newly reorganised Start menu.

Still, just in case you need some pointers of how your launch party can go with a bang, Microsoft have released some really informative and helpful videos. You’ll feel right at home with these characters. Just like the people you meet everyday… if the people you meet every day are sad muppets who have clearly not managed to get an acting job in years.

Seriously, it would be hugely impressive if this was made to be ironic. Sadly It’s just hugely impressive how utterly geeky and out of touch Microsoft PR is.

But, oh, how the internet is so full of clever people. Take a shockingly bad video and turn it into comedy gold.

RunKeeper

RunKeeper is a GPS based fitness tracking application for the iPhone. It allows the user to track their runs, walks, cycles etc and then upload the session to the RunKeeper website. RunKeeper tracks duration, distance, pace, speed, calories burned, and path traveled on a map. I’ve been using the app for over a year now in anger and it’s never let me down once making it an easy pick that I wanted to share with everyone. I started hill walking at the start of 2009 and it’s been excellent in tracking my walks.

RunKeeper

To track an activity launch RunKeeper and wait for a GPS lock. Then press start and the app will track you. During an activity you can pause the app, close the app, take calls and run music in the background. Activities can be resumed from this paused state which works really well. At the end of your activity you save it to the iPhone and you then can upload the activity to the RunKeeper website which open’s up some more options. As RunKeeper uses GPS rather than relying on a stepping motion like Nike+, cycling or rowing can also be tracked.

Beinn Narnaim Runkeeper

On the website all your activities can be viewed allowing you to keep a full history. Whats nice is that your activities are drawn on top of Google maps so you can pan around the map and zoom with ease. You can also swap between map, satellite and terrain which is ideal for me when looking back at my walks. One issue I have had (only the once though) is that the GPS went a bit haywire and thought I had walked 20 miles in around 10 seconds – if only!

However a recent addition to the RunKeeper website is the ability to edit your activity. You can zoom in on the map and move points to a more accurate position. What’s nice is the distance, calorie count etc are updated to reflect your changes. Another great feature is that you can export your activity to either Google Earth or GPX format. I’m keeping a track of my walks in Google Earth and RunKeeper makes this really easy to do. You can also share your activity on Twitter or Facebook – the iPhone app will also auto tweet your activity once complete, if you authorise it.

Beinn Narnain Terrain

The application comes in two flavours, a free and Pro edition. RunKeeper Free is supported by adverts unlike the Pro edition. RunKeeper Pro has extra features like audio cues which are pace stats via your headphones, and training workouts. Extra features are promised soon for the Pro version which costs £5.99. Early versions did have some issues that have thankfully been resolved. Firstly, battery life on the iPhone gets zapped pretty quickly when using the GPS. Early versions didn’t work with the screen off but frequent updates have seen battery life greatly improved and you can now switch the screen off and the app will still run. I also turn off 3G and wi-fi which helps battery and also helps with GPS signal locking. For long walks (8-10 hours) I did pick up an external battery pack as the iPhone battery just doesn’t last long enough. I also find RunKeeper more reliable than a couple of other app’s I tried, even Trails which I thought would have been a better option for the hill walking.

In summary, RunKeeper is an easy to use GPS activity tracking application for the iPhone. It has a great set of features on the phone and website and it’s good to complete a walk and see the stat’s in detail after the event. In fact some experienced walkers I’ve teamed up with over the year have been very impressed with the graphs and charts with one commenting that for a free or low cost app it was better than many of the dedicated walking GPS devices. The developers are also great at keeping in touch with the user community through blogs, forums and twitter. Highly recommended!

DigitalOutbox Episode 17

DigitalOutbox Episode 17
In this episode the team discuss Microsoft Courier, Pay for your broadband and music, Google innovates and PS3 news from the Tokyo Game Show.

Playback
Listen via iTunes
Listen via M4A
Listen via MP3

Shownotes
0:49 – Digital Britain – time to pay!
– 50p tax on landlines to go ahead
– Presented in bill before christmas
– Is this the right thing to do?
5:17 – Music At War
– Two camps emerging. Those that think that everything possible should be done to eliminate illegal file sharing. Although I can’t find details of what they are suggesting.
– Another camp saying that what’s the point in trying to stop file-sharing – nothing will work anyway.
– And now the two camps are at war.
– Come up with a sensible solution. Fight clever. Work with new technology and the new music listener – don’t fight a losing battle to protect old infrastructure.
– Lily Allen and artists come to some agreement on piracy stance
– http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/technology/2009/09/lily_unites_musicians_against.html
– http://www.featuredartistscoalition.com/showscreen.php?site_id=161&screentype=folder&screenid=2990&newsaction=showitem&newsid=2588&dc=6&sn=News
– We the undersigned wish to express our support for Lily Allen in her campaign to alert music lovers to the threat that illegal downloading presents to our industry and to condemn the vitriol that has been directed at her in recent days.
– Our meeting also voted overwhelmingly to support a three-strike sanction on those who persistently download illegal files, sanctions to consist of a warning letter, a stronger warning letter and a final sanction of the restriction of the infringer’s bandwidth to a level which would render file-sharing of media files impractical while leaving basic email and web access functional.
11:18 – Charge for iPlayer?
– Lorraine Heggessey, chief executive of TV production company Talkback Thames.
– Industry want to charge micro-payments for catch up services but BBC scuppering this.
– BBC have no plans to charge. Licence fee covers this content.
13:31 – Google Chrome Frame
– Plugin for IE 6(and 7 & 8) that replaces rendering engine in IE6 with Chrome
– Will this force Microsoft to be more aggressive on moving from IE6?
– http://news.cnet.com/8301-13860_3-10360850-56.html?part=rss&tag=feed&subj=Webware
– “With Internet Explorer 8, we made significant advancements and updates to make the browser safer for our customers,” Microsoft said. “Given the security issues with plug-ins in general and Google Chrome in particular, Google Chrome Frame running as a plug-in has doubled the attach area for malware and malicious scripts. This is not a risk we would recommend our friends and families take.”
– So, time to remove Silverlight?
18:10 – Google SideWiki
– Commenting for the web?
– Needs google toolbar
– Not original, been tried before and failed but will it be successful due to Google’s brand and market share?
– Yet another comment source – fragmentation of the conversation although there is an api
22:42 – Push GMail
– Google sync now support gmail
– Setup exchange account on iPhone to get push calendar, contacts and gmail
– Google working around Apple’s limitations and choices
– Only 1 exchange account available on iPhone
25:26 – Picasa 3.5
– Face recognition, similar to picasa albums online
– Share albums based on name
– Better geotagging and uploading/sharing options
26:15 – Bing increases market share
– From 8.9 to 9.3% in US market.
– OK it’s only a small increase but considering everyone said it was impossible to even steal a small share away from Google was impossible.
– May mean that Bing is a default choice for some users now.
27:21 – Apple Acknowledges battery concerns
– Users can log battery issues with Apple
– Also can install Battery Life Logging and report issues back to Apple
– http://www.theiphoneblog.com/2009/09/20/apple-seeking-info-iphone-31-users-reporting-poor-battery-life/
30:01 – USB IF Sides with Apple
– Palm issues dismissed
– Your letter also states that:
“Palm will shortly issue an update of its WebOS operating system that uses Apple’s Vendor ID number for the sole purpose of restoring the Palm media sync functionality.”
I attach for your information the USB-IF’s adopted and published policy regarding Vendor Identification Numbers (VIDs). Under the Policy, Palm may only use the single Vendor ID issued to Palm for Palm’s usage. Usage of any other company’s Vendor ID is specifically precluded. Palm’s expressed intent to use Apple’s VID appears to violate the attached policy.
Please clarify Palm’s intent and respond to this potential violation within seven days.
– GET OUT!
34:48 – iTunes Update
– Resolves issues browsing the iTunes Store.
– Addresses a performance issue where iTunes may become unresponsive.
– Fixes a problem where iTunes may unexpectedly quit.
– Fixes a problem syncing Podcasts in playlists to iPod or iPhone.
– Fixes a problem sorting albums with multiple discs.
– Addresses an issue with the Zoom button not switching to Mini Player.
– Improves application syncing for iPod touch and iPhone.
– Genius is now automatically updated to show Genius Mixes.
41:37 – Tiny Blu Ray PC
– Like a Mac mini – but with BluRay (kind of what we were talking about last week) £650 or £450 without the BluRay.
– Comes with media centre remote.
– Don’t know what kind of storage it has but media centre seems pretty good at streaming.
42:22 – Microsoft Courier
– A booklet, not a tablet
– Late prototype
– Touch and stylus driven,camera,7inch screens
49:24 – Sony at Tokyo Game Show
– Sony Motion Controller
– Japan release March
– Spring 2010 for rest of the world
– 4-5 million units worldwide
– Old games will be adpated to support it
– 250GB PS3 Slim
– Oct 1st
– On Amazon for £285 – bundles on the way
– PS3 Firmware issues – ian
– Tam mentioned this…
– http://www.engadgethd.com/2009/09/25/ps3-3-0-3-01-firmware-update-making-blu-ray-drive-unusable/
– Issues with 3.0 and 3.0.1 for people
– Been perfect for me
– God of War 1 & 2 bundle to include E3 demo of God of War 3
– PS3 Rumour Leaks
– wants to sell all PS2 titles on PSN – PS2 emulator ??
– special “Japanese Import” section for titles only released in Japan – ie Yakuza 3
– leaked document mentions possibility of Dreamcast titles appearing on PSN

Picks
Shakeel
Snippet
– sits on menu bar
– nice and clean interface
– pop-up menus and mini-windows, very little clutter
– easily search for your snippets of code, copy then paste into new projects.
– search by tags
– no need to hunt through previous/old projects
– easily create new snippets from any text
– select type of code, add tags
– primarily designed for programming but just as useful for storing other regularly used information
– for blocks of text, can copy a small selection instead of the whole lot, all from a mini pop-up window
– when code or text is copied, focus automatically returned to the last used app

Ian
Halo 3 ODST
– Co-op
– Firefight
– Multiplayer maps
– Good Value

Chris
MS Windows 7 Parties
– Ooooooo Mmmmmm Ggggggg

DigitalOutbox Episode 16

DigitalOutbox Episode 16
In this episode the team discuss Eid Mubarak and some tech news too.

Playback
Listen via iTunes
Listen via M4A
Listen via MP3

Shownotes
1:57 – EBay Sued
– Follow up to the previous story – Joltid, the licence holders for technology underlying Skype – are filing suite to eBay. They say the 100,000 or so downloads of Skype made every day are seeing the suite grow by $75m per day for continued breaches of licence.
– Story details updated that eBay sourced unauthorised copies of the Joltid source code, made unauthorised amends and made the code available to third persons.
– eBay respond via spokesman John Pluhowski: “Their allegations and claims are without merit and are founded on fundamental legal and factual errors,”
5:41 – PAF Leaks Online
– Postcode Address File (PAF) leaks online. 241mb, 1,841,177 postcodes – no names and addresses in each file
– Useful – should this data not be free?
– Data will quickly go out of date – 4000 new entries, 2000 removals per month
8:07 – BBC Watchdog reports on faulty PS3’s
– Watchdog report suggests a manufacturing defect in the 1st gen 60gb PS3’s after being contacted by 155 viewers with faulty consoles, and from the opinion of 3 commercial repair technicians.
– faulty units displayed a high number of “voids” – faults in the solder
– sets up repair team ‘PRAT’ outside Sony London offices, offering free repairs for PS3’s that Sony charges for (but it seems PRAT’s repairs are not free!!)
– Gamesindustry.biz claims the repair stunt falls flat http://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/watchdogs-ps3-repairs-stunt-falls-flat-interview
– “11 users getting their consoles repaired for free. During the show tonight, it admitted four of those consoles repaired by “experts” were no longer working”
– “report claimed the PlayStation 3 costs “£400” and with repair will total “£528” according to show presenter Anne Robinson, who also said “thousands upon thousands” had broken”
– ” x-ray of the PlayStation 3 showing “trapped gas”, although no explanation of this was offered.”
– Sony claims the ‘YLOD’ is non-specific indicator of a fault and doesn’t necessarily mean the console has died.
– nothing but a publicity stunt
– Watchdog criticised for wasting tax-payers money on producing an inaccurate and biased report http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/sony/6206575/BBC-Watchdog-criticised-over-PS3-story.html
– the number of faulty consoles with yellow light, reported to Sony complaints, represent less than 1/2% of 2.5m PS3’s sold. Hardly conclusive of an inherent fault
– compare that to 360’s confirmed failure rate 54.2%
– claims of bias as Iain Lee, one of the ‘reporters’, is an XBox fan.
– TheSixthAxis games site sends an open complaints letter to BBC http://www.thesixthaxis.com/2009/09/18/an-open-letter-to-bbc-complaints/comment-page-3/
– “You then skimmed over a six-page letter from SCEUK, summarising their lengthy (and apparently warranted) misgivings about the way you were handling the issue, in a few smirking sentences.”
– “you failed to mention that your “free” fix wasn’t actually free”
– “here was no indication of why the problem occurred, no discussion of which models it was being reported for and no information regarding possible preventative measures. ”
17:18 – BBC Protecting HD Content
– BBC have approached Ofcom to request the ability for them to encrypt TV listings for their HD content.
– Request made in response to content providers fears for illegal pirating of content.
– BBC aren’t allowed to encrypt their actual broadcast but by encrypting the channel listings and only permitting licences for trusted hardware manufacturers they are effectively render the station useless to users with non-trusted hardware.
– Usual arguments about the fact that this will not be effectual at all in stopping someone looking to pirate but will massively effect the everyday user and low end/cheap hardware manufacturers using open source operating systems for their products.
20:48 – Pay for News
– Wall Street Journal to charge weekly fee for web and mobile access
– $1 – applies to iPhone and Blackberry app’s
22:30 – Microsoft Application Store
– There was concern over a “kill switch” that had been implemented to allow MS to pull apps off of users devices. This has since been clarified by MS to only relate in cases where software causes harm or “unforeseen effects” and refunds will be issued in such cases. Most cases where the app is removed from the store for whatever reason will not remove the app from the users device.
– Revenue shared 70% / 30% in favour of the developer. Any carrier costs will be taken off MS share.
– $99 for first 5 submissions – then $99 for each subsequent submission
– Apps replacing core functionality – including mapping and navigation – will be rejected
– However, any apps rejected are still supported by the platform – just not via the app store.
– Video of free app on Zune – 30 sec video add everytime you start chess – http://vimeo.com/6612641
– 12 hours to convert an iPhone app to the Zune HD – impressive – http://mashable.com/2009/09/19/iphone-zune-hd-port/
26:27 – Office Online
– MS response to Google Docs.
– CNET UK got a taste. Brief summary being:
– Excel and Powerpoint both functioning. Both good online representations of the full PC apps. But slower thatn Google Docs because of that.
– Word Online not yet available for anything other than viewing word docs. View looks fine. Apparently, when editing is released it won’t add collaborative simultaneous editing on release, although it is on the roadmap.
– Sharing is currently achieved in a arse about tit way and needs addressing ASAP – based on folder shares rather than doc shares.
– Won’t work on Google Chrome – although will work on IE, Firefox and Safari. MS say that’s about “prioritising” ready for 2010 release.
– Summary – should be good for individual users looking for feature rich apps but slower than Google Docs and doesn’t have the simultaneous collaboration in Word. Sharing is terrible and needs to be addressed.
28:51 – Google
– Google Data Liberation
– http://www.dataliberation.org/home
– How to get your data into and out of Google tools
– Important consideration for cloud computing
– Google FastFlip
– Labs app – read the news by flipping quickly between sites
– Quick, works on iPhone and Android too
– Shares advertising revenue between Google and partner sites
– Can’t click on the links on each page. Nice for tablet???
– Google Chrome 3
– Faster, omnibox improvement, HTML support, themes
– Still no mac version (by year end)
– Currently 3% market share, in the next year 5%, within 2 years 10%
– Google Voice
– Google claim that it was rejected by Apple (Phil Schiller)
– http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2009/09/fcc-releases-confidential-details-of-google-voice-app-rejection.ars?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=rss
– This is going to get messy
– Someone is lying – who?
– Rumour – Google has screenshot of app rejection.
33:48 – Apple TV Price Drops
– Apple TV Price Drops – shakeel
– $229 in US for 160GB, no more 40gb
– £219 in the UK for 160gb – was £263 in UK for 160GB, £195 for 40gb
– iMac and MacBook refreshes due within weeks http://www.appleinsider.com/articles/09/09/16/apple_predicted_to_release_new_imacs_macbooks_in_weeks.html
40:17 – OS 3.1 Issues
– The latest iPhone OS (3.1) now blocks the teathering option on any unlocked handset.
– This affects officially unlocked handsets legitimately being used on alternate carriers, as well as unofficially unlocked and jail-broken.
– Apple Customer Support = “Nothing we can do to help”.
– other issues post 3.1 update
– random shut downs (yes, I’ve been a victim of this)
– occasional screen freezes
– poor(er) battery life
48:51 – Copyright in games gets sneeky
– Code inserted into Batman: Arkham Asylum removes essential controls from the game if you are running a pirate copy.
– Caught out a person on Eidos forum who posted about a bug in the game only to be told he had a bug in his moral code!

Picks
Shakeel
Create your own iPhone/Touch dock
– French designer Julien Madérou, has designed a template which can be downloaded and printed to a card.
– Then cut and fold into shape of a sturdy dock – cool!

Ian
Runkeeper
– Great for tracking your runs, cycles, walks etc on the iphone
– Great website
– 100% reliable for me
– Can edit routes, export to Google Earth
– Leave auto tweets and facebook updates on comleted runs/walks
– RunKeeper Free is ad-supported and RunKeeper Pro is ad-free. RunKeeper Pro also has audio cues (hear your stats via your headphones), and we recently added training workouts as well (hear intervals via your headphones).
– @runkeeper

Chris
Jing
– create screencasts on Mac / PC for free
– http://www.jingproject.com/
– Capture windows, screen areas or whole desktops.
– Capture microphone as well for commentary.
– Save as SWF – either host on screencast.com or save locally (Mp4, youtube possible in Pro version)
– Limited to 5 mins.
– Take a look at the Google Chrome overview to see the outcome!

Madden NFL 10 For The iPhone

I had my doubts about Madden’s appearance on the iPhone but I shouldn’t have worried. The usual slick EA presentation is transferred to the iPhone as well as some nice, clear graphics. It also moves at a good speed so there is no worries with frame rates, although the flat crowd graphics are pretty nasty.

Madden
The game is fully licensed so all 32 NFL teams are present and correct. The current version is single player only but according to the blurb on the iTunes store, multiplayer will be added in a future update. EA finally enhance a game without having to pay for it? I’ll believe it when I see it. You can choose between a single game or a full season. I was surprised at the depth in the season mode – make roster changes, trade players. Far more options than I was expecting.

There are a couple of control issues though. Firstly, the virtual control buttons can be awkward. It’s easy for your left thumb to move away from the virtual thumbstick, so your player stops and is quickly tackled or sacked. There are also a variety of buttons on the right hand side that are close together and can be difficult to find in the heat of a play. One addition that EA have made is a slow motion button which slows time, allowing you to pick out a pass or run and find the correct button. On my first few games I was using this all the time but as I’ve got used to the game I’ve used the option less. Another great addition that takes advantage of the touch screen is hot routes.

Hot Routes
Hot routes for any receivers can be made on any of the plays in Madden. Simply draw the run for the receiver. It’s an awesome feature and really add’s to the feeling that you are in control of the play. Speaking of plays, the playbook isn’t as full as the console Madden’s but still has around 300 plays which is more than enough for a handheld game. Add in full commentary and you’ve got a great game that doesn’t feel like a cut down console version. Considering this costs £5.99 and has a multiplayer update in the works I think it’s great value and a strong addition to the iPhone.