Armed and Dangerous

When the latest iteration of the Madden NFL franchise arrives in August, the Madden faithful will discover a slew of new "weapons" -- 24 to be exact -- at their disposal in their quest for total Madden domination. As one of the most highly anticipated and talked about new aspects of Madden NFL 08, the Weapons feature puts the emphasis squarely on the shoulders of the league's biggest stars.

"Weapons recognize the elite players in the league and reinforces what makes them great," says Matt Read, producer of Madden NFL 08. "Weapons don't just recognize LaDainian Tomlinson as a great running back, but they recognize his incredible elusiveness and sneaky trucking ability. Correctly identifying and utilizing those abilities will transform you into a true Madden powerhouse."

Each of the 24 weapons works on multiple levels. Gamers can feel comfortable playing with different teams because weapons immediately expose a team's playmakers. Ultimate success relies on knowing who the best at what ability is and maximizing the potential on the sticks.

But weapons don't work alone. By combining weapons, gamers can quickly build the perfect West Coast Offense or create a dominating running game. These combinations can be countered with weapon mismatches that expose the other team's weaknesses. Taking advantage of those weaknesses is vital to winning. To become a true football mastermind, the gamer must develop an in-depth understanding and knowledge of the weapons combinations as well as the mismatches.

With 24 different weapons, favorites are bound to develop with each user.

"My favorite weapon is the Big Hitter," says Read. "These guys, backed with the all-new Hit Stick 2.0, dish out the most bone jarring hits, and they have high strategic value since they can upset both the passing and running games.

"Next would have to be Smart Quarterback, which makes it extremely fun to play with Peyton Manning. Smart QBs can read the field, notice openings and opportunities, and expose players/teams who just stick to their money plays. Keep running the same plays and next thing you know, I'm reading your play before snapping the ball."

For a complete rundown of all 24 weapons, including the risks and rewards of each, click here.