Madden 07


Review by Matt Paprocki

EA Sports


Graphics: 8

Sound: 8

Gameplay: 8

Overall: 8


As with what will undoubtedly be the case for many Wii games, Madden 07 has a sharp learning curve. The difference between a success and failure on this console is how well everything is explained to the newcomer. Madden 07 takes the time to do this, and in the realm of simple enjoyment, this is the best version of EA's football franchise.

madden07wii.jpg (85780 bytes)It's immediately apparent that this version is packed with features. Unlike the series debut on the 360 and PS3, the Wii benefits greatly from a full roster of necessary features. Franchise mode is the deepest out of the three next-gen Madden's, including the Tony Bruno radio show, concession pricing, deep roster management, player morale, and extensive training to keep your team at their peak. In a needed addition, you can also save mid-game and come back to it later.

Create-a-player is here in full along with the Superstar mode, fantasy draft fans will have a great time, NFL Network mode explains the basics of a playbook and the mini games are possibly better than the main game. The 2-on-2 versus game is a recreation of schoolyard football, complete with the three Mississippi count that can be sped up by shaking the controller. When two friends are on offense, you can send a signal to your teammate that vibrates their controller to let them know you're open.

Gameplay features are standard fare. It's how they're controlled that makes it unique. Options are plentiful. You can switch players by pressing A to cycle through them or simply aim the remote at the player you want to control.

This same action can also be used to shift lines, assign hot routes or send a player in motion. When selecting a player, the ease of use allows for quick defensive changes to AI controlled characters. If you line up and realize having your linebacker blitz is a mistake, point to them and tap the d-pad to access specific alternate actions.

Defensive moves such as swats, tackles, and interception attempts all use the remote. In the case of big tackles, it's the one motion in the game that fails to respond regularly. Both portions of the controller need to be thrust forward when using a speed boost, and the game has trouble recognizing this. Standard tackles are only a matter of running into a player.

On offense, the running game benefits from the changes the most. Swinging the Wii Remote or Nunchuck provides faster response to stiff arms and jukes that feels natural. There are occasional lapses where you'll perform the incorrect move, but the game's lower difficulty generally can compensate.

Passing uses the d-pad to select a receiver and a flick of the Wii Remote to throw. A bullet pass requires a fast motion, a lob asks for a slower more deliberate movement. It's a logical means of control that adds an extra sense of being in the game.

Other little touches prove somewhat cheap, but you can't help performing them regularly. To quite the crowd, you'll take both sections of the controller, put them at your side, and wave them up and down. The same goes for trying to excite them on defense. A fair catch is called by waving the controller over your head.

Playbook navigation is a sore spot. It always reverts back to the types of plays you can call after a change in possession, not the usual standard formation screen. They can be selected with the d-pad and button, or you can point to your selection with the remote. To ensure the correct play is called when pointing, the boxes are oversized, taking up a significant portion of the screen. You'll to scroll constantly to find the right play, and little annoyances like a fake field goal being the default choice when entering the special teams are inexcusable.

As a simulation, this version of Madden does fall flat. Huge gains on the ground are too common thanks to the overpowering special moves. Defense can be tough to play, and the AI has trouble keeping up with receivers. Even the kicking game caters to newcomers. You're required to do nothing more than move the remote upward quickly to gain power. However, extra points can go through with the power at 0%.

The lack of a harder edge simulation focus is beneficial to the Wii. It allows for better success when adjusting to the controls without frustration, and the constant available training with a press of button 1 means you're never confused. The game's friendly environment looks wonderful too, using an excellent depth of field effect that raises this above the Playstation 2 and Xbox versions.

If there are any flaws left to mention, they'll be in next years game. The developers obviously spent plenty of time refining the controls and with the mass of features, there's nowhere left to go for Madden on the Wii. Still, if this is what we can expect from football on the Wii, a few more years like this are hard to complain about.


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Last updated: Friday, December 08, 2006 11:11 PM