Madden 07


Review by Matt Paprocki

EA Sports


Graphics: 7

Sound: 6

Gameplay: 8

Overall: 8


madden071_xbox.jpg (118806 bytes)With only a year or two left for EA's Madden team to focus on the current generation of consoles before moving on, this is the time to be a video game football fan on the PS2, Xbox, and GameCube. The series has finally been honed enough to be a true success, and while some repeated features are annoying, the tweaks to the gameplay are more than enough to make this the best version of the franchise to date.

On the field, EA has added the "lead blocker controls." While last years vision passing failed miserably as an attempt to change the game in the air, the latest feature for fans of the ground game is far more appealing. Now you're able to grab a lineman, full back, or a receiver before the snap and make any needed blocks yourself. Given that the game's AI is usually inconsistent at best when it comes to making key stops on the line, this is finally a way to take away the luck of busting through for a significant gain.

While things have been added (including an analog based kicking system), very little has been fixed. It's still too easy to become hung up on a lineman when running, and nearly 25 editions of the game later, this should no longer be an issue. Interceptions are too frequent if your timing is right, and the AI still doesn't present a decent challenge to the experienced player. These are the things Madden fans deal with on the field, and given the game's otherwise solid (and by this point trademarked) feel, there's little reason to make noticeable changes to correct them, especially without any competition.

Off the field, you'll find little in the way of new additions. The superstar mode has been cleaned up, especially when in a game. The team now reacts to your level of play, and if you're blowing out your opponent, you can give chosen players a boost in stats depending on your "role." These vary from rookie to field general. Each has a different effect. If you're throwing interceptions or making poor runs, the team begins to reject you. It's slightly jarring to select these options before a new drive as the menu suddenly pops up before the snap. Other than that misguided choice, it makes the superstar mode stand out from its unchanged franchise counterpart even further.

madden072_xbox.jpg (136895 bytes)Presentation is this years glaring issue, though it's never been a high point for the series. The Tony Bruno radio show that plays during your franchise is the same dialogue that's been used for two years. Die hard fans have heard every line by this point. Also, aside from the rapidly aging graphical engine, there's no attempt to use the ESPN license besides a real life ticker in the menus. In-game commentary remains dry with few additions.

As one of the final times we'll see any noticeable or worthwhile changes to this series on current hardware, this is a fine way to go out. The game's issues are familiar and problematic, but for a quick fix for a football fan, Madden still delivers. Changing things when a game sells millions of copies wouldn't be ideal, and that means the game's best parts from previous years are all here intact.


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Last updated: Sunday, September 17, 2006 02:48 PM