Madden 07 Review
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Madden NFL '07 has its faults, but is worthy of a buy for football fans.
- NFL player facial mapping, character models, and stadium designs are all top notch.
- Madden's gameplay provides everything needed to please your football needs.
- Minor framerate issues.
- There are many server and connection issues that EA still needs to work on for their online mode.
When people think football and gaming, there is only one game that comes to mind -- and that is Madden. In the past players have been frustrated with the series' repetitive gameplay and lack of fine tuning, and last year's Madden NFL 06 was no exception. The game lacked most features players had become attached to such as Franchise mode and Create a Player. It also suffered from numerous bugs including frame rate problems and freeze ups.
Now with Madden NFL 07, EA Sports seems to be demonstrating a strong effort to impress gamers this year by adding refreshing new content and improving upon the gameplay of the lacklustre 06 version. Madden NFL 07 builds on past concepts and revamps them to the point of making this new Madden feel revitalized and definitely worth buying.
Let’s talk graphics
At first glance, the graphics may not look much different to other platform versions. However, regular players will notice subtle differences in the PS3 version, such as individual blades of grass on the fields, realistic lighting, improved character models, and enhanced animations.
Madden NFL 07 builds on its predecessor’s game engine providing sharper textures and global lighting to cast stadium and player shadows realistically depending on the time of day. The character models have also seen upgrades showing improved muscle tone detail, flexible moving jerseys, and facial representation of real NFL players.
When playing Madden 07 on the PS3, you'll notice that not only have the individual player animations been enhanced, but the PS3 showcases all new gang tackling animations. This means when you grab an opposing team’s running back and he is dragging you along, you can switch to another nearby player and bring him down with a finishing blow or cause fumbles. This feature adds to the realism that past Madden games have been missing.
Let’s talk features
Madden NFL 07 returns with some familiar features everyone has come to love, plus a few new ones. Some of the returning modes include Franchise, Online, Exhibition, and Create a Character. New features consist of SIXAXIS control, Mini-games, Gamer Level and Super Star mode.
In Franchise mode, you'll start with a team of your choice opening with summer camp training and preparing for pre-season. Choose certain players from your team to improve their skills by completing mini games at the training camp. From there you can enter the NFL draft, picking up free agents and signing college players for their team.
Once the preseason has started, your team will train before each game strengthening their weak points on offense and defense. Choose from an array of training games such as the 40 yard dash, bench press, and the running back challenge. A unique feature is the ability to have a “live opponent” for each of your Franchise games. Connecting to EA's online service you'll soon be bench pressing online against a real player.
The SIXAXIS controls in Madden 07 play out in many different ways. One of the first is the ability to juke, charge, and spin with the running back or receiver carrying the ball. This feels much better than using the analogs as all you have to do is shake the controller. Another gameplay element that uses the SIXAXIS is the ability to early jump the snap on the defense. This gives you the advantage when breaking through the offensive line for a QB sack or stuffing the running back.
Even though Madden uses the SIXAXIS controller for a few gameplay elements, there is still room for improvement. It would be nice to use the SIXAXIS to shake opponents off your defenseless quarterback or perhaps on a pass use the controller to guide the path of the ball.
A returning Madden feature -- though not seen until now in next gen form -- is the Super Star mode. This mode allows you to create a Super Star by first picking his parents IQ and life-styles. Once the player has picked his parents the Super Star is given a position best suited for his DNA, such as Quarterback. Next, choose from an array of facial types and skin tones to create the look of your Super Star, and change the shape and ... (continued on next page)