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Madden 2007

Developer: EA Tiburon | Publisher: Electronic Arts
Players: 1 to 4 Player Game | Release Date: 08/22/06 | Genre: Sports

madden07_cover.jpgLast year when I purchased my version of Madden for the Xbox 360, I knew that there were certain features missing and that it was not going to be that great of a game. Boy was I right as that version was played only a handful of times before I went back to the original Xbox version.

This year, my friends and I were excited to see what improvements were made to Madden 07 for the 360. As you will read in this review--while some things were improved upon--EA has a lot of explaining to do.

As you know, it seems every version of Madden has its own little feature that makes each version stand out. Last year it was the vision cone, which I think is the greatest advancement in the franchise. This year it’s the “Run to daylight” feature. This allows you to pick anyone of your blockers whether it be an o-lineman or your fullback and manually take control of them to make the block you think is best. This is a pretty good feature, and is well implemented in the game.

Another feature for this years’ version of the series is the new Hall of Fame. Essentially how it’s supposed to work is you can unlock certain players who have made it to the hall. The only problem with that is this: say I unlock Jim Thorpe, who we all know is dead; amazingly he will show up on my free agents list in my franchise. Now I don’t know about you, but how can a dead Hall of Famer still be able to play football. EA has said that there is a work around for this but I have yet to see it yet.

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Upon loading the game you notice that there is a new menu system, which is identical to the last version on the 360. While the menu system is pretty cool to look at, when you start to delve into the sub-menus, it begins to get very confusing. The menu system also has quite a bit of lag when going from one menu screen to the other.

The in-game presentation has taken a slight upgrade from last year’s version as well. This year during the pre-game intro’s you see the home team coming out of their helmet, just like in real life. The only problem with this is, it’s the same canned celebrations from last year. I thought with the next-gen you would see thousands of new animations. Maybe this will be something they will add to Madden 08.

While the play-calling screen issues that haunted NCAA football for the Xbox 360 have mostly been addressed, you still see your defensive packages in the wrong spots from time to time making it harder to find your play. Hopefully EA will release a patch to resolve this issue.

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Graphically, the game has undergone a massive upgrade from the previous version. When you play your first game, you immediately notice the new 3-d textured fields. The grass no longer looks like a flat piece of green cement. You can actually see the blades of grass on the field.

The player models have been scaled to better fit the actual players this year, and most of the stadiums have been accurately represented (sorry bears fans, you may have to wait one more year). The only downside that I have seen so far would have to be the player’s faces. It really makes me wonder if EA actually did scan them. Most of the players don’t really look like the real life counterpart. For a company that has the exclusive license to NFL games, this is a very strange element of the game missing.

The game really plays very solid. It took me a few hours to get used to the controls of the game because I was so entrenched in NCAA football. But while playing though I found a lot of key elements the previous versions of the game are still missing.

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Let me try to explain what is missing. While I can audible my safeties, LB’s and D-lLne, I still lack the ability to give each of my defensive players an individual command. Also, I cannot do formation audibles on offense or do quick audibles to a run or pass. These elements were essential in madden for the Xbox and PlayStation consoles. How difficult is it for EA to put this in? It really should not be very difficult at all. Another glaring omission in the 360 version is the lack of fatigue. Upon playing my first franchise game I noticed that my running back was not getting tired at all. Apparently this is a something that EA forgot to test for because people all over the country are complaining about this glaring omission. At least EA has come out and said that they are working on a patch to address this problem. While the collision detection problems that plagued NCAA on the 360 have been addressed, there are still some instances that pop out at you in this game.

While Madden, for the 360, is steadily getting better. It seems to myself and to most of the general public that it’s happening at a snail’s pace. For the casual football fan this game is a definite must buy. For hardcore fans such as myself, if you are debating whether you should buy this version or for your Xbox or PS2, I would choose the latter.

By Antoine Byrd - 09/01/06
ESRB Details:

Screenshots for Madden 2007

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