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|EA Sports' blockbuster football series continues for an unprecedented 17th season with Madden NFL 07 for Xbox. In addition to the yearly tweaks to the graphics engine and sound, Madden NFL 07's primary area of focus is the running game. For the first time in the series, players can take control of the lead blocker and create holes in the defensive line for the tailback to run through. The right analog stick, dubbed the "highlight stick" for this installment, offers new jukes, cutbacks, and signature-style moves for the game's top rushing stars, including cover athlete and MVP Shaun Alexander. |
The popular franchise mode returns with an option to track college athletes using the NFL Draft Scouting System and College All-Star Game. Franchise owners will also be able to unlock ability-enhancing roles for stars with standout team performances, while defensive minded players can sift through team-specific playbooks instead of calling basic schemes. A revamped superstar mode now follows a single position's career on and off the field, complete with custom camera views and controls for a more intimate experience. Another feature making a return is Xbox Live support, where football fans from across the U.S. vie for the top leaderboard spot.
|Game||Madden NFL 07|
|UPC||014633152319, 5030930051013, 882224446334|
|Number of Players||1-2|
|Game Special Features|
|Game Series||Madden NFL Series|
Average review score based on 179 user reviews
of customers recommend this product
People know John Madden in one of three ways. First, there are the die-hard football fans who remember him as "Coach," from his days with the Raiders. Then there are the NFL fans who know John Madden by his commentary for all those years on Monday Night Football, and welcomed "John" into their homes. Then there is the videogame generation, who know him simply as "Madden." John Madden is a veritable institution, quite possibly the most recognized man associated with the greatest of all professional sports. (Please write in to correct me on this.) EA Sports has been churning out their yearly Madden games since 1990, and this latest game, just like all the others, is supposed to be the latest and greatest yet.
Shaun Alexander is on the cover of the game this year, following up on a record-breaking season. Last year was without question the year of the running back, and Madden NFL 07 follows suit, focusing the improvements in the game engine this year on enhancing the running game. The first upgrade is the highlight stick, which replaces the truck stick. The highlight stick enables those game-breaking moves that allow the top backs to evade tackles and break those huge runs. There are forty new broken tackle animations, allowing you to lower your shoulder and smash through a defender, spin your way around them, or perform one of a slew of other tricks to avoid being brought down.
The top running backs in the game have their own unique ways to avoid defenders, and this is taken into account, as the highlight stick enables context-sensitive moves based on your back's size, ability and tendencies. Bruising running backs like the Chiefs' Larry Johnson can knock aside linebackers like bowling pins, while wilier backs like the Steelers' Willie Parker are better at dancing, darting and slipping tackles before breaking big gains. The downside to using these flashy moves to get past defenders is that you increase your chances of fumbling the ball (which I found out all too often while challenging human opponents on Xbox Live).
These new animations are the visual highlight this year, as the character models and fields don't look much better than what we've seen on previous current-generation entries in the Madden series. This is a sharp-looking game, though, and the series has been for years. The grass in the middle of the field will deform and get muddier and worn as play goes on, for instance, and even on the regular old Xbox, it's hard to find fault with such great-looking character models, excellent use of reflective surfaces and some really well-designed stadiums.
The new gameplay features steal the show here, though, particularly the aforementioned highlight stick and the new lead blocker control. With lead blocking, you can take control of an offensive lineman, tight end or fullback, and lay down the lead block for your running back, clearing a path towards a big gain. Teams (and their corresponding halfbacks) with excellent fullbacks will probably benefit the most from this, like the Chargers and their stud blocker Lorenzo Neal, who runs point for Ladainian Tomlinson, serving as his eyes and leading the charge through the defensive line (no pun intended). The system works well, for the most part, and there's some strategy to deciding what kind of block to utilize based on your situation. You can cut block to take someone's legs out from under them, and you can even intentionally hold the defender.
Overall Rating: A 10 out of 10.
There is one thing about Madden games: unlike most games, they really don't need to reviewed. At least no more than one paragraph and a score. It is one of those series that almost never drops the ball and those who end up buying the game almost all know they want it without playing it or reading a review. But for those of you who still need a review or are on the fence after the rush job of Madden ’06 - I was there, I know that feeling – let me take you on a tour of the new, and greatly improved, Xbox 360 Madden.
In-game graphics are just as awesome. Stadium models have never looked better in any Madden, or for that matter, any sports game before this one. If you need a tour to see what I mean, pause the game and you'll see a full-animated, above the stadium shot, followed by a tour of the stadium. You can even see your players paused on the field! The crowds have never seemed so natural, with every fan moving around. When the home team is doing good, you’ll see some clapping, some jumping around; when the home team is stinking it up, they’ll be sitting still.
Sound is a mixed bag for Madden though. The roar of the crowd as the home team goes for a touchdown. The thud of helmets, pads and skin as they collide during a hard sack. The grunts of players engaged in battle. All of these, and more, are captured perfectly. I'm not sure football has ever sounded so real in video game form. Unfortunately, the play-by-play announcer is worthless. While I like the idea of a home town radio announcer handling the job of calling the game, and it has some cool moments as he is completely bias towards the home team, it quickly ends up as a terrible idea. The announcer has almost no personality by keeping his comments dry and to the point and is oddly silent during important plays much more often than should be allowed.
Madden has always been known as a more offensive-oriented football game - until now. This year's game sees the addition of lead blocker controls. Before the play, you can switch control to any offensive player, defensive or otherwise. Once you hike the ball, you will keep control of that player until you hit the B button, when control is sent back to the player with the ball. This means you can make your own openings, then either let the computer finish the play or retake control to make the best of newly created opportunities.
To go along with lead blocker controls is the new highlight stick moves for running backs that match their specific styles. With the flick of the right stick, smaller backs will hack through defenders to break tackles that would otherwise leave them in the grass. Bigger backs will power through anyone in their way to the end zone. Couple the highlight stick with lead blocker control and a whole new way to play Madden is at your fingertips.
If there is one thing Madden generally never lacks in are features and modes of game play, many that are new and/or Xbox 360 exclusive. Mini-camp mini-games (a great way to not only get a short burst of Madden in and hone your skills), NFL Superstar mode (where you take control of one player for their whole career, trying to compile a hall of fame career), Madden Gamer Level (achievement point system you can use to bet) and the ability to have your franchise games played by a real player via Xbox Live. This is also the only version of the game where you can challenge replays.
EA went above and beyond with the 360's Madden '07 and there is no reason to skip out on it!
When the Xbox 360 debuted late last year, so too did the newest iteration of EA-brand football, in Madden NFL 06. Rather than churn out a cheap and dirty port of its other console versions of the game, EA Tiburon built a new version of Madden from the ground up. The result was a much more attractive game of football, complete with a new menu presentation and excellent new player models, stadiums, and the like. The trade-off for that newness, however, was an incomplete game. It played like Madden, but it lacked the depth of its predecessors, offering only a barren franchise mode and online play as extra features. Madden NFL 07 builds off of that previous game, tossing back in some of the missing features from the other console versions, as well as including some new components. Unfortunately, Madden 07 comes encumbered with some quirks and bugs, as well, and it's still not nearly as complete of a football game as the other console and PC versions of 07 currently available. But despite all that, this is a definite step in the right direction for the series on the Xbox 360--just not a leap. Madden NFL 07 brings back practically every feature that was in Madden 06 (not a tough feat, considering how little there was to the package), as well as the superstar mode, which was heavily featured in the other console versions of Madden 06 but was absent in the 360 version. On top of that, a number of new gameplay upgrades have been brought to the table, the majority of which are available in all versions of the game. By themselves, none of these individual changes or upgrades is particularly game changing, but taken as a whole, they add a nice dimension of depth to the gameplay experience.
These features include the highlight stick, a new kick meter, and lead blocking controls. The highlight stick is a new version of the truck stick used for runners on offense. Here, you can use the right analog stick to pull off the sorts of crazy jukes and steps that star running backs are so well known for, and on top of that, depending on the type of back you're playing, you can opt to use more-powerful moves, or more finesse-based maneuvers. This feels like the natural evolution of last year's truck stick, though most experienced Madden players will be able to get by just as easily using the button-based moves rather than making liberal use of the stick. But if you take the time to learn the stick and figure out how to use it and the button controls together, you can be a very hard runner to stop.
The new lead blocking controls are likely to inspire some new tactics from all types of players. Here, while on offense, you can opt to switch your controlled player to any of the available blockers during a running play. This includes offensive linemen, tight ends, fullbacks, or whoever else might be blocking on a play. When blocking, you can just do standard blocks, or you can even get dirty and do some mean-spirited cut blocks. This is an interesting mechanic, because it stops you from having to rely on CPU blockers, which as any experienced player will tell you, are not always the most reliable players on the field. You can also quickly switch back to control the running back once you've laid down your block, which is good, because the CPU running back doesn't always manage to find the holes you're creating. At first, you may find yourself unable to effectively use this feature, as setting up the right blocks isn't always the most intuitive thing in the world.
First off you must think to yourself he must be overacting or not a madden fan but believe me I speak the truth and this game is absolutely infuriating and heartbreaking to loyal madden fans. At first it may seem ok the graphics are good and the gameplay is just fine but then the nightmare begins. Oh your a fan of owner mode you say sorry its gone no more fantasy drafts either and Oh your teams rookie turned out to be really good well hes going to stay bad on the game because you cant edit the players. The game also thinks its a good idea to put these super 100 percent rating hall of fame guys in the game which is fine but if you begin a franchise or even superstar mode these guys get put on the opposing teams making it very unfair the only way to not make this happen ( due to the fact you cant edit the players) is to put all of those players on your own team which is just not fun. Like creating your own playbook? sorry its gone. Like the play by play by legends John Madden and Al Michaels sorry their gone too, not even replaced by a lower tier guy just some generic voice which becomes readily annoying. The game also moves at 30 pages a second which means that it stalls at brief moments making it lack fluidity. Superstar mode is almost completely unimproved other than the hall of fame aspect despite the ravings of the EA sports people and you wont be able to sign contracts or pick what team you want just a choice of four teams who you most likely dont want to play for anyway. This is by far the most disappointing game I have ever played and I spent 70 dollars on it, some of these problems are addressed in the PS2 and Xbox versions but stay far far away from the Xbox 360 version because you'll want to punch yourself for being swindled by EA again just as we all did last year with 06 but this one takes the cake folks. If you want to see for yourself do some research or rent it because you'll see everything I have said is true. Although the game is a 1 out of 5 by madden standards by normal game standards it is a 2 out of 5 due to the graphics and decent gameplay but it is indeed sad to see madden take a giant step backwards.
Let me start off with saying that I have been playing Madden since 1992 on the Genesis. This is by far one of the greatest gaming franchises in history. It has had throughout the years it's bad game or two. However, it is falling way farther than it ever has before. Now Madden 2007 on the X-Box and Playstation 2 is actually good. But on the x-box 360 it is one of the worst Madden's I've ever played. EA Sports is trying to hard to put graphics that are mind blowing into the game, instead of focusing on game play and content. They put extra time into the menus instead of making the game feel like good old Madden.
-Once again, they did not put the fantasy draft option into the X-Box 360 version, when it is included in all the others.
-They changed the controls from normal Madden, which I'm sure if taken enough time one might get used to them, but they have 3-4 buttons that are not used on the controller now, and it makes no sense to have stiffarm and juke be a one button thing. Now changing the controls isn't a bad thing, but they've made no way to give an option to change the controls to how you'd like them, so there's no choice in the matter you're stuck with them.
-The spin move was a powerful weapon in the arsenal of 2005-2006 gamers on the regular x-box and playstation, and it has been extremely nerfed in 2007.
-Defensive coverage audibles are gone, and defense is extremely hard to use at a proficient level.
-Stupid new kicking feature, now I've gotten use to it, but I have to ask, why change it? If it wasn't broke, don't fix it? There's nothing cool about a new way to kick the ball so I don't really see the point.
-Horrible play calling menus? What was wrong with the old one? I don't need this whole block taking up my screen. It's been done the old way since the beginning of time, why change it. Now it's so complicated and hard to find the plays that I like that I have delay of game penalties.
-Franchise mode is like a rat trying to find a way through the maze to get a piece of cheese. I feel so lost while doing the franchise and all I want is that piece of cheese, that feeling of controlling a franchise and playing some games.
-The scouting mode of searching for players is incredibly too time consuming and you will probably just wind up skipping it and not have any idea about who's going to be good in the draft as you now have to do a college all star game, and training camps for only 7 players in order to find who you might want to draft.
All in all, they didn't do a whole lot to impress me in this Madden. Once again I feel suckered into shelling out 70 dollars on crap for the 360. For those of you who want the real Madden, play it on X-Box or Playstation 2, not for the 360. The graphics aren't worth it because they only show those great graphics in between plays. When it comes down to the real game play and showing the field, it's crap. It feels choppy, and doesn't look smooth, and all the people on the field move so fast you don't know what's going on. So save yourselves 70 bucks, and buy it for the regular x-box or playstation 2