Madden NFL 07 Review
If you played the debut version of Madden NFL on the Xbox 360, then you probably remember that just as amazing as the high-def graphics was the fact that it was a bare-bones Madden game. There wasnít much to the game outside of the instant action and franchise modes. Madden NFL 07 provides a lot more gameplay than its predecessor, giving us a career mode, mini-games, and more. It all makes the 07 version a marked improvement over the 06 model, but it hasnít achieved next-gen football perfection just yet.
Madden NFL 07 also includes the gameplay additions found in other console versions of this yearís game. The first of these is the highlight stick. You can use the right stick when running with the ball to try and pull off special moves to elude your tacklers. Some of the superstars such as cover athlete Shaun Alexander even have their own signature moves. The downside is that the player is more likely to fumble while using the stick. As someone who made liberal use of the truck stick in prior Maddens I can personally attest to the increased frequency of fumbles as I tried to break old habits.
The new blocking control lets you take control over one of the blockers on offense, lay down a block to open a hole, and then switch back to your runner to take the ball up field. It sounds pretty cool and Iím sure that some players will be able to use it effectively with practice, but personally I didnít find myself using it that much and when I did I didnít do particularly well with it.
The kicking game has been changed by a new kick meter, although if you played NCAA Football 07 youíve already seen it. You draw back on the right stick to start the meter and then push the stick forward when youíre at the desired power. If you push the stick straight up your kick will be dead-on, but if youíre off a bit youíll push or draw the kick. I like the new kicking control because it feels a bit more like youíre actually kicking the ball rather than timing button taps.
The career mode gives you the chance to create a player and then attempt to turn that player from a green rookie into a Hall of Famer. This mode takes some dedication if youíre going to play through the whole thing and not rely on the game to simulate anything. There are a number of practices, camps, and even interviews to make it through before you even get to draft day. Once you find yourself on a team (consider yourself lucky if you get drafted by your favorite team) itís time for more practice in training camp and then the preseason schedule before you even make it to a game. Or you can just sim the whole thing up to opening day. Playing the games takes a little getting used to. First of all, youíre not the coach so you donít get to call your own plays. Secondly the camera angle is set down low to a view similar to that of a third-person shooter. This can make it tough to see downfield, but then again this is the view the players have to work with. Lastly, youíre a single player and this means that if a play doesnít call your number than youíll just be handing the ball off, running a decoy route, or trying to block a defender. And when youíre off the field youíre relegated to just watching the action, although there is a game option available that will let you run the defense when youíre an offensive player or vice-versa. Putting together a Hall of Fame career will take some serious dedication as you will have to make it through years and years of practices, interviews, and games, but reaching that hallowed hall would feel like quite an accomplishment. At least I imagine it would.