E3: Madden NFL '07 Preview

Madden has always been everyone’s favorite football franchise, or at least that’s what the sales have shown for the past decade. With the competion getting more and more intense from SEGA, Electronic Arts decided to purchase the individual rights to publsh games with the NFL license. The first game after making this purchase was Madden NFL ’06 – the game wasn’t terrible, it featured the hit stick and improved defense from the 05′ version while adding a new "QB Vision" feature which let players focus on a certain target. As a launch title on the Xbox 360, Madden was sorely missing some of the features that had made Madden ’06 a good football game, there was very few game modes, and the "QB Vision" was removed from the game, all in all the game felt rushed and poorly slapped together. With more time on their hands this time around, EA hopes to get all the things they got wrong with ’06 on the Xbox 360 right with Madden NFL ’07.

Madden ’07 was one of the prettiest titles on display at E3 this year, with beautiful lighting on the field, a massive crowd that reacted to plays, and character models that no longer looked like The Hulk; the game easily sported some of the most impressive visuals ever seen. The core gameplay is very similar to Madden games of old and any fan of the franchise should feel right at home with 07′ aside from some different controls. The hits feel harder, and make quite an impact, which is something that has been sorely missing from the franchise ever since conception. All of the expected modes will be there this time around, franchise, exhibition etc.

The one big focus in this year’s Madden is the running game – with new moves to toy with, taking control of your favorite half-back has never felt so intuitive. It is also a big part of gameplay to take control of the lead blocker and bust open that big hole for the half-back to bust a 20-yard sprint right down the hashmarks. The truck stick is still avaliable for use by some of the bigger backs, but the focus is more on a larger set of new moves avaliable. These new controls however fell akward and don’t work out very well, especially when trying to learn them on the fly. Basic running controls are changed and nothing feels quite the same as past games.

Needless to say, this is Madden NFL, and for anyone that has been a dedicated fan for the past however many years will enjoy this game. For those looking for a little more enjoyment out of their football games, don’t expect to be overwhelmed. Pretty graphics and mediocre gameplay just won’t cut it EA, owning exclusive rights to the NFL license does not mean lowered standards is acceptable. Everything that felt clunky and undesireable with Madden NFL ’07 is fixable, and if fixed could be a very enjoyable football experience. Whether or not these issues are addressed however remains to be seen.


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Author: GamerNode Staff View all posts by

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