Review by Underhill04
"Back to the Super Bowl After Some Down Years"
I have always been a fan of the Madden football games. Since I played Madden '94 for the SNES, they have been on my game list every year. But the Madden games before '07 have been sub par. Glitches, bugs, and other issues that made the game a bad experience to play. However, I can gladly say that this year's Madden is one of their best games. Are there some bugs? Sure. As many as last year? No. As annoying as last year? No.
Gameplay: 9/10. The offline modes are the same as always, with a few modifications. There is the always fun Franchise mode where you take control as GM of any team and try and contend for the Super Bowl by drafting, scouting, practicing and playing all of your games, while also managing ticket prices, concessions, advertisements and your stadium. As always, you can import your NCAA Football '07 draft class into Madden if you want to increase realism for future seasons.
Building on a relatively disappointing "Superstar" Mode in Madden '06, is the "Super Star: Hall of Fame" mode. The '07 mode is still not perfect, which is why this score is a 9. A good example of this is when you are the quarterback (for example). You only control the QB on offense, but the disappointment is that on defense, you have complete control of it. Essentially, it's gone from "Give the Ball to Your Player All Game" to "Super Star Plus the Other Side of the Ball". The good thing is that when you are on the field, the AI picks the play and not you. Much more realistic feel to the game.
Graphics: 9/10. They are about as good as last year. Very good, especially for a Current Gen consol, but pales in comparison to the X-Box 360 and PS3 screenshots and videos. Gang tackles are still not in, which has been demanded by folks for years now. Weather is so-so. Sometimes if it's raining, it will look brighter than it should be, but still see the raindrops. And after halftime, like last year it goes from looking like 1 PM to sunset. Snow looks good, but doesn't pile up (which is odd because the SNES versions did that). But, player animations save this rating. Running backs no longer go straight through a pile without shifting around. Now they "get skinny" as the move is called to move around. The Highlight stick graphics look very real, from the jukes to the sidesteps to the RB ducks.
Sound: 10/10. Music is very good. Like every Madden since '04, the soundtrack is Independent Rock/Hip Hop and Rap. I'm not into that stuff at all, but you can switch it to the Remixed versions of the NFL Films music or the original versions of the songs from "Autumn Thunder". In game, player voices and crowd noises are pretty good. Commentary from Al Micheals and John Madden are so-so. A lot of the same ones from last year, which were the same ones from '05. Turn it off, lower the volume and pop in a CD/iPod or play Super Star mode where the commentary is off if you really hate it.
Comparisions to Previous Versions: Many people were disappointed with last year's game. I was one of those who hated not returning punts, kickoffs that always went to the 30 yard line at best and offensive line "mistakes". These three things have been fixed in the '07 version. You may not return all the punts, but you can return them and not have a coverage man on your face instantly. Kickoffs have been improved by far. You will get some that you can take all the way, the ones that you return into field goal range, so Special Teams has come a long way. The last thing that annoyed me in last year's game (online in particular) is that on punt and field goal attempts, you could use a "glitch" to get past the O-line and block a kick or punt. By alternating controls between two guys on the edge of the line, a player could tell when someone was starting the kick meter up. The Kick Stick (like the Tiger Woods golf games) has fixed this. On other plays, you can line your lineman out to the side and cheat your way to the quarterback, but what's the fun (or skill) in that.
Replay: 10/10 It's a sports game, so anything can be different. Offline you can be a powerhouse team like Indianapolis or rebuild a team like the Jets. However, if you have the network adaptor and can play online, you will be playing this for a good long time. As I said before, glitches on line have been removed for the most part. It's a better experience and less frustrating. There are many things to do online, trophies to collect, rushing attack, tournaments and quick play. I tried to collect the "Jack of all Teams" trophy (play with all 32 NFL teams) which is fun to do, but frustrating. Texans vs. Seahawks? Vikings vs. Colts? It's a great trophy to have, but not for anyone who has a severe case of depression. Other trophies are for winning tournaments, win streaks and rushing/passing yards in a game, as well as others. However, I was looking forward to downloading new rosters when I got the game, but EA will release the first ones on either September the 5th or 6th. It's right before the NFL Kickoff Weekend, so look forward to it.
Final words: With the new additions in the running game, the Highlight stick, online and offline play, this is one of the best Madden games of all time. Don't listen to the guys that say "The bleeping comeback AI" because if you play the game right, and not reckless, the game is enjoyable. Deep passes are not always batted down by flying DB's and overall the game is great. Hopefully the PS3 version is just as good.
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 09/05/06
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