Madden NFL 07
Review by Vandyan
"Objective Madden NFL 07 review"
Lets start with what I feel is most important, and that is gameplay:
Some glaring flaws are a lack of gang tackling, and poor collision detection. Sometimes you will tackle or get tackled and then watch the replay to see that you never actually contacted the other player. Also its a LOT different from the current gen madden and takes some getting used to controlling the players, although thats not necessarily a negative, its just hard to get used to and can be frustrating at first. Another glaring omission for the on field gameplay is the lack of defensive playmaker assignments. If you loved changing up your D at the line, double covering receivers, blitzing your LBs and dropping your DL into short zones, and all that good stuff you are going to be disappointed, because that's all gone. Also some of the persistent problems return in such as receivers not doing well enough to stay in bounds on sideline routes, and running backs running wheel routes right out of bounds and making no effort to stay in. Very annoying.
Now for the good parts of the gameplay. The running game has seen a huge improvement. The run to daylight feature is fantastic, I love controlling my FB or pulling OL and blasting that MLB or OLB that my blockers would whiff on in years passed and then take over my HB and run him through the gaping hole I created. Its both very fun and incredibly useful if you take the time you practice doing it effectively. I also find the varied running back styles to be well done and long overdue, no more lowering your shoulder with Warrick Dunn, he will actually do more to avoid contact, while a Jamal Lewis type runner will initiate contact and punish the defense. Very well done. The highlight stick (formerly truck stick) also has been improved, with nearly 40 new animations, and the stick is tied in to the running back style of whoever you have the ball with. One of the best things about the highlight stick this year is that on runs up the middle you can slightly tweak it and your RB will do a nifty little move to sneak through the closest gap, rectifying the yearly issue of getting stuck to your blockers. I really like this improvement a lot.
Overall gameplay score: 8
Well, wow. It looks great. The grass, the sweat, its really amazingly beautiful. Tons of new animations for the offense and defense. High marks here for the most part. Couple small things bug me. The eyes are just plain creepy, the grass fields get a little too torn up for my taste, looks like a tank battle took place by the end of a grass field game, and yet conversely the players dont get nearly dirty enough. Also the players who they actually scanned look so real, that it makes the players they didn't scan look weird since the difference is very noticeable and profound. One final negative here is that there is a slight stutter between the post and pre snap cut-scenes, although its very minor and I have yet to experience any slowdown in actual gameplay between the whistles.
Overall graphics score: 9
Well unfortunately I don't have much good to say here. In typical EA fashion, the presentation is terrible. Other than the starting lineup introduction there is nothing. No pre-game, no half time, no post game. There are no field goal nets, no referees on the field, and no cheerleaders, and the entire fan base in the crowd consists of people that look exactly the same, and jump up and down the entire game, in unison. Funny to watch, but considering the 360's potential just looks like laziness to me. Even when you win the Super Bowl you get next to nothing in terms of celebration. The commentators are not Madden and Michaels, but rather some two-bit radio commentators that couldn't get a job at WBLO radio in Sucktown. I found I actually enjoyed it quite a bit more once I turned them off and turned the on field, PA announcer and crowd volume up. The players talk a lot of smack on the field, which is pretty cool. Still I never thought Id say this, but I want Madden and Michaels back. (a small part of me died just now saying this)
Overall Presentation score: 5
Sound, Menus, Extraneous:
Well the EA sound track, is as usual, craptastic overall. Fortunately they still include the NFL Films music, which is great no matter how many times I hear it, and is all I left on. Like I mentioned previously the play by play is atrocious. The menus are also a joke, how the menus can be slower and more laggy than the gameplay is beyond me. Also they have been changed around, its hard to find some things if you are used to previous Madden layouts, and overall I would say its very un-user friendly.
Extraneous score: 6
To sum up I think the game is above average, but not by much. Its a large improvement from the 06 version for the 360, but thats not saying much in my opinion. The Superstar feature is ok, but the weird and unchangeable camera angles make it frustrating at times, and the omission of key Madden features like create-a-team, Owner mode, player editing, and Fantasy Draft are inexcusable, especially considering those features made a return to the current gen versions of Madden 07. Hopefully we will see further improvement and more features in 08, but as the only NFL licensed football game available, 07 will have to do for now.
Overall score: Not allowed to use fractions so I gave it a 7 because I don't feel its worthy of an 8, but Id give it a 7.5 if I was allowed by GameFaq's to do so.
Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 08/25/06
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