Madden NFL 07 Review
Madden is without doubt one of the most successful and popular sports titles to date with millions of copies being sold worldwide and with yearly updates. Now that the PS3 era has begun EA did not want to miss out and have released Madden ’07 on the PS3. The major question on every sports fan’s mind being, is it worth buying ’07 considering it’s not long until ’08 will hit stores worldwide? What you must realise when purchasing the game is that it is essentially a port of the 360 version, but they have included some additional features to tempt you into buying the new game. What’s more, by the end of this review we will hopefully have helped a few gamers decide on whether to fork out the dough for this almost new PS3 title, or to wait a few more months for Madden 2008.
First I’ll start on the new features to Madden ’07 on the PS3 and of course I’ll start with the SIXAXIS controller. Now, I must admit I didn’t actually realise that the game even used SIXAXIS. I played through the game for a few days thinking it was a port and nothing more, but then I noticed in one of the loading screens that the game did in fact use the SIXAXIS motion sensors in some way, the next problem of course being what in the world it did. On closer inspection I found that the SIXAXIS controller is basically a stronger hit-stick, you still have the hit stick for those big hits or hard-hitting trucks, but the SIXAXIS is simply an alternative of the hit-stick. If you’ve played the MLB 2K7 demo then the new controller reacts in the same way and all you have to do is simply thrust towards your TV to pull off the bone crunching tackles and also to accomplish those vital blocks when using Lead Blocker mode.
The motion sensing can also be used both to jump the snap and perform fake snaps, although in my opinion pressing R1 or Y is far easier and feels more responsive. If I’m honest though you will find yourself using the buttons anyway as it just feels a lot simpler than thrusting forward every time you see a player or every time you’re about to get hit. It’s a nice feature, but obviously in EA’s mad rush to get this game out they didn’t really think through what they could use it for.
The next new feature, which is actually quite cool, is multiple player tackles. In all other Madden titles you could only tackle with a single player which, in fact, was seriously flawed due to the fact that if the running back (RB), quarterback (QB) or wide receiver (WR) broke that one tackle most of the time he was off to the end-zone. Now you can have multiple players diving in on the opposition, and such a simple thing makes the game so much better to play.
For example, if the opposing offence (using the Colts as an example) uses an outside hand-off, with Addai going off to the left. In comes your defensive end (DE) to take him down, Addai manages to stiff-arm him but before he’s finished pushing away the DE, your Linebacker comes flying in at his face, pulls him to the ground and you get the defensive back diving in at his legs and ripping them away from his body just for good measure. In addition, if you’re sandwiched by two players one from the front, one from the back, or one from either side then the force of the hit is doubled and as such fumbles are more likely to happen. It doesn’t sound like much on paper, but once you actually see it happen on the field you will realise just how good the multiple player tackle feature really is.
One of the final features added to the game is the animation, which has had a minor upgrade since it was released on the 360. Most notably the running style of each and every player has been tweaked to look that more realistic. So instead of Westbrook who ran like he had a donkey between his legs on the 360, he now runs like he should, quick paced, straight legs and very smooth. That’s not just reserved for the RBs either, I noticed that WRs and even quarterbacks have been tweaked and run a little bit better, but overall it’s mainly the running backs that have received the improved animation. What’s more, I see that EA have included a few new, bone-smashing hits for us to drool over, including one that looks reminiscent of ‘The Rock’s’ choke slam.
Graphically speaking there isn’t a great deal of difference between this and the 360, but if you look closely you will see that it has had a little bit of work done to it in certain parts. Notably the players themselves, the skin and eyes especially aren’t as shiny as in the 360, and come off looking better. Helmets, clothing from jerseys to socks and even the visors have been slightly improved. Although it’s not noticeable when actually playing, you’ll see in the cut-scenes some of the graphical face-lifts EA have introduced. It’s not all good news however, the players overall complexion and gear look better, but the cut-scenes suffer, with some slight animation spikes causing it to look very jerky at times. Sadly the crowd still looks like a pixilated mess, but the stadiums and the turf on closer inspection do come across looking that much better, but again not a huge graphical improvement, but an improvement all the same.
The audio seems to be directly ported from the 360 version, so you get the same old boring announcers; as a positive you also still get the awesome tackling audio amongst other things. As well as the audio form the 360 you also get the Superstar Mode where you take control of your very own franchise player. You choose a position then go through the rigmarole of the combine and draft day, before playing out your career in one of the 32 franchises in front of you. There’s also Franchise mode again where you can choose your favourite team and take them to the Superbowl and become the world champions.
The game does still suffer from a few A.I. glitches, the most blatant of which being the QB rollout. This is when you drop your QB back fifteen yards and then you go to the sideline, and nine out of ten times you’ll complete your passes due to the A.I. defence’s inability to cover a rollout pass. Also there is still a rather large skill gap between All-Pro and All-Madden, it would have been nice to see another final difficulty rating between the two just to even it out, but alas there is no such setting.
One thing I do like about this new game is the fact that the running game is nowhere near as strong compared to the 360, this is mostly due to the multiple tackles as you can now stop RBs with ease and it’s a lot more realistic and just makes the game that much better to play.
Overall, the game is a port of the 360 with a face-lift and some new features thrown in for good measure. The graphics have been tweaked and the animation has had a major boost to make it look that little bit nicer, and for the most part it does look better. The multiple tackles, although not exactly revolutionary is great to have and as such makes the running game that much easier to stop. The SIXAXIS again is an interesting idea, but not yet used to its full potential, although I do expect great things from the motion sensors in Madden 2008. If you have the 360 version I would stick to that, but if you’ve just bought the PS3 and you don’t have the 360, then this is a must for any American football fan.
Originally Written By: Lee Matthews