Passing The Virtual Pigskin

Alison Young
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September 01, 2006
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Madden NFL 07
Madden NFL 07

With the next football season upon us (finally), I know you football fans are itching for it to start already. As for me, I’ve purchased my University of Hawaii football season tickets awhile ago, and last weekend I watched the Dallas Cowboys’ pre-season game against the San Francisco 49ers. I’ve also been playing the new Madden NFL 07, which came out last week. If you’re into football, or would like to learn about football, you ought to play it too.

Madden NFL 07, from Electronic Arts (EA Sports), is available on multiple game platforms, but I was able to play the Xbox 360 and the PSP (PlayStation Portable) versions after wrestling them away from my husband. This is the 17th installment of the Madden series, and in general it’s a big improvement over last year’s Madden NFL 06. The game was graphically impressive on both platforms, especially with the added features.

The Lead Blocker Control allows you to throw the perfect block and create a running lane with all-new lead blocking control, and then take command of the tailback and rip off a big gain. Play your way to the Pro Football Hall of Fame with the NFL Superstar: Hall of Fame mode. You can take complete control of any position on the field, and your actions on and off the field determine your impact on the game. The Run Like the Players with the All-New Highlight Stick feature lets you bust out player specific running styles that match real NFL players.

The Additions to Franchise Mode feature allows you to scout collegiate prospects with the all-new NFL Draft Scouting System and the College All-Star Game. In addition, you can watch players around the NFL impact their teams with the Franchise Player Roles option. You can use Team-Specific Defensive Playbooks to use actual plays from your favorite team’s defensive playbook to shut down the running game, pressure the quarterback or force key turnovers. The Online Play climbs you to the top of the leader-board (if you’re good) as you take on your biggest rivals from coast-to-coast in Play Now or Session Match games. The Xbox 360 version uses Xbox Live and the PSP uses EA’s own EA Nation to connect you to the online Madden community.

This is the first time in Madden you can step up as the lead blocker to create a hole, take control of the tailback and smash through, overpower or slash away from would-be tacklers as you’re fighting for every yard. The rushing controls give you a game-breaking ground attack featuring all new jukes, cutback and the distinct running styles of your favorite backs.

There are mini games available to play if you just want to practice or experience a quick taste of the game, because it takes about 30-45 minutes to play through a full-length game from start to finish. The mini games include a Forty Yard Dash, Bench Press, Quarterback Challenge, Runningback Challenge, Coverage Challenge and Lineman Challenge.

Overall, I was especially impressed with PSP version over the previous Madden NFL 06. Last year it seemed it was rushed onto the store shelves. Madden NFL 07 for the PSP proved well this year with virtually no wait on the load times, and the added online play through EA Nation was an excellent addition. This year’s Xbox 360 version added the mini games, has improved graphics and the Hall of Fame Mode is a cool touch.

Since its initial release in 1989, the Madden NFL football franchise has dominated the virtual gridiron. Each year its popularity grows. So far in North America alone, more than 51 million units have been sold. Even the NFL players play it and respect it.

Madden NFL 07 is rated E for Everyone and is available for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 2, Xbox, Nintendo GameCube, PC, PSP, Nintendo DS and Game Boy Advance. Prices vary depending on the platform, but range from $29.99 to $59.99. Additionally, if everything stays on schedule with Sony and Nintendo, this will be available for the next generation PlayStation 3 (PS3) and the Wii.

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