Madden NFL 07 (Video Game)

Artist: Video Game ReviewTitle: Madden NFL 07 (Video Game)Rating: 3 1/2 StarsReviewed by: Martin A. Berrios

With the opening of a new NFL season, pigskin fans and gamers alike got to rejoice a little early. EA Sports sticks to their usual script with their yearly release of Madden NFL 07 (EA Sports/PS2) right before the official kick off. Originally popping off only as a PC game in the early nineties, Madden NFL has grown by leaps and bounds. Currently the most popular video game franchise, Madden NFL 07 keeps the chains moving with updated game play and a deeper superstar and franchise modes.

In this year's installment, there is a big shift towards the running game. Added to the mix is the new lead blocker control. Players can now take control of one of their teammates (minus the eligible receivers) after the hike and manually creates holes for the back. This feature is greatly welcomed as the computer controlled tight ends and full backs were known to blow easy blocks regardless of difficulty settings. Another big upgrade is the highlight stick. This updated version of the truck stick gives the user access to all to the shake and bake moves on the right analog. On top of that, running backs will juke according to their unique aggressive or finesse style.

On the other side of the ball, the kicking finally gets a realistic twist. Gone are the days of just perfecting your stop and start timing with a meter. Now the accuracy is based on the precise motion of the right analog stick. A fluid down to up movement will get you through the uprights easily. Anything short of that will cost you the extra points.

With all the new features added it seems that the EA staff overlooked a couple glitches. The most flagrant is the constant slowdown. Sometimes when a down is finished the play will freeze for a split second. Missing this year is the traditional player of the game award and for some reason all plays can't be reviewed.

Stepping away from the button mashing, the overall cosmetics of the game unfortunately pretty much remain the same as last year's edition. While the graphics still look good, by this point in the franchise they should be great. The Madden and Micheals commentary from last year also went untouched making the play by play very predictable. Additionally, true Hip-Hop heads will also be turned off with the heavy Rock leaning soundtrack.

At the end of the day the game is a solid buy. Minus a few missteps Madden 07 is still the closest thing to putting on the pads and hitting the field.