As good as Madden NFL 07 generally is, it's hard not to feel like it's time for the series on the PC to evolve beyond its current vision.
- Highlight stick and lead blocker controls are useful gameplay additions
- Superstar mode is actually reasonably compelling this year
- Rookie scouting in franchise is a nice touch.
- New kick meter found in the console versions is absent on PC
- No major, game-changing upgrades to the package
- Graphics and audio are practically untouched from last year
- Superstar mode still has a number of holdover issues.
In the last year or so, Madden has made the leap to next-generation consoles with two installments on the Xbox 360. These latest titles, while lacking certain key features that Madden fans have come to know and love over the years, have brought to the table vastly improved visuals and presentation. So it's with mixed feelings that we find ourselves with Madden NFL 07 on the PC. For all intents and purposes, this is practically the same game released last year on the PC, still using the old Madden engine found on current-generation consoles, and even missing a couple of key updates from the current-gen console versions of this year's game. Certainly, the updates it does include make it a richer game of football than Madden NFL 06, but it's hard not to look at the game on PC as something of an afterthought in the grand scheme of Madden's release calendar.
Madden NFL 07 brings back practically every feature that was in Madden 06. On top of that, a number of new gameplay upgrades have been brought to the table, the majority of which are available in all versions of the game. By themselves, none of these individual changes or upgrades is particularly game changing, but taken as a whole, they add a nice dimension of depth.
These features include the highlight stick and lead blocking controls. The highlight stick is a new version of the truck stick used for runners on offense. Here, via a dual-analog USB controller, you can use the right analog stick to pull off the sorts of crazy jukes and steps that star running backs are so well known for, and on top of that, depending on the type of back you're playing, you can opt to use more-powerful moves, or more finesse-based maneuvers. This feels like the natural evolution of last year's truck stick, though most experienced Madden players will be able to get by just as easily using the button-based moves rather than from liberal use of the stick. But if you take the time to learn the stick and figure out how to use it and the button controls together, you can be a very hard runner to stop.
The new lead blocking controls are likely to inspire some new tactics from all types of players. Here, while on offense, you can opt to switch your controlled player to any of the available blockers during a running play. This includes offensive linemen, tight ends, fullbacks, or whoever else might be blocking on a play. When blocking, you can just do standard blocks, or you can get dirty and do some mean-spirited cut blocks. This is an interesting mechanic, because it stops you from having to rely on CPU blockers, which as any experienced player will tell you, are not always the most reliable players on the field. You can also quickly switch back to control the running back once you've laid down your block, which is good, because the CPU running back doesn't always manage to find the holes you're creating. At first, you may find yourself unable to effectively use this feature, as setting up the right blocks isn't always the most intuitive thing in the world. But after some time, this control method gives the running game a really interesting new perspective, and those who love finding new strategies are bound to eat this up.
One feature found in all the home-console versions of Madden 07 that's absent here is the new kick meter. It's unfortunate; this new meter was probably one of the most accurate representations of real kicking put into a football game to date. One would have to assume that this was axed from the PC version as it effectively requires a dual-analog controller to line up both the power and accuracy. Obviously, not everyone who plays Madden 07 on the PC is going to use a controller. Still, some kind of toggle or option for those who have invested in a peripheral controller would have been nice, since the new meter is markedly better than the old one.
Beyond that, the changes from 06 to 07 are mostly ancillary, and fundamentally, the game plays very much as its predecessor did. On defense, there are a few more available options in terms of positioning your defensive players, and you can commit your defense in a certain direction the moment the ball is snapped. On offense, the quarterback vision cone, which made its debut last year, is still available, though it's not a required feature. You can just tap the right analog stick after snapping the ball, and it will pop on, letting you use it for a little accuracy boost. No, it's not any more fun to use than it was last year, but that's not altogether surprising. Otherwise, pretty much every control feature you've come to expect from Madden is front and center once again.
Madden 07's feature lineup is almost identical to that of last year's game, with superstar, franchise, and online modes headlining. Online play hasn't seen any sort of change to speak of, with head-to-head play and the usual roster of EA Sports PC online features present, like clubs, tournaments, leaderboards, and basic leagues. Online performance seemed a bit spotty in most of the matchups we played. Lag got in the way on a frequent basis and forced us into some bad plays we probably wouldn't have had to suffer through had the game been running smoother. Still, things tended to even out as games went on--but be aware that you may run into some unpleasantness here and there.
- Player Reviews: 38
- Game Universe:
- Madden NFL 2004 (PS, GC, GBA, PS2, XBOX, PC),
- Madden NFL 2000 (PC, GBC, N64, PS, MAC),
- Madden NFL 2001 (PS2, PS, GBC, N64, PC),
- Madden NFL 97 (PC, PS, GEN, SAT, GB, SNES),
- Madden NFL 98 (PC, PS, GEN, SNES, SAT),
- Madden NFL 99 (PC, N64, PS),
- Madden NFL '94 (GEN, SNES),
- Madden NFL 95 (GEN, GB, GG, SNES),
- Madden NFL 96 (GEN, GB, GG, SNES, PC, PS),
- Madden NFL 2002 (PS2, GC, PC, PS, N64, XBOX, GBC, GBA)
- Offline Modes:
- Online Modes:
- Number of Players:
- Number of Online Players:
2 Players Online