Madden NFL 07 for the Wii isn't just a quick-and-dirty port. It's an excellent use of the Wii's motion-sensing capabilities that revitalizes Madden in many ways.
- Tons of motion-controlled moves that are responsive and intuitive
- The new minigames are a blast with four players
- All the features found in the GameCube version are present here
- Awesome tutorial system that teaches you everything you need to know.
- Graphics engine is getting a bit long in the tooth
- Time to get some new commentators
- Superstar mode still has a number of annoying issues.
One of the big complaints about sports games year after year is that they just don't change. Especially in the last few years, EA's Madden NFL franchise has weathered the brunt of many of these complaints, largely in light of the mild upgrades made to older console versions and the "tear it all down, build it back up" approach the company took with its Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions. To some extent, though, it all boils down to one question: How do you update football? The answer may very well be found in Madden NFL 07 for the Wii. At first glance, this looks like a pretty basic port of the older console iteration of Madden 07 released earlier in the year. But once you get your hands on it, you'll find a highly revamped experience that makes great use of the Wii's unique capabilities. And it's not just a few things here and there, either. Tons of the various moves and actions of football are mapped to the motion-sensing controls, with largely positive results. There are a few things that maybe don't work quite as well as they could, but by and large, Madden on the Wii is a successful reenvisioning of how football is played on consoles.
From the moment you boot up a game in Madden 07, you'll find a heaping helping of tutorials showing you the basics of the game's controls through some of the familiar minicamp games. In fact, all throughout Madden you'll find little tutorials about individual actions. Once you jump into a full-on game for the first time, before each and every play, a new tutorial icon pops up in the upper right corner, and by pressing a button, it'll bring you to a screen where it demonstrates a new action and lets you try it out. It's a phenomenal system, especially since anyone who has ever played a standard football game will need some adjustment to this new control scheme.
In most cases, the movements you make to perform an action in the game are completely intuitive. To snap the ball, you flip the Wii Remote upward with a quick snap. To pass, you simply press the button of the desired receiver, and flip the remote forward in a passing motion. When you're carrying the ball, the Nunchuk acts as your body, while the remote acts as your arms. What this means is that by tilting the Nunchuk from side to side, you'll juke in the appropriate direction, and by tilting the remote from side to side, you'll perform a right or left stiff arm. Basic tackles are handled by simply running into other players, but you can level them with big hits by holding down the Z button and pushing both the remote and the Nunchuk forward. Kicks are handled by simply swinging the remote upward after pressing the A button to start a kick.
These are just the basics, mind you. There are tons of motion-control moves to be found here, including moves for lead blocking, catching, swiping at the ball, and pulling off various presnap offensive and defensive moves. It's a complex system, but many of the moves are so easy to use that it becomes second nature after a couple of games. For instance, even though it might seem counterintuitive to use the D pad for receiver assignments, it's just as easy as it ever was with the normal button assignments in other versions of Madden. The running moves are fantastic and feel completely natural. The timing's a bit tricky in the early goings, but once you get a feel for it, it works like a dream. Even better, the game actually brings up icons to signify when you're doing something right or wrong with the running controls. If you're too late for a stiff arm, it tells you. It also occasionally pulls off a "smart" move for you when it thinks it feels a tilt but you haven't necessarily moved the controller over far enough to pull it off right.
That's not to suggest every move is perfect. Defensive moves don't always feel like they're registering properly, especially the big hit move, and trying to figure out the timing for a manual catch for an interception while playing on defense is an exercise in futility. The game also doesn't quite overcome the hurdles of mapping pre-snap controls to this controller. To do just about any of these, you have to point to a specific player on the field, and then a rather crazy map full of control options pops up. It's easier on offense, since you can dictate when the ball is snapped and take your time a bit more to sift through the options, but trying to pull off functions like the defensive playmaker controls and line shifts can be a bit of a rush job with this interface, partially because of the long list of functions, and partially because the remote pointer doesn't always go where you want it to go. There's also a bit of weirdness with kicking from time to time. Getting the timing down for kick power doesn't take long to figure out, but the controller also tracks the angle slice, so if you have the controller turned too far one way or the other, you'll send it in weird directions. However, even when you think you have it lined up perfectly, you'll sometimes get a phantom slice that shouldn't be there.
These issues aside, Madden NFL 07 plays wonderfully. Despite the initial learning curve, it's an accessible game of football overall, and it doesn't sacrifice any of the depth of the other console versions. The full playbooks are there and are sorted in the usual way, but there's also an update to the "by play type" playbook system included for newer players who don't know what an I-formation or a zone blitz is. This new system specifically categorizes plays by easy-to-use terminology, like "long pass," "inside run," or "deep pass D." These playbooks are also smaller, making them a bit less daunting for newcomers. Ultimately, both casual and longtime players will be able to find something to suit their needs, and with all the tutorials on hand and the largely responsive controls, just about anybody who likes football ought to be able to have a great time with it.
- Player Reviews: 91
- 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:
Competitive, Team Oriented
- Number of Players: