E3 06: Madden NFL 07 Hands-On

We get a first glimpse at a playable version of the Madden series debut on the PlayStation 3.

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LOS ANGELES--At last year's Electronic Entertainment Expo, EA Sports managed to show a version of the Xbox 360 version of Madden NFL 06, but it wasn't playable. This year, coinciding with the official unveiling of the PlayStation 3, EA has once again delivered on a version of its upcoming pro football game, Madden NFL 07. The difference this time is that the PlayStation 3 version of Madden 07 was actually playable in the EA Sports booth, which was a welcome change from last year.

That said, the game, which we had a chance to check out at the booth, was very early in development, roughly 30 percent complete, according to producers. Many of the features that are currently running in the Xbox 360 version of Madden 07 were not yet present in the E3 build of the game--including, most obviously, the new running features that are the central focus of the new game. The blocking controls--which let you take control of the lead blocker on running plays--weren't playable in the PS3 game, nor were the new player-specific juke moves, which are tied to the right analog stick.

While EA hasn't announced anything in the way of features for the PS3 version of the game, there were some similarities between the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions, namely in the form of similar play-calling organization. Like in the Xbox game, plays are organized in a number of different ways: by formation or by specific player (for those times when you want to make sure the ball goes to your biggest player). You can also access plays based on the coach's (or John Madden's) suggestion. Beyond that, the game was looking pretty good--while it probably wasn't comparable to the graphical detail and solid frame rate of the Xbox 360 game, it still showed off the same impressive player and stadium models as the 360 game. We expect that both of those aspects will improve over the next few months of development.

Because this was our first hands-on with the PlayStation 3 controller, one of our first questions to the producers was how Madden would take control of the controller's built-in motion sensing capabilities. Unfortunately, they weren't willing to bite on that one either--while we may see motion-sensing incorporated into the game at some point, nothing is confirmed at this time. So, as you can tell, there's plenty more to learn about Madden 07 for the PS3, and we'll be bringing you all the details in the coming months.

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