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Madden NFL 07 Box Art
EA Canada
Electronic Arts

Madden NFL 07

The sales figures don't seem to indicate this, but a sharper critic might put forward the idea that the Madden football franchise has become stagnant over the past couple of years. Whether the answer lies in a lack of competition, or the simpler possibility that the formula just doesn't need improved upon, the truth is that the differences between the yearly updates tend to be minor. Although it's come a little late to the party, the Wii version of Madden NFL 07 was developed by a studio entirely independent of the straight ports. With the promise of motion-sensitive controls, could this be an invigorating, fresh breeze for the long-running series?


Graphically, the Wii version of Madden NFL 07 has a slight advantage over the GameCube edition, but it certainly isn't by leaps and bounds. Player movements are animated smoothly, and the action is easy to follow. One major difference visually are the onscreen prompts when a motion-activated action takes place. This can be distracting at first, but after a few games, is less jarring. Fortunately, it can also be shut off if desired.


The most important thing about this Madden, unlike some other next-gen iterations of the franchise, is that it includes actual play-by-play commentary by John Madden and Al Michaels. The official Madden NFL 07 soundtrack is in full force as well, with licensed tracks pumping through every part of the interface that isn't a match-up.


If you've ever played a Madden game before, you already know how the basic game mechanics work. The major differences come with the new FreeMotion passing system and other motion-sensitive aspects of the game.

One of Madden 07's marketing points is that it's supposedly easier to play than any other version currently on the market. A basic look at the controls might initially make that seem unlikely, but it's true. While any of five receivers can be selected on pass plays, the selection process isn't necessary. Instead of choosing a receiver, one can simply make a throwing motion without picking a direction on the Control Pad to target the play's primary receiver. The Wii remote sensors detect the force of the throw, and anything from a floating lob to a straight-on bullet pass can result.

The kicking game has been simplified drastically. Pressing the A button and jerking the remote upwards determines the force of the kick, and a twist of the remote might result in a slice or hook if it's drastic enough. Most other Madden moves are translated realistically into the Wii interface. Juking and stiff-arms are assigned to the nunchuk and remote respectively, and when on defense, actually raising both arms to intercept a pass is exhilarating.

If you just can't figure out the new controls, Madden NFL 07 also provides training mini-games to help Wii owners adjust. The Kicking Combine, Y.A.C. Attack and 2-on-2 modes exist to familiarize players with the FreeMotion kicking, ball carrying and passing. These can be entertaining, but are more fun with several players as opposed to one. A Training Camp set of mini-games does the job in Franchise mode and raises player stats after completion.

Like most games in the series, O7 is a fully featured Madden. Anything found in the other console versions is found here, including the ever-classic Franchise mode, where players create an NFL dynasty, and the Superstar mode, where one custom-created player is guided from the draft through his entire NFL career. Madden mainstays like the Truck Stick and lead-blocking controls make an appearance, albeit with modified Wii controls.


Two players can battle on the gridiron in the standard two-player Madden exhibition, and up to four can compete in the Wii-specific mini-games. One remote and one nunchuk is required for each player.


With a similar look and feel, the bottom line on Wii's Madden NFL 07 really comes down to one thing: Do the controls work? Do they work well? Yes. Absolutely,, positively, most definitely yes. Far from being more complicated than the Madden standard, if anything, the controls are a bit easier to pick up; for example, this reviewer has not been able to figure out how to perform a fair catch in the last five years of Maddens, but on Wii, it's as easy as waving the remote above one's head. EA Canada did an incredible job thinking out how to translate football plays and actions into Wii controls.

Yet despite being more intuitive, Madden 07 is also fun. Throwing the ball and seeing the motion echoed onscreen can give a huge sense of empowerment. Furthermore, the controls make Madden a whole new experience, meaning a repeat purchase might be worth considering for those who've already picked up the GCN installment. It's not much of a stretch to say that Wii might have the best version of Madden 07 out there.

final score 8.8/10

Staff Avatar Aaron Roberts
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