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Madden 07 (Wii) Preview

22...71...HIKE! Ah Madden, is it that time of the year again? That time where you drop by our shores and baffle the Great British public with your field goals, special teams and quarterbacks. For those who dislike the sport you're ignored, for those who like it you are snapped up hungrily and generally held in higher esteem than your EA brethren. This time though EA have an ace up their sleeve for all the non believers on our shores, a small control pad that has motion sensors in it... and isn't a rip off. Yes it's the Wii mote and EA are hoping this control will revolutionise the genre that (whilst enjoying supreme success Stateside) is undoubtedly hitting something of a creative impasse. Is the Wiimote changing things for the better, let's have a closer look at EA's first Wii game prior to it's winter launch.

With C3 being a UK site the vast majority of readers may not truly understand how massive the Madden series is. It's a major niche title over here, findings copies can be tricky and they generally stop manufacturing them pretty sharpish. However in the land of apple pie, Thanksgiving and cheerleaders the Madden series is revered as the definitive American Football experience. You could compare it to Fifa in terms of popularity, except Madden is of greater gaming pedigree and actually offers an experience close to the real thing (opposed to Fifa's arcade style). The Wii getting a specialised version of Madden 2007 is therefore a spectacular coup for Nintendo and could help the console settle in across the pond.

So why is it specialised? Well no prizes for guessing that the game is tailored around the Wii mote, in a game mechanic EA are calling "Free Motion Controls". This works by splitting gameplay into 4 areas: running, passing, kicking and defending and the Wii mote controls all at times. Running is done through both the remote and the nunchuck with A, B, Z and C with controlling spins and sprint with the motion sensing of the two pads controlling jukes and stiff arms.

Screenshot for Madden 07 on Wii

Hooking the Wii mote upwards does kicking, and it is an amazingly accurate system. You can use a cursor to aim, however EA reps at E3 were simply applying slice and direction with the Wii mote showing excellent accuracy in doing so. You hike by snapping the control towards you and tackles are done by thrusting the nunchuck/Wii mote combo towards the screen emphatically.

Of course, American Football is all about epic passes across the field that leave your opponent quaking in their boots. And of course the Wii mote is used extensively and to fantastic effect in this area of the game. The dream of being able to spike the ball with the Wii mote is realised and it's as simple as it should be. You tap up, down, left, right or a to select a receiver then make a throwing motion with the control. It is that simple and early indications state that it works superbly well. Easy enough to be inviting to newcomers, but deep enough that you can start to perform pretty incredible passes with practise.

Screenshot for Madden 07 on Wii

Graphics wise the game is certainly one of the better-looking Wii titles we've seen so far. Granted, it is a bit behind the Xbox 360 and PS3 but it still shows a level of detail that is ahead of the GC and the action shows little in the way of slowdown. Even at this early stage the cutscenes in game are suitably cinematic and it should continue the tradition of Madden games being as engrossing as the likes of Pro Evo. Atmosphere is a huge part of American Football and it's a great relief that the supposed weak Wii can recreate this atmosphere. This great atmosphere will certainly be needed in the various game modes supplied. EA are never stingy when it comes to game modes and Madden is no different. There is a Hall of Fame mode where you take complete control of the one position on the field and try to be the best player you can on and off the field in an effort to become the next entry in the hall of fame. Franchise mode is back and expanded with college players and teams playing a larger role. Scout the college teams for the next big star and then watch them impact on the league with the new player role feature. The game modes aren't the only thing to be tweaked; tactics have also received one or two upgrades. Player specific running styles are now in the game as are team specific defensive books for those who love their tactics. So you will be able to use actual plays from the NFL teams that only that team is able to use. Whoever said Wii games would be shallow...

Screenshot for Madden 07 on Wii

In order for the Wii to succeed it needs to get big brands on board and combine classic style gameplay with some sort of innovation. So far the likes of Metroid, Mario and Sonic have all made the jump in this manner and are looking excellent as a result. Madden is a slightly different case in that you simply cannot innovate too much without moving away from the simulation nature of the genre, however the folks at EA have done a smashing job of balancing innovation and simulation. The controls add a new open-ended nature to skills in the game, with it moving closer to the real thing than ever before. This combined with the usual plethora of game modes and multiplayer mayhem could make this the definitive version of Madden. So rugby, footy, Aussie rules and cricket fans prepare to swallow that pride and put this on your to watch list...the American's sport of choice may just be worth a peek.

Screenshot for Madden 07 on Wii

Worth waiting for?

EA have been vociferous supporters of the Wii since day one much to the gagrin of those who dislike their yearly update strategy to making games. However the Wii is offering a true chance of innovation in the sport genre and EA are certainly grabbing it with the Madden series. Good looking, playing well and long term game modes all should add up to a cracking game. It may baffle we Brits, but maybe the Wii Launch Day will be the best time to get acquainted with that sport the Americans love so much.

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11.07.2006

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Developer

EA Canada

Publisher

EA

Genre

Sport

Players

4

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  n/a

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10 (44 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

Reader comments - add yours today Comments on this Preview

I've never played any of the Madden games on any console but with the buzz surrounding the Wii version and what seems to be EA's dedication for all things Wii. I'm going to pick this up.

I may pick this up aswell, whilst US football baffles me this game may actually be good.

however the folks at EA have done a smashing job

Holy shit:O

I really like American football titles (I tend to get lumped with reviewing most of them, so I've played a few) and this latest one looks simply brilliant. The Wii controller will really enhance the gaming experience. Nice preview John :Smilie

Trying to think of a witty signature after 'Hacker-gate'...

Smashing review John. An easy yet in deph read

I dont like Madden games myself, but i'm sure they'll raise nintendo's profits, and can that be a bad thing.

EA has always had a specific Madden market in the UK. I'm not part of that by the way... :sarcy:


twitter: @bensoutham

Maybe I'll talk my brother into buying this (I'm sure that won't be hard to do...Smilie.

TAG: That American Guy

"If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone." Romans 12:18
Senior ModeratorStaff Member

Madden's been growing in popularity over here in recent years, with the last game actually managing to crack the top ten. So maybe this will help it win over the mainstream market as well.

Fingers crossed we'll have an interview with the development team in the near future...

Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

You know, I played Madden 2006 yesterday and no matter what I do I cannot understand the bloddy rules.

You know, I played Madden 2006 yesterday and no matter what I do I cannot understand the bloddy rules

Aw bless. Try learning the rules for ROCK PAPER SCISSORS then!! Crazy!!!


*ok, you know I am joking right? Madden can be well confusing* :Smilie


twitter: @bensoutham

Heh...
I live in Washington D.C, and I can tell you that the Madden Phenomenom here in the states has exclusively been EA's cash cow for the better part of 10 years. Until now.
Not that it wont continue on in prize cash cow form, however, now, it seems as though there is some actual depth to this particular franchise. And what a better way to justify and examine all the new features of this years version, than with a brand new Nintendo Wii, and a completely revolutionary control interface~!!?

I'll be reserving my copy.

-- ** A S H ** --

American football is teh suck! I should know, I'm American.

Who are we? We are the Knights who say..... "Wii"!

football games seem to be the best selling sports games. if you were to go to a GameStop and look at the used PSX games, you'll find a truckload of baseball, hockey, basketball, and even football games. but i think with the Wii, madden will be staying at home a lot longer before it gets resold to a game store. the only sports game i got for my N64 was Madden '99. that game was pretty fun, considering im not into sports myself. But i think more people will get into this new one because of the revolutionary controller. its a little closer to actually playing the sport. this "boost in sales theory" (as i have chosen to call it) should apply to the new NBA and MBL games that are sure to come out in the future. in fact, i might have one of my own eyes on a future baseball game with the Wii.

I want to get this to, but I have to say that the controls will be very different

Bam-Bam

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