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Not quite a TD, but more in the box than last season...
Published on August 24, 2006 By terpfan1980 In XBOX
Heck, why bother reading the full thing here, since I've basically summed it up in the Sub Title above, but what the heck, I'll put a few words here too, to go along with some eye candy (linked from the TeamXbox.com site) in the form of an image from the game and a shot of the box.

First, here's a little eye candy, linked from TeamXbox.com site:
Madden NFL 07 Screenshot #15

Not too shabby on the graphical front, at least for the players, and field. A little less distinctive in the stands (which still show bland and generic 2D type images of fans in the stands), but not too bad.

But is there more there than just the pretty face? At least is there more there than last seasons very weak effort that was lacking in features that were there in the versions on lesser (last generation) platforms. Last season (last year), Madden 06 was a "launch title" on the Xbox 360, but as such it was obviously rushed -- even with the game coming out late in the year. Features were cut in order to concentrate on the primary game and beefing up the graphical presentation.

This year, what's in the box (sample of box is shown below, also linked from TeamXbox.com site) or at least what is in the game is much closer to what should have been there last season.
Madden NFL 07 Screenshot #1

Where last year features had been dropped and left off to meet publishing deadlines, this season the Xbox 360 version is sporting most, if not all, of the same features that are found in the last generation console platforms. While I really wish that Electronic Arts (EA) would go above and beyond, and actually put even MORE content into the Xbox 360 version (to help justify the higher costs they charge for the next generation version), at least they haven't blatantly ripped off customers as they did last season.

As before, unfortunately owners of Xbox 360s that traded away their prior generation equipment (Xbox first generation) will find that they can't play older versions of Madden that weren't specifically created for the Xbox 360. Nor can they play the older NFL 2K sports games which continue to lack backwards compatibility modules. There's also still no b.c. module for support of Microsoft's own older NFL Fever title, so again the choices of NFL football on the Xbox 360 remain EA or none. Madden 06 or Madden 07. That's it. Given that lack of choice, and the missing features in Madden 06, Xbox 360 owners have to hope that that the version they get on the Xbox 360 in the form of Madden 07 is a good one. But is it?

From where I sit, I'd have to say it's better than last season because of the added features, but the graphics haven't seemed to change at all. If you looked at screen shots of last season's game, you'd not be able to tell much difference with this seasons game. That's not necessarily bad, but it also shows that EA seems to be willing to stand pat with what they currently have. I hope they work on more improvements in the future. Heck, I actually hope that they Madden development team (Tiburon) starts copying a bit more off of the NCAA Football team as that game seems to be just a bit better graphically in comparison.

The included "mini games" are a nice bonus, and give more depth and more playability to the game, but game play continues to be a mixed bag where the easier levels result in plays that are just about guaranteed to score every time you have the ball. You can adjust the difficulty levels using sliders to customize the Offense, Defense and Special teams, and in doing so you can get a much more balanced experience in playing against the CPU (if you want one).

One big suggestion for EA (and Tiburon) for next season: take the now standalone NFL Headcoach game that is being sold separately on last generation platforms and roll it and perhaps some fantasy general manager features up into a much more feature rich version of Madden for the 360 next year. Give your customers some more value for their investments in your products, and stop resting on the fact that you've made an exclusive deal with the NFL to prevent competition.

Comments
on Aug 24, 2006
Before someone comments on my possible bias in wanting some competition and being upset with EA for their exclusive deal with the NFL, I make no bones about being unhappy with them for that deal. That deal inspired the exclusive deal between 2K Sports and MLB which also resulted in a lesser quality game for MLB gamers this season.

I wish that neither exclusive deal had been done and that gamers were able to enjoy the fruits of a healthy competition between 2K Sports and EA. It would probably mean much better games, and certainly more feature rich games, for all gamers to enjoy.

Competition is a good thing, and when we lose it along the way, I'm not happy. Just as I'm not happy that the competition that used to exist between FuncoLand, Babbages, Electronic Boutiques, and Gamestop stores is now gone with Gamestop buying the other chains and merging them all away. Again, it's resulted in poorer service and higher prices for consumers and it leaves me bitter over the lack of ability to really take my business elsewhere (other than to Best Buy, Target, Wal*Mart and similar stores that really know nothing about the games they sell as they simply stock shelves and could care less what games they are putting in the shelves and bins).
on Aug 24, 2006
The problem is- what can we do other then boycott?

I will never buy another EA game again. I will never rent another EA game again.

on Aug 24, 2006
Reply By: arstal     Posted: Thursday, August 24, 2006
The problem is- what can we do other then boycott?

I will never buy another EA game again. I will never rent another EA game again.


Fairly true, and very sad. We can express displeasure by writing to the leagues that were involved and by writing reviews like these that point out our displeasure, but in the end as long as people continue buying the games -- no matter how bad -- then nothing will change.

on Aug 24, 2006
Oh, something I had forgotten to mention above and which does need to be covered here:

There are reports among some users, and confirmed occurences from myself, that there are the usual share of glitches, apparent freezes and lock-ups that can and do occur in the game this season.

In playing a game last nite (pre-season, part of a franchise/dynasty season) I had the game get stuck on the information that was being shown in the score board type area in the bottom of the screen. It blocked out the down and distance type information and didn't clear itself for several plays. Not something that should be happening in a finished game, but hopefully something that can and will be corrected via a patch (one big advantage to the Xbox Live system) sometime soon.
on Aug 24, 2006
Decent review of the game......I would only add that E.A. needs to improve the flow of the game. Right now the action is a bit "jumpy" and not very smooth. It runs better on current gen. How can this be? This game still feels rushed to me. There is no owner mode! I bet we'll see the next-gen version we all want next season when PS3 is out. I just think E.A. isn't motivated to make a great next-gen Madden until they can cross platform it. It's the nature of the beast.  
on Aug 24, 2006
How can this be? This game still feels rushed to me. There is no owner mode! I bet we'll see the next-gen version we all want next season when PS3 is out. I just think E.A. isn't motivated to make a great next-gen Madden until they can cross platform it. It's the nature of the beast.


Insightful and I think dead on. Heck, I could add a bit of conspiracy theory here and say that EA hasn't been motivated because they still don't like working with Microsoft at all. From my perspective, they'd still very much like to leave Microsoft high and dry and have Xbox (first generation) and Xbox 360 customers sitting without their wares, but at the same time they know that they had to make a deal with the devil and start selling things on Microsoft's system or suffer through at least a few years of basically having only minor updates to sell and use to encourage customers to buy the newest version of Madden.

I think that's part of why they split Head Coach off as a separate product which overlaps a lot with Madden. They had to come up with some new way of making money off the NFL license they paid so much for, and they couldn't just put the features into the next Madden without causing a fuss over why one platform gets it while another doesn't.

EA still has a long way to go to bring their catalog up to snuff on the 360. Looking over up-coming releases and such, they show NASCAR for other platforms, but nothing on the 360. NFL Headcoach came out on most older systems, but again, not on the 360. Basically they are still half-stepping and not really taking advantage of things, and yes, probably because of the points raised above... They probably are waiting for some extent to get feature sets evened out between platforms and really start pushing development on *all* next generation systems instead of putting out yet another upgrade to content that already exists on older systems.
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