Madden NFL 07 PSP Review
Let the football season commence. As I write this to you, the official NFL season is about to kick off, with the Roethlisberger-less Steelers trying to tackle the Culpepper-armed Dolphins to show them who's boss. So what better way to mark the occasion than finally reviewing Madden NFL 07 for the Sony PSP? We admit, it's been a while in coming, but the game is surprisingly worth the wait. And the same thing can't be said for the somewhat flawed NCAA Football 07.
There are still some flaws to consider when you're playing Madden, and most of them you'll discover with the game's Infrastructure, aka the EA Nation. This allows you to hook up with players online for match-ups, and the experience can waver depending on a couple of things. First, even a few weeks into the game's release, the online servers aren't exactly 100 percent, meaning that you're going to lose connection on a few rounds. This can mean a few severe marks against you, so that's something you'll want to watch out for. Also, there are too many sure-fire plays offered, and a few cheapskates out there will take advantage of this time after time. You could be the Colts going up against their Cleveland Browns, and yet this sure-fire play gives them a run right for the end zone, no matter how tight your defense is.
Past these two nagging issues, the game is a much-improved game of football, leagues over NCAA Football 07. The controls are quite easy to get into, once you adjust to the fact you have no right analog stick to do the Highlight Stick features with. Still, you can use the left shoulder button in coordination with the face buttons to pull off some big jukes and lead your runner on a charge down the field. The running game finally has just as much emphasis as the passing game (thanks to the new Lead Blocker system), and that's one of the big features about this version of Madden that makes it so noteworthy. Finally, Tatum Bell has his day in the sun, alongside Jake "The Snake" Plummer. Passing and defensive controls are excellent as well, and there's a huge playbook to flip through.
The graphics for this version of the game look wonderful, bringing to life a living, breathing football environment for your PSP. The stadiums look authentic, and the players move and juke about just like the real things, with only the occasional side animation looking a little off. The game's engine moves about smoothly, even when popping up the small passing grid. The menus and screens in-between are also easy to read, allowing you quick access to the options you want.
As for sound, eh, well, you know. It's Madden and Al Michaels doing commentary, and it really doesn't sound any livelier than it did before. Fortunately, it's to the point and doesn't drone on like Madden's comments in live games. The sound effects are terrific, although it would have been nice to hear more original stadium music instead of propaganda-fueled EA Trax in the background. Where's the "HEY!" song?!
There are extra features galore in this game, including being able to play with people via WiFi and EA Nation; playing mini-games to help improve your performance; tackling a Franchise Mode, which is time consuming, but worth the effort to get to the Super Bowl; and checking out new NFL profile videos that talk up Madden's history. There aren't nearly as many features as what's in the console versions, but, hey, at least what's here is stable.
Madden NFL 07
What's Hot: Great gameplay additions; graphics look right on target.
What's Not: The commentary still bores; laggy online issues; big plays give cheap wins.