previews\ May 9, 2006 at 8:00 pm

Madden NFL 07 - 360 - Preview

E3 2006 First Look Preview

Last year’s Madden 2006 presented the “Vision & Precision” element, putting a focus on the passing game. The addition received mixed reviews, but the game was widely well-received overall. However, this year, the Madden team is gearing up to revamp the running game, which has needed some assistance for several years now. The new feature, Lead Blocker Control, adds a brand new dynamic to the game and should add a great new element to the Madden franchise when Madden 2007 is released this August.

Lead Blocker Control is just that, it allows you to control the lead blocker, clearing the path for the ball. You use the right analog stick to control the blocker, clearing a path and then switching back when you see fit.

Madden NFL 07 screenshots

Another nice addition to the running game has been some changes made to the Highlight Stick to accommodate smaller players. Smaller players will now have access to unique moves that aren’t limited to strength and size, giving them a bit more of a fighting chance when going up against huge opponents.

The Superstar mode introduced last year has also gone through some changes. You can create any position on the field, with your ultimate goal being to get into the NFL Hall of Fame, becoming rich and famous along the way with movie deals and endorsement contracts and the like.

Last year’s Madden 2006 was the first Madden game to hit the Xbox 360, but while the result was pretty to look at, the much dumbed-down gameplay left a lot to be desired. This year’s 360 Madden is looking to right those wrongs, as it were, by adding a lot more depth and basically reinventing the next-gen experience. The game will feature some more intensive mini-games for training your character in Superstar mode, with exercises like sprinting and weight lifting to beef up your player’s stats. If you are performing a game really well, your character will enter “the zone”, attaining a bullet-time focus, giving you that extra edge and shaving off time when you are sprinting, for example.

Madden NFL 07 screenshots

The game will also have an analog kick meter, adding a new challenge element to the punting and field goal game. The Madden Gamer Level will track your accomplishments as you progress, giving you access to unlockables like Hall of Fame players with biographical info and so on.

The Instant Replay challenge is also returning in this version of Madden, and through Xbox Live, you’ll be able to challenge human opponents in the franchise mode, having them take on the CPU’s role.

This version of Madden is looking to be a great incarnation of the long-running franchise, offering up new features and bringing a new game to the table on next-gen hardware. Look for it this August.

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