For those who haven’t already
played it, this review is for Madden NFL 2007 for the Nintendo GameCube. This is
the latest installment of the legendary Madden series, and brings with it everything
you would expect. The things that make this edition new are the Superstar mode,
along with lead blocking.

Lead blocking lets you choose a
blocker to control, instead of running with the ball, in hopes you’ll have a
greater impact on those quick hand-off plays. Along with lead blocking, the use
of the c-stick allows you to control exactly how you want to block. If you want
to go for the lower body and take your opponent down, you can. If you just want
to stall him, you can do that too.

The level of control is really
impressive this time around; however, this control comes at a cost. Continuing
with the trend, the controls have gotten even more complex this time around.
The learning curve on this game is brutal. I played for a few hours and was
still working on the basics. But things do slowly start coming together and
eventually things flow really nicely.

Next is the highlight of this
game, Superstar mode. You create your own character, starting with your
parents, so you choose your pedigree. From there, you go through the usual
customization and naming. Then you start your career. You have to sign an
agent, train, and hopefully make it into the NFL draft. The focus of this mode
shifts from the team, to a single player. It’s really an interesting shift,
taking some concepts from the adventure and RPG genres. You build your
character’s stats, manage his life, and take personal control of him in games.
It’s a refreshing addition to a rather repetitive franchise.

However, this game is not
without its share of flaws. Sometimes due to the complexity, the control feels
clunky and unresponsive. At least for the GameCube version, the game takes an
insane amount of memory, more than most memory cards can hold at max.

The camera work is odd on
faking plays, often following the player you faked to instead of where the ball
is; this can be incredibly disorienting. Also, in Superstar mode, unless you
pick the right position, you won’t be calling the plays. This is unfortunate
because the computer doesn’t pick plays that fit your situation; sometimes you’ll
be third- and-long and the computer will try a run straight through the
defensive line.

Overall, though, I found myself
really enjoying this game once I got the hang of it, and Superstar mode
provides a much deeper experience than normal franchise games. Also, the music
matches the tone of the game and really enhances the experience. The graphics
are on par with the other games, but nothing special.

I give it a 7 out of 10.