Wii Madden 07
You know what you're getting with Madden on Microsoft's Xbox 360and Sony's PlayStation 3. Phenomenal graphics, nice audio, deep features and gameplay (that only changes a teenie weenie bit every year). It's a great game, it sells like crazy, but it isn't about to reinvent the wheel. Or the joystick.
Nintendo's Wii, however, is making a valiant effort to do just that. Electronic Arts, makers of the Madden franchise, were given the task of making the motion sensitive Wiimote controller work with its game of pigskin, a daunting undertaking considering the deep play-calling and time-sensitive decisions necessary in football titles. Well, since EA officially bought out the National Football League license a few years ago, no one else is around to do it, are they?
Visually, the company certainly faced some limitations with the Wii. The graphics aren't up to snuff with most of the console's other titles, let alone the Xbox 360's version. In fact, we're tempted to say Madden 07 on the Wii is the ugliest game of football we've seen in a long time. Why? Well, for one there's no crowd. At least, nothing beyond a mish-mash of random and dark colors surrounding the field. Second, the players both look and act awkwardly. Most tough-guy linebackers look like sissy mama's boys, while running backs juke and shift as if they've got a pickle lodged in their hind quarters.
Still, it's not how they look on screen that matters, but how you feel off screen controlling them. Sure, Mr. Nintendo press representative, sir. Seriously, though, the addition of the Wiimote does revitalize a franchise that – on the other systems – hasn't changed a great deal this year. But does it work?
Yes and no. The game, like most Wii titles, batters you with instructions on how to use the Wiimote effectively in the game. As painful as it is, reading these tips can help out when a linebacker is bearing down on you. Flipping the Wiimote upwards hikes the ball, holding a desired direction on the D-pad and snapping the device forward attempts a pass. When running with the ball, swishing back and forth with the Nunchuk and Wiimote together allows a talented running back like Reggie Bush to perform double jukes. It's a great way to interactively leave safeties lying on their tail ends, while you prance victoriously.
Unfortunately, players don't actually prance, or dance, or do anything particularly interesting in the end zone. No, touchdowns are a clear example of the rough animations in the Wii version of Madden 07 . Players who cross the final white line just stand there, perhaps simply dumbfounded with their glory. Whatever the reason, it's very strange, and lends to the argument that visuals and raw graphical muscle contribute just as much to a game's immersion as motion sensitivity.
All in all, Madden 07 for the Wii is a diamond in the rough. While the Wiimote is cool, third-party supporter EA did not use it to its full potential. Passes often went to the receiver we wanted to avoid, kicking is a complete pain in the butt and running is still a mess most of the time (this is no fault of the Wiimote, however).
Despite all of the promise, we found ourselves having a bit more fun with the old way of playing Madden , on Microsoft's console. However, we can see that once EA devises the best way to put the Wiimote to use, the game could certainly upstage all the flash of the Xbox 360.
Give it a year to train, that's all.
Gizmo Score: 3/5