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Madden NFL 07 still fills a football fan's fantasies with Al Michaels joining John in the announcer booth.

PC Game Review: Madden NFL 07

Another Madden year, another broken sales record. Players can’t get enough of this football standard, which brings the A-game every time. No exception this year as EA delivers another packed title to keep sports fans of all types busy during the season and beyond.

The blocking and running game hits the forefront thanks to new features like “Run to Daylight” and the highlight (last year was trick) stick in this latest, and 17th version of the popular NFL football game.

The PC version has some nice breakthrough running moves like the hop step and a wide variety of blocks that will increase those competitive juices. Make a great pancake block or cut ‘em high or low.

These running/blocking additions are great, but don’t be surprised if the CPU doesn’t follow your lead occasionally. Astute players can quickly switch back to the back after using a blocker to clear a path for the run. Players definitely get a competitive edge when they master these techniques.

The passing game packs more challenges, especially in practice mode and the all important skill tests. The Madden Gamer Level tracks all your personal statistics, then is used to unlock Hall of Fame players in franchise or head-to-head modes.

The new kick meter, seen on the console versions, isn’t included here. All of the new functions and features work best using a PC dual analog controller.

Online performance lag can be an issue at times, like almost any online game, but if you’re looking to rack up points/stats against the CPU solo, underrated teams like the Texans and Ravens aren’t that weak – choose the local underachievers like the Browns or Lions instead.

For the role-playing mode, NFL Superstar continues with challenging drills, IQ tests and the option to choose your parents (if you’re making a new player). You can even go “T.O.” on everybody and forge a negative ego just to stir things up.

The role-playing mode improves with dreams of the Hall of Fame and other bonuses as your status grows. This game element, which benefits players and game developers, encourages long term enthusiasts to do more themselves instead of simulating through games.

Individual celebration options are nice, but how about some post game celebrations (i.e. Gatorade dunks) and halftime events that focus on the team? The halftime wouldn’t have to include cheerleaders or announcer analysis, but why can’t players boost their team in the locker room as well as the huddle?

Overall, this title amazes, especially with the on-field sound, in-depth enhancements and unique team playbooks.

Helpful icons and a constant low fatigue are definite advantages for new players. This game is rated E, but some of the music lyrics in the soundtrack songs are questionable for younger ears. Al Michaels and John Madden do a solid job announcing, but a few of their comments get repetitive.

Some of the console versions have noticeable advantages over the PC version. If you’re looking for the best graphics, the Xbox 360 version is currently the obvious choice. The PC version needs improvement with textures (objects and environments are often too pixilated) and shadowing/lighting. This area can only improve as the technology advances.

The PSP version features a unique mini-game and you can also transfer Franchise mode seasons with the Playstation 2. A Hall of Fame Edition with bonus DVD content is also available.

Madden NFL 07 is rated E (Everyone) by the ESRB. This game can also be found on: GameCube, GBA, PS2, PSP, Nintendo DS, Xbox and Xbox 360. Coming soon to Playstation 3 and Wii.

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