Madden NFL 07 Wii
Published by EA Sports
Developed by EA Sports
Release Date: Out Now
When you have a series that’s as popular as the Madden NFL series it makes sense to ensure there is a version available for a console launch. Of course fans of that series would probably be satisfied with a graphically enhanced version of the game although that’s something that can’t really be done with the Wii. At best you’re going to have a game that looks fractionally better than it would on the original Xbox. In order to make the Wii version of Madden NFL 07 appealing the game is going to have to take full advantage of the unique control scheme that the console offers. Thankfully it manages to do this quite nicely.
The Wii version of Madden NFL 07, like all of the other Wii games, doesn’t come with any kind of online mode. The modes it does include are Play Now (for exhibition games), Franchise, NFL Superstar: Hall of Fame, Tournament, Mini Games, Practice and Multiplayer Mini Games. There is also a section called NFL Network (don’t be fooled by the name as it’s nothing to do with online play) which allows you to learn the NFL Playbook as well as a Learn Madden mode that’s essentially a collection of four mini-games that serve as a quick introduction to the new control scheme. No online play is a disappointment but at least all the essential single-player modes have been included and up to four players can compete offline.
Whether or not you’re going to enjoy the Wii version of Madden NFL 07 really comes down to how you get on with the new control scheme. There’s no option to use the classic controller in order to revert to a standard method of playing the game so if you don’t get on with the new controls you’re not going to enjoy the game. Fortunately the new control scheme is actually quite good. The game makes full use of both the remote and the nunchuck. There are many motion sensitive controls in the game and you’ll be performing a variety of swing, wave, lift, drum, pull and push actions. In fact it’s fair to say that it’s a far more physical version of Madden than we’ve ever played before. Rather pleasingly you can use the remote as a pointing device in the various menus and to select plays etc. Does this new energetic method of control make for a better Madden experience? I’d have to say no. It’s certainly different and makes a good use of the Wii’s unique control scheme but I’d still opt for more traditional controls for playing a long term game mode such as Franchise or NFL Superstar.
As we kind of hinted at the top of the review the Wii version of Madden NFL 07 offers no graphical improvements over the last generation of consoles (by that I mean Xbox, PS2 and GameCube). Comparisons with the Xbox 360 version are pointless because the Wii just doesn’t have a chance in this respect. That said if you’re playing on a standard TV you’re certainly not getting a bad looking game and it’s definitely as good graphically as the previous Xbox versions of Madden. When it comes to the load times the Wii version definitely shines and surpasses the other console versions. The frame rate holds up pretty nicely too.
In regards to how deaf gamer friendly the Wii version of Madden NFL 07 is it’s a case of being exactly the same as the other versions of the game. Game commentary isn’t subtitled. There’s some speech in the NFL Network mode that isn’t subtitled but on the whole this doesn’t really cause many problems. All tutorial information is shown in text and all of the information you’ll need in the Franchise and NFL Superstar modes is shown in text meaning you can enjoy the game without any real obstacles.
As we mentioned at the beginning of the review, the Madden NFL series is incredibly popular and Wii owners will definitely appreciate having a version so early in the console’s lifespan. It's also good to see that the game really does utilise the motion-sensing abilities of the console. It’s also worth mentioning that this isn’t a stripped down version of Madden NFL like the first Madden game for the Xbox 360 was. Apart from not having support for online play it’s a feature rich Madden NFL experience. It could be argued that the graphics don’t offer any improvements over the PlayStation 2/Xbox/Cube versions of Madden NFL 07 and this is disappointing although the visuals are certainly good enough for playing on a standard TV set. The most important aspect of the game is that it fully embraces the Wii’s unique controls and for the most part makes a really good job of it.
Madden NFL fans who've bought a Wii are definitely going to want to try out the game. It's a feature rich experience, only lacking an option to play online, that makes great use of the Wii's unique control scheme.