EA’s latest perfectly illustrates the worry we had when the Nintendo Wii’s innovative control system was first announced.
Instead of brand spanking new titles being created to make the best use of the Wii’s revolutionary control system, EA’s first batch off the production line appears to be a bunch of updates of already long running series, each of which is already starting to feel a little tired.
The worries go double for this American Footballer gamer, which already has a reasonably satisfactory control method. How exactly do you make it work for Nintendo’s pride and joy? Chuck the Wiimote through an included net to replicate the quarterback’s Hail Mary?
We needn’t have worried all that much. EA’s obviously thought long and hard about making Madden work for the Wii so – once you get the hang of things – it’s actually slightly easier to play than other console versions.
To snap the ball, just flick the remote. To throw the ball, just pretend to throw the remote. As for running, the nunchuk acts as your body so all you have to do is tilt and twist it to dodge oncoming players. If you want to slap someone down, move the remote to slam duck an opponent’s head.
So far, so simple. Each of the above work in the kind of manner that, well, we could have only dreamt of. Passing in particular manages to feel "real" and at times you’ll feel like a multi-millionaire quarterback for the 49ers. Well almost.
Defending is not so well thought out and comes across as a little simplistic. For a basic tackle, simply run into your opponent and chances are you’ll take them down. Want to initiate a diving challenge? Just thrust the remote and nunchuk in the chosen direction and watch your 20 stone defender perform miracles.
These moves just won’t get your juices flowing in the way attacking does though. Plus the game’s intelligence is a little off in places. Nine times out of ten your big defensive move will work a treat, but when that one odd time occurs and causes you a few lost points, you’ll be sorely tempted to toss the remote right through the screen.
This is a quick overview of the options on offer of course. Tutorials pop up before every play giving you hints and tips on new manoeuvres and there’s a fair amount of depth here. It’s a good way to break Wii and Madden newbies in so full marks to EA for using its noddle.
Other than the new control method, things are much the same as always. All the various leagues are present and correct, although there’s one huge tweak in the Superstar mode.
Instead of merely throwing a massive amount of touchdown passes each and every season in order to be recognised as one of the best of all time, you now also need to establish a personality during the post match interviews. Whether you go for the primadonna Christiano Ronaldo-esque moaner or the highly regarded "team comes first" man is entirely up to you.
Despite the leap to the next generation, the same old graphics engine makes another tired appearance and leaves this Wii iteration looking not too sharp. Though everything’s smooth as silk in terms of animation, the players do have a certain chunky look that can’t help but put you off.
At its best, it’s gorgeously innovative. At worst, it’s bloody frustrating. But it can’t be denied that Madden ‘07 is the joint best Wii sporting title thus far. American footie fans are in for not only a treat, but something a little new too.