November 16, 2006 - When it comes to sports games, Madden is the undisputed king of them all. Whether you celebrate the Maddenoliday every time the title is released, or you simply test your skills online with other players, there are few titles that captivate sports fans as much as the respected EA Sports football title. Having conquered current gen, portable systems and the Xbox 360, Madden NFL 07 is warming up to take the PS3 playing field. But is this the next gen version that football fans have been waiting for, or should the game go back to training camp?
The answer, surprisingly, is both yes and no. Compared to the current gen version, Madden NFL 07 for the PS3 is a much richer experience, with sharper visuals and larger hits. However, strip away the SIXAXIS controller and some retouched textures, and you essentially have the 360 version of the game that's been ported over to the PS3. No new or exclusive modes are in the PS3 game, so it's hard to witness Sony's entry into the next gen football arena without knowing that you've already seen this all once before.
One thing that PlayStation fans could usually take solace in from year to year is having the option to pick up and play Madden without feeling like they needed to relearn the entire control scheme. That has definitely come to an end with Madden's debut on the PS3, since the assigned buttons for controls is practically the exact same one from the 360 version of the game. For instance, sprinting has been taken off of the X button and been placed onto the R2 button. In its place, jukes have landed on the X button in combination with the left analog stick. Protecting the ball has also moved from the triangle button (which now is the stiff arm control) to the R1 button. Playmaker passing is now activated by pulling both the L2 and R2 buttons instead of clicking the R3 button. You may need to play a game or two before you get the hang of everything.
On the other hand, the PS3 version of Madden does take advantage of the SIXAXIS Controller, although the instruction manual and in-game screens don't clearly explain how. On the defensive side of the ball, players can get their Ray Lewis or Brian Urlacher on by thrusting the controller in the ball carrier's direction. Time it just right, and you'll crush the opponent with a massive hit. The defense can also attempt to jump the snap count and get into the backfield by pushing the controller toward the offensive line. However, this motion requires precise timing for two separate reasons. Obviously, if you jump the count too early, you can be flagged for encroachment. But the other significant reason is because if you jump the count too late, the game may think you're trying to use the Hit Stick functionality and take your player out of position to make a play on the ball unintentionally. For offense, Quarterbacks can use the SIXAXIS controller to attempt to draw overeager defenders offsides with a fake snap. Instead of pressing a button, players can snap the controller up and back towards them, which may get some defenders to bite on the fake.
The motion sensitivity also gives a certain amount of re-invention to one of the largest additions to this year's game. The Run to Daylight lead blocking feature that was included in Madden 07 can now be used in concert with the motion controller to set your blocks and help your teammates get out into the open. Players initially choose the person they want to lay down the block, and then run the play like normal. By shoving the controller forward or backwards near a defender, you can perform an impact or cut block on your opponent. This doesn't mean that you won't have to rely on using the left thumbstick to put your blocker in position; it only means that you can make an impact within the play thanks to the motion of the controller. While including the motion sensitivity for offense or defense is a nice touch, it can be somewhat imprecise. Even though you can manipulate the responsiveness of the controller for games, you'll probably find yourself relying much more on the buttons and thumbsticks instead of the motion sensitivity.