Madden NFL 09
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$Guide to Madden NFL 07 on the PlayStation 2$

Madden 07 from EA Sports is the quintessential NFL football gaming experience. The 17th in the series after namesake John Madden, Pro Football Hall of Fame Coach and well renowned color commentator. Madden coached the Oakland Raiders for 10 seasons in the NFL, recording over 100 victories, 7 divisional titles and a victory in Super Bowl XI. The only officially NFL licensed game, Madden 07 is a game of great depth. Fans of the series and the NFL football genre recognize Madden as best in the market

This season has some new features, the most prominent being the lead blocker control. When opting for a running play, the player can control any player on offense. Once the ball is snapped, you can set blocks, create seams or open holes in the defense and the computer controlled back will follow your lead. From that point you can continue to throw blocks or switch control back to the ball carrier and complete the run yourself. This feature allows better control over where key blocks are made and how running lanes are opened.

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Another new feature tied to the running game is the highlight stick. An improvement on the truck stick feature, the highlight stick allows more subtle moves. Using the right analog stick, certain directions will offer different signature moves. This feature adds depth to the more elusive backs where straight forward running may not be their forte. Some backs are better slash and cut runners and do their best running avoiding contact. With more spinning, ducking and juking moves at your disposal, this better simulates the more stylized backs. The truck stick power moves are still evident with the bigger backs as well.

NFL Superstar - Hall of Fame mode allows you to create your player and compete exclusively as that player. New camera angles have been added to assure that regardless of which position you choose, each has a unique feel. You build up influence throughout your career by your actions on the field. That influence then directly affects your team and the opposition, giving you an edge. Eventually you could play your way into the Hall of Fame.
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Franchise mode offers several new features including player roles and scouting draft system. A new draft feature is rookie scouting that allows you to put the rookies through a combine simulation. Putting the players through drills and on field tests give you a better look at them before the draft. This will unlock scouting reports and give you insight into the individuals skills. There is also an All Star College game featuring potential draft picks in a full fledged game.

Another new feature is in the kicking. The kick meter has undergone a change to more accurately simulate the kicking process. The analog stick is used to mimic the motion of the players leg. Pulling back to set power and pushing forward for accuracy and angle adds a nice update to the kicking game.

Two new teams have been added this season, All AFC and All NFC. These teams, featuring Hall of Famers, once unlocked can be played in exhibition against current NFL teams. You can see how your Hall of Fame favorites stack up against the current pros. Wheel and deal as Walter Payton, pocket pass as Dan Fouts or wreak havok on defense as Deacon Jones.
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NFL Network is a feature that teaches you how to run certain plays. Why plays work, what makes them effective and what situations to use them in are all explored. Voice over break downs by Sterling Sharpe gives you insight into formations, plays and the strategy behind them. Practical information acquired from this mode can be directly related to in game play and enhances your overall football knowledge.

The graphics are detailed enough to give the game that lifelike feeling. Facial recognition of marquee players and attributes of well known stadium venues all lend credibility to the NFL experience. Audio commentary is again provided by Madden and Al Micheals and the musical soundtrack is solid. The soundtrack this season includes rock music from bands like Audioslave and The Panic Channel and hip hop tracks by Feezy 350, Trae and Shorty Da Kid to name a few.
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The core of gameplay is basically the same as the previous versions with a few improvements. Overall, the game is fundementally sound and offers the most realistic NFL gaming experience. Whether youre a rookie or a grizzled veteran, Madden 07 has something to offer. Now the only question left to ask is… Are you ready for some football?

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