Hello fellow allies!
Sports games have held a special place in my heart. Specifically the mid-2000’s era while I was in middle school and high school. I loved building teams and just making NFL Network-like stories about them in my head. One of the first games that brought out this imagination of mine is Madden 07. Not the 360 or PS3 versions, but the PS2-era version.
Now, I know. Madden in the Hall of Greats. Yuck. Sports games. Yuck. I get it. Do I expect this to get in? No, but I would feel remiss if I didn’t mention this game at least once.
When you start up the game, you are asked what your favorite team is. Given the answer, different players from that team will be on your menu from here on out! You get to hear a soundtrack that features a good variety of songs with the likes of Taking Back Sunday, 30 Seconds to Mars, Lupe Fiasco, and Underoath.
Gameplay is a strong facet of Madden 07. It introduced Lead Blocking where you can choose to play as any player on the Offensive Line or be the Fullback to open up holes for your Running Back. To off-set the QB Cone they introduced in Madden 06, you get the Style stick for any positional player where if you push the right stick to the left, you Juke a defender. If you have a Power Running Back, like Brandon Jacobs, you feel them breaking tackles. You feel their slowness compared to the speedy Running Backs, like Reggie Bush.
Before I get into Franchise Mode, Superstar Mode is Madden 07’s Career Mode where your goal is to be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. You are not restricted to just offense or defense though, you can be a Kicker or a Punter. Just to embrace all facets of the NFL! As for day-to-day, you start out with interviews with three or four teams and you eventually get drafted along with the 2006 NFL Draft class. No important picks are changed as you’ll likely get picked around the third round or even later. From that point on, you practice with the team and play the games. You can sign an agent and have interviews with Rich Eisen from NFL Network which is awesome, even if it’s just text based.
Other modes that are enjoyable are: Tournament Mode where you can just include different teams from different eras and see who would win and Situation Mode where you can set up a game if you want to replicate the 28-3 triumph of the Patriots in 2016, this is the mode for you! These two modes are fun, but nothing substantial. Just thought they should be brought up!
Now, my favorite mode is Franchise Mode. When you pick your team, and if you want to do a Fantasy Draft, you are immediately put into training camp drills. Here you get ten mini-games where your goal is to develop certain players with each mini-game. You can run a Pocket Drill for your newly drafted Quarterback or you can do the Swat Ball Drill for your Cornerback who needs to develop some more. After each of these, you’ll get points to put into certain skills depending on the mini-game and how well you did.
As Training Camp gets started, you are greeted by the voice of Tony Bruno. Who has a weekly radio show that covers the NFL. One week you get to hear him talk to NFL players and another week you might hear him talk to a Head Coach. These chats can be strangely put together, yes, but this is still an immersive experience each week. Another way to know what is going on around the NFL is the Newspaper section. Here you can see the Nationally viewed biggest stories presented by USA Today, or you can go team-by-team and see every locally owned newspaper’s topics. And this isn’t a fake local newspaper, these are all real newspapers that you can read outside of this game if you so desire.
In the Pre-Season, you have Position Battles. Each week through the Pre-Season these battles get updated with key stats and the game will choose who to play based on those stats. Now, sometimes the game is wrong, yes. But, this is still a much better system than what Madden today has in place. Where you see no position battles and you keep track of them yourself.
Each week you get the Weekly Gameplan where you see three focus plays to prepare for and practice. Also, you get a paragraph for each opponent’s starting player to add another layer of depth. Even your own team has this feature so you can see what the opponent thinks of your starters.
My last key point of the Franchise Mode is the off-season. After the Pro-Bowl, you have a period of time to get your coaching staff in order. If you have to fill in a spot at Offensive Coordinator, now is the time to do it. After this phase though, the first checklist item you have is Retired Players. You get to see who all retired and sort them by team or by the position. After Re-Signing players, which you can even do during the season, you have Restricted Free Agents to look for around the league and your team. Lots of other great off-season stuff, but these two take precedent to me.
While I can talk about how great Owner Mode is or the implementations with NCAA Football 07 and NFL Head Coach, that would make this longer than expected. I believe that Madden 07 is the peak of this franchise with the amount of immersion that Franchise Mode offers and the Creative Suite it offers that I couldn’t get into. Thank you all for your time. Lastly Go Jets and Love and Respect!