Straight off the bat, I’m going to make the obvious comment. If you’re not a fan of American Football, you will not enjoy this game. However, if you are remotely interested or if you are a big fan of the sport, then this is the game for you.
Firstly, this is the first game on the Wii I have played where I actually like the motion controls. They are intuitive and fun. They become second nature when you get into them. First of all there is the throwing action; this is done by throwing the controller as if you were throwing the ball. You still have to press the button of a particular receiver to throw to him, but the action is a brilliant move into the future for the game. It even reacts differently if you throw it fast or slowly.
Then there’s the receiver action; throw your hands up at the right time to make the catch. Most of the time, you don’t actually have to bother because the AI does it for you; but it certainly improves your chances, especially if you’re a defender trying to make an interception. When you want to make a tackle that’ll mean something, you throw your hands forward and your player will blow the man off his feet like he was made of feathers. There are loads more: running moves, kicking, blocking, and they all use moves that make sense. They don’t overdo it and that is the key here. A lot of the moves use the control stick and the buttons on the controller, and the motion controls are used to add emphasis to the moves.
Apart from controls, the graphics are some of the best I’ve seen on the Wii. It really sets the bar for all other games. The sound is really good, the commentary is from John Madden himself as it is every year. The sound effects are really good, and make the game come to life. The soundtrack leaves a little to be desired but that says more about my taste in music than anything – I’m sure the American fans love it.
There are lots of unlockables in the game in the form of Madden cards which, most of the time, are pointless but sometimes unlock extra stadiums, or past teams which, for any fan, is a really cool thing to get. The games include a basic league mode, a “hall of fame” mode where you take a custom made player to NFL fame and mini-games which are good fun to play with friends.
Basically, this is the best game I’ve played for Wii and it’s not because it’s American Football, because I have played others. This is a great game because it makes playing gridiron fun. It also uses the Wii’s motion controls perfectly. The only thing this game is missing is online play which is coming in Madden ’08. If you don’t like American Football, that’s fair enough. If you do, you’re in for a treat.