Madden games have always been the market leader for digital translations of America's most popular sport and nothing seems set to change as we enter the next gen. Admittedly, there's not much competition. Or, in fact, any at the moment.
So, as EA's leading franchise, what did we hope for? A game built from the bottom up specifically for Xbox 360? Yep. A Madden that looked absolutely gorgeous? Hell, yeah. A game that packed in all the modes we've come to love and expect over the years? Definitely.
And what have we got? Well, on the first two things, EA has nailed it.
On the third, well... if we're generous, we'll say that the short development time and the requirements of embarking on a new title rather than simply porting the old one across means there's been inevitable changes. The exhaustive options, which have been a staple of the series for so long, have all but disappeared.
There's a bare bones Franchise mode and a Play Now mode. And that's your lot.
Which is a shame because Madden on original flavour Xbox has - pretty much simultaneously - brought a whole raft of superb new options to the party.
Things like Mini Camp, ideal for newbies, where you get to practice your skills before the real thing. Or managing morale. Or sorting out training drills. It's all gone.
Madden 360, like Tiger and NBA before it, feels like a stepping stone in terms of content and we suspect it will deliver more down the line. Unlike Tiger and NBA (and especially the tragically woeful FIFA) Madden excels in almost all other areas.
The gameplay, as ever, is absolutely bang on and they've gone the extra mile in making this far more approachable for American Football rookies. You can select Madden's plays, which are demystified by the legend himself.
Graphically, you can't help but be impressed, too.
You know already that Madden NFL 07 on Xbox 360 is going to improve in all of these areas and it'll be the game you deserve. But if you're an absolute fanatic, then this is great.
Otherwise, we're going to withhold on the big score until EA raises its game.
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