Madden NFL 07 impressions

The annual evolution of Madden christens "the season" for every would-be athlete, coach, or super fan trapped inside the sweaty cushions of their couches, and Madden NFL 07 is proving no exception.

Due to hit stores in August, 07's overhauls to the interface and - more importantly - the running game are just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. In 07, you'll be able to step up as the lead blocker and crush any oncoming attempt to foil your running game, then meld right back into the light feet of your running back to gain those hard-earned yards.All this is replete with more moves, animations, and signature running styles of the NFL's top ball-carriers.

You'll also be able to create your football alter-ego and build a Hall of Fame career in the Superstar mode. Do you like laying the smack down? Inhabit a linebacker and control his every move on and off the field. Become the player your team is built around by developing your skills in minigames like the 40-yard dash or bench press. Each position comes with its own on-field camera angle, play controls, and position schemes. The twist is whether the other guys on your team do or do not do their job. Had a pro-bowl season, but your team didn’t make the playoffs? Well, you’re living the superstar life.

The 360 and PS3 get special treatment; making up for 06’s lackluster performance on the 360. The individual stadiums are amazingly detailed, from fire extinguishers to precision lighting cast according to the exact time and position in the galaxy.