By Chad Zimmerman
Madden '07the latest edition of the Madden Dynastyis scheduled for release on Aug. 22. As always, the guys at EA made some solid improvements to an already-sick game to keep your v-gaming experiences peaked. Here's a breakdown of some of the sweeter features that, when mastered, just might give you an edge on Friday nights.
New features for current generation platforms (PS2, Xbox, Game Cube):
1. Team-Specific Defensive Playbooks
In past versions of Madden, every team shared the same playbook based on the defensive scheme. The Patriots' 3-4 defense had the same set of plays as the Cowboys' 3-4 defense. Recognizing that each team changes its defense based on unique personnel, EA modified the '07 edition to include team-specific playbooks that mirror each team's actual plays. So if your squad uses a two-point end, like Terrell Suggs of the Ravens, you can finally play your position on screen like you do on field.
2. Player-Specific Running Moves
Madden '06 introduced the Hit Sticka set of controls that provide running backs with a variety of movements. For example, pressing up on the right analog stick made a running back lower his shoulder to plow through a linebacker. This is a great move for power backs, but it offers little help to smaller, shiftier runners. This feature is improved and renamed the Highlight Stick in Madden '07. With the same forward press, power backs can still bring the thunder, but smaller backs can turn on the lightening and juke out of harm's way.
3. Lead Block Control
If you want realistic game play to truly learn the intricacies of a high-powered running game, the lead block control is where it's at. In fact, it could be the coolest feature Madden has ever offered. On any given running play, you can control your blocking back, or any lineman at the point of attack, setting up blocks to spring your tailback. At the point the hole is made, control shifts to the running back so you can read and react to blocks a skill you can bring with you to the turf.
Features for next generation platforms (PS3, Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii):
Creating a player is no longer based on a sliding scale that determines his strength and speed. In '07, you have to prove your power and ability through a series of Combine-like events, such as the 40 and bench test. The better you perform each event, the more talent your player brings to the field. In case one of your boys gets injured, some of the Combine events double as rehab. This feature leaves it up to you to keep your crew strong, healthy and untouchable.
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