Unfortunately, these corrected issues are counterbalanced by some new problems. Bugs, specifically, pop up in some key areas of the gameplay. One issue of note is that some pass plays simply don't have the right button icons assigned to certain receivers. When you zoom out to view the routes your receivers will be taking, slot receivers will have one button icon associated with each one. When you snap the ball, those icons effectively reverse, so you're basically getting the wrong information prior to the snap. Again, this is only on certain pass plays, but we noticed it multiple times throughout every game we played. Another issue involves artificial intelligence quarterbacks. Every now and again, an AI quarterback at the beginning of a drive will just sit behind center and let the play clock run down. This will happen over and over until you decline a delay-of-game penalty. After that, he goes right back to normal. While this issue obviously can be worked around, and if you're attentive, you can get around the incorrect passing icon issue too, these are the sorts of things that should have been picked up on and fixed before the game hit shelves.
It's also worth noting that not all the pacing problems of the first game have been fixed. The franchise mode, in particular, still suffers from a very slow-going pace. For the most part, the franchise mode is identical to last year's, with just a couple of more basic options added to the offseason menu. You don't get all the snazzy little bells and whistles from the console versions, like the Tony Bruno radio show or owner mode, but what's here is functional. The problem is that simulating seasons or offseason tasks still takes a painfully long time. If you ever want to simulate an entire season, be prepared to leave your PSP sitting somewhere for a good long while and find something else to do in the interim, as the process tends to chug along at a snail's pace. There's also one dumb interface quirk that was a problem last year and that should have been addressed this year but wasn't. Specifically, it still takes forever and a day to tweak contract offers to free agents. Like last year, you have to tap the directional pad repeatedly to up a contract amount by $10,000, and often you'll be trying to increase salaries by millions of dollars at a time. There's no option to hold down the button and speed it up, nor is there any way to see exactly what other teams are offering contract-wise, meaning you'll have to start all over again if your offer isn't high enough.
Aside from those quirks, the franchise mode is a fun and fairly deep mode. In addition to franchise, all the minicamp games from last year have returned, including all of the PSP-exclusive games. Of course, not all of them are great, but there are more than enough fun ones to take part in. The game also includes a new minigame called End 2 End. Here, you rotate the PSP 90 degrees counterclockwise so the D pad is on the bottom. The concept here is that you're a ball carrier who has just caught a kickoff at the end of the field. The game automatically starts the run back for you, and in your way are a series of would-be tacklers. You use the D pad buttons to go up, down, left, or right of the tackler, depending on what type of tackle he's going for. For example, if a guy is going low, you should leap over him. Game speed and the number of tacklers increase with each level, and you earn points based on how quickly you read and react to the upcoming tackle. It's kind of a neat game, though it's hardly worth spending lots of time with. But for a pick-up-and-play amusement, it does the job.
End 2 End isn't the most unique mode in the world, but it's enjoyable enough for what it is.
Graphically, Madden 07 is a touch smoother than last year's game, but fundamentally it's almost exactly like Madden 06. Tackles and running back moves look a little less jerky this year, and generally the flow of a game looks closer to the PlayStation 2 version than its predecessor ever did, but the player models, arenas and other various visual elements are basically carbon copies, so don't expect any big new visual flair. Audio is similarly untouched. Sound effects are still good, the soundtrack is the same oddly mixed emo rock/rap combo from the console versions, and Al Michaels and John Madden still provide commentary. However, we noticed some occasional weird inconsistencies between what the commentators would call versus what was happening on the field.
As much as Madden NFL 07 is a better game than 06 was on the PSP last year, it's still saddled with too many annoying problems to make it wholly recommendable. That's too bad, because with the fixes this version does have, as well as the new gameplay features, it generally plays a captivating and engaging game of football. But with the random gameplay bugs and interface quirks, it's not as good as it could be. For the serious Madden enthusiast who demands a handheld version of the game, Madden NFL 07 is worth checking out, but be prepared to put up with some irritations.