A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that there are some in-game ads and unsportsmanlike behavior such as excessive celebration upon scoring, taunting of other teams, and delivering rough fouls. The difficulty levels are adjustable, but some of the controls, menus, and modes are probably too complex for young players. Parents should also note that kids can play online (Common Sense Media does not recommend online play for anyone under age 12) and be exposed to plenty of trash-talking.
What's it about?
NCAA 07 MARCH MADNESS offers more than 200 teams from which to choose, and many play in great-looking versions of their real arenas on the Xbox 360. Once players select their favorite school, they can play a quick game, a tournament, or a dynasty mode. In the dynasty option, players manage the minutiae of a college program (schedule, recruiting, etc.), and can either play the games in their schedule or simulate them over multiple seasons.
March Madness 07 innovates on the defensive side of the game with a mechanic called the \"lockdown stick.\" Players can use one of the thumbsticks to counter the motion of an opponent ball-carrier, which can fence opponents in and lead to steals. Another new feature is a game-intensity control: If players get enough steals, breakaways, or other hot plays, they can capitalize on that momentum and change the dynamics of the play by pumping up the crowd or intimidating the opposing team.
Is it any good?
Casual fans of the college game will find a lot to like, but players with a lot of sports game experience may notice some skimpiness in the modes of play. The presentation is, for the most part, amazing. Not only do the players and arenas look good, but the game boasts many details such as celebration animations after big scores and the reflection of the cheerleaders in the polished wood floors. There is some in-game advertising and overbearing announcers, but more often than not, the game is beautiful.
Unfortunately, the same level of TLC wasn't carried through to the gameplay. While the controls are relatively easy to pick up, some of the on-court action feels sloppy, including less than intelligent play by the computer-controlled teammates and overactive foul detection that makes steals and blocks very difficult to pull off. Team practice might help, but there is no practice mode. The game's online support includes play against human opponents and a link to ESPN's scores and talk.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the importance of teamwork and good sportsmanship. What kinds of plays do you find appealing: showy breakaways and dunks or coordinated efforts involving the whole squad? Families also can discuss the role of athletics in school. For online play, parents may wish to discuss sportsmanship and etiquette for video games.
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.