Madden NFL 12 review
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Madden NFL 12 is another tight package with improved AI, animations, and online communities. Most of the updates are under the hood, but diehard NFL fans will enjoy the tweaks in 12, even if they are minor.
- The NFL broadcast presentation
- Improved animations and real player style
- Online communities
- The lack of major changes to the series, including game modes
- Graphical-related pop ups and errors return
- The commentary, which is practically broken
For a lot of Americans, the start of the football season (and, yes, I mean good old fashioned American pigskin-style football) is better than Christmas. A lot of those diehard football fans are the crowd that buys each new Madden game that EA Sports puts out year after year. For those fans, this reviewer’s comments are simple: it’s about the same as last year, the commentary is noticeably poor, the AI is much better, the animations are improved, but overall it’s a lot like every other Madden game. Let’s face it; most Madden fans don’t expect many changes year to year, simply because EA Sports doesn’t deliver much in this respect. However, even the smallest of tweaks are likely enough to keep sales of this popular sports title quite high.
The most noticeable change to Madden NFL 12 is that presentation values mimic Sunday’s NFL game time. New camera angles work really well for that broadcast shine, while getting a player’s perspective during the coin toss are nice little touches. This works particularly well with a cold adult beverage and some greasy nachos. Unfortunately, EA Sports missed an opportunity to delve even deeper into this game day presentation. The commentary is downright terrible. It’s not so much what the duo (Cris Collinsworth and Gus Johnson) has to say, it’s when they say it, and the fact that they sound like robots. They are both good commentators, but this year’s effort feels broken. This doesn’t kill the game, but it does kill that almost-believable-Sunday feel. You’ll notice that sometimes they are still talking about a QB sack well after the following play. It just doesn’t work this year at all, and to make matters worse, there are other sports games that do a much better job at the commentary.
The animation and control system are really tight this year. You have a ton of control over your player, which is perhaps the landmark addition in Madden NFL 12. The collision system is quite solid this year, and you’ll get a sense of how hard it is to knock over a lineman compared to a little running back. The AI also sees a great overhaul this year, meaning some of the best changes to the game happen on the field in the heat of the action. Your teammates create holes for your running back and your opponent’s quarterback generally doesn’t make stupid passes to heavily marked receivers. This may be one of the toughest Madden games in years, and that’s certainly a welcome change from prior entries. Actual player styles vary, sometimes with subtle results, but real diehard NFL fans may be able to pick their QB’s scramble without checking out their jersey.
The faster play style returns this year through Gameflow, but not without some small changes. You can now pick plays that are conservative, aggressive, or stick with the gameplan. It’s a blind call, though, and hardcore fans probably won’t be bothered to even work with this system. For the casual player, it’s a system that works fairly well, but getting a bit more detail about the play’s formation would help. There aren’t huge additions or changes to game modes outside of Franchise. You’ll get free agent bidding wars, a new rookie scouting system, a free-agent building system, cold streaks and hot streaks, and expanded rosters to give you plenty of customization. Luckily, EA Tiburon does a good job of keeping it simple for the casual football fan. You can automate just about everything, allowing you to focus on the field, not the management.
Be a Superstar mode is pretty fun, largely based on the new progression system that plays out like a mini role-playing game, complete with skill point customization. Online didn’t get a big boost this year, that is, except for the new communities. You can join up to 2,000 players, compete for the leaderboards and team up with fellow members to play ranked Team Play against other communities. It’s one of the strongest additions and something that will keep the diehard fans busy until the end of the NFL season.
There are some great additions to the broadcast-style presentation, online communities, the AI, animations, and controls. This is enough to mark-up Madden NFL 12 as ... (continued on next page)
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