With fall slowly approaching, it’s time for the annual release of Madden NFL by EA Sports.
Set for an August 30 release, Madden NFL 12 is yet another enhancement and ultimately better game than the previous iteration.
However, rather than feeling like a brand new game, it again feels like another update, though that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
Madden NFL 12 remains largely the same type of game as Madden NFL 11, but there have been some noticeable improvements under the hood and in the presentation department, with a few little additions here and there.
Madden NFL 12 gets a bit of a visual update with 3D grass that looks realistic and also degrades over time. Gamers will also see some improved lighting; you can track the sun’s movement, with realistic shadows throughout the field. Additionally, players will have uniform degradation and player-specific animations, while the overall art pops out a bit more due to a high contrast and colorful look.
EA has also updated the collision system for more accurate tackles that begin only at the point of contact, as opposed to starting earlier or automatically as has been the case in older versions. Players are better proportioned in size, while tackles also reflect momentum. The development team at EA Tiburon managed to get footage from NFL Films to properly recreate broadcast cams both on and off the field. Each team also has their real-life pre-game entrances, including any mascots, cheerleaders and flags.
Treading through a full season in Franchise mode, I found the experience to be pretty solid while appreciating some additions along the way. For starters, EA Tiburon added the ability to customize playbooks; not just by editing existing playbooks, but by allowing gamers to create their own from scratch by selecting from 75 different playbooks to allow up to 400 plays and 50 formations. The customized playbooks can be used in offline play, Play Now and Ranked Online matches. There are also new formations added into the game such as the Sub 2-3-6 and 6-4-1 Goal Line, to name a few. You’ll also find a much smarter A.I., meaning that the guy is also much harder.
Before the start of a season, you’ll also be able to make roster cuts after beginning with a 75-player team. By keeping a rookie or training camp invite on the roster all four weeks of preseason, gamers will be able to unlock all of their ratings to get a complete view of their overall talent.
While the duo of Chris Collinsworth and Gus Johnson do a formidable job again behind the mic, I found their commentary to get stale pretty quickly. Over the course of a season, you’ll hear them repeating the same stuff over and over again. I would have liked for the development team to have been able to throw in much more variety in that department. Meanwhile, features like Gameflow return once again to give gamers faster playcalling abilities and situational gameplans and I liked the ability to pump fake to specific receivers.
One of the bigger deals of the game is the Dynamic Player Performance which affects player behavior based on performances during a season. Players can get on hot and cold streaks while their Consistency/Confidence levels adjust accordingly, meaning they can be pretty consistent on the field or can have good games and bad games depending on where they stand.
Throughout the regular NFL season, there will be roster updates while players will have their confidence levels automatically adjusted depending on their real life performances. You’ll also notice attributes such as Clutch, Throwing Tight Spirals (QB), Big Hitter and others available.
One of my favorite aspects of the game is the new online communities. Gamers will be able to set up their own clubs where they can invite or allow up to 2000 members to fit their style. It’s great to be able to have a large, or small, pool of people to play with without having to deal with douchebags. Online Franchise also dishes out the ability to manage the franchise via leagueManager, an online community.
While the game as a whole might not feel like a brand new experience, the little updates here and there, polished visual presentation and the addition of Online Communities, Madden NFL 12 is another winning formula for the ultra popular franchise.