The ultimate publicity machine in the video game world must be the parade surrounding the annual release of “Madden 12 NFL.” The only other game that comes close to that fanfare is “Call Of Duty.”
The entire soccer world appears to be involved in the game’s marketing, which is a source of funding for EA.
All this hype is bound to disappoint a lot of people. It will also likely receive unwarranted criticism from internet trolls whose sole purpose in life is to bash people and things on the internet.
I played “Madden 12 NFL” for over a week and have compiled my thoughts and impressions into this review.
Let’s take a close-up look at this year’s version, evaluating it from all angles.
Graphics & Animation
Excellent visuals are now a prerequisite for any game. However, that alone does not make a game. Madden 12 NFL” is a truly great-looking game. Improvements to the player models are casual, and the most noticeable upgrades are the equipment details, 3D turf and lighting.
The lighting is several steps up from what it used to be; it is not simply a change from light to dark at halftime of a 4:15 p.m. start time game. The gradual darkening is nice and realistic.
As for player detail, the faces are more accurately rendered; the player detail portraits that EA has added are just about flawless; take a look at Jay Cutler, Aaron Rodgers, Chad Ocho Cinco, and Stephen Jackson.
Gameplay and Realism
Over the years, there have been many things in “Madden” that sports gamers dislike. They are little nuances that diminish the simulation value of gameplay.
In “Madden 12,” EA has addressed many of those points. First, there is the issue of suction blocking. This is an example of an offensive lineman locking on to a defender so close that the defender appears to be sucked into the block.
It kind of looks like those deep reflection scenes in all those Spike Lee movies where the hero is gliding. But this problem is solved, and all the blocks come from real contact.
The “rocket catch” was a favorite of any gamer who used elite receivers like Randy Moss and Terrell Owens. The catch itself has not been completely removed, but the unrealistic instances of it occurring are gone.
The running game is top-notch and the best I have ever played in video game football.
The passing game has grown by leaps and bounds on both sides of the ball; QB arm motion and accuracy are also very high.
The gameplay in Madden 12 is the best in the series long history. This is a big statement, but it is true.
It is the best gameplay in the history of video game football.
I rate this category a 9.5 out of 10.
Sound & Presentation
I always put these two categories together, but this time I am putting together one of the best and two of the worst features of “Madden 12”.
The first and worst is that the sound is terrible; within two or three games, you’ll hear the same phrases repeatedly.
While it tries to make the conversations between Cris Collinsworth and Gus Johnson worthwhile, the results are nowhere near the quality that sports gamers can experience in the “NBA2K” series.
All such approaches must be scrapped, and all commentary aspects must be redone from the ground up.
The presentation value is delightful, unlike the awful sound; it feels like an NFL broadcast on FOX or CBS. The stat overlays, camera angles, and player introductions are outstanding.
Game Modes and Online Play
Madden 12 does not bring any new modes of play to this year’s version but enhances and refines the existing ones.
Madden Communities, while new, is more of an enhancement to the online experience than a new mode.
In Communities, you can set up your game, and each person in the community can play in that setting. This way, you can always play the game style you want.
If you prefer to play quarters of 15 minutes each without an accelerated clock, create a community, and you and all members will play with that setting.
Also, the return of the Online Franchise and Madden Ultimate Team is a welcome addition. The Online Franchise remains largely unchanged, and while it would have been nice to create more features that mirror the offline version, it is still a powerful mode of play.
Ultimate Team has added several features. It includes Legend Packs as well as the option to trade player cards.
You can purchase Legend Packs and add players such as Walter Payton and Barry Sanders. It’s only available in Ultimate Team right now, which is too bad, but it’s cool as an Ultimate Team mode.
All things considered, this is the best Madden ever. It’s not perfect, and I don’t know if that’s even possible, but it does have some obvious flaws.
However, it is very encouraging to know that an even better product may be on the horizon in 2013.
If you are a soccer game fan, this is a must-have and a contender for Sports Game of the Year, at least until “NBA2K12” is released.
The overall rating for Madden 12 is 8.5 out of 10.