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Published on September 4th, 2011 | by Kyle Spencer, Editor

Madden NFL 12 Review

Platform: Xbox 360 [Reviewed] , PlayStion 3, Wii
Price: $59.99
Developer: EA Sports

It’s August and that means it is time for some “FOOTBALL!” Madden NFL Football makes it’s return, and even with an NFL lockout, which has since been resolved, has made its stomp back onto the field of play. Many times I get the questions of “Well what is different about this year as apposed to last years?” There are a lot riding on this year’s Madden. NCAA Football has risen the bar, slightly, and that leaves the NFL version something to be desired. So has EA hit the sweet spot that fans have been desiring for years? The quick answer is “Yes”, and “No”.

The Madden 2012 Presentation has received a great improvement. It has received the proper revamp that the series has needed for years. Each team has, for the first time, authentic player entrances. From the Lo-Key Steelers entrance, to the circus event of the Broncos every detail has been covered. Thanks to NFL Films, each teams home entrances were recorded with great detail and authenticity. EA Tiburon also used a new camera capture tech called “DCAM”, used by NFL Films cinematographers. Player animations have been revamped, so now when you actually score a touchdown, you can see the excitement in the players and coaching staff.

The lighting effects in this year’s version are stellar to look at. The rework on the progressive and linear lighting systems on this year’s version make for a very clear HD feel of a real NFL team. The shadow effect look amazing, so as the game progresses and the sun begins to set, the shadow effects and glares of the sun on the players helmets are a direct match.

This is the year that the Madden franchise has included the all new “Collision System”. You have control of each player up until the time that they are completely down by contact. I can’t count how many times that I saw a running back bounce off of a defender, shrug off another one, loose footing to put his arm down to regain his balance and keep trucking toward the goal line. These means that the momentum of the player running the ball, or tackling is taken into effect.

I have to admit that the animations and overall game-play had me hooked on game one. EA Tiburon had a huge focus on the AI and player animations. Now the player AI will read the eyes of your Quarterback and adjust based on your players movements. It also appears that the games AI will also adjust your own players depending on the situation they are in. If you have a player that tends to choke a lot under pressure, chances are he will fall when he is in a must score position.

The biggest upgrade to Madden is the Franchise Mode. No longer is it a standard play the season of your favorite team mode, instead it puts you in the true role of a player on your favorite team. Every players rating will change from game to game based on their performance. Even rookie quarterbacks that are inconsistent will become more consistent with their age and tenure in the NFL. This mode is also very rewarding in that the level of difficulty. If you are an avid “ALL Madden” difficulty player, it is extremely difficult. You also control over every aspect of your team as well. You can expand the rosters and become active in the cut days, and with the new rookie scouting system you can now find the best young talent to develop your team for the current season and beyond.

All the extra modes from Madden 11 return for 12. Ultimate Team, Madden Moments, and Be a Superstar are back with some improvements, but overall feature similar game-play elements from the year prior.

The player animations are incredible

The online play of Madden is similar to last year’s iteration, however I think EA has got to fix a lot of the servers before a game of this magnitude ships to the masses. For a few days now, including weekend play have had server crashing issues, to where I was consistently kicked off of EA servers. Sadly enough, unless your are connected to their server and receive the updated roster, you will be playing with your favorite team from the year prior. So if you thought you were going to get Ochocinco on the New England Patriots you will not be able to. The game modes are there, and the little time that we actually were able to play the online, the franchise mode was uplifted with further options for drafts, contracts, and managing your team from their own website. Along with the online franchise makeover, the added online community was a nice update. With the Madden NFL 12 Online Community you can meet up with like minded players of similar skill sets, and attitudes and play head to head and online team play. This is essential especially when you are trying to keep the jerks out of your game lobbies.

The Final Truth:
This year’s Madden is not perfect but is better than years prior. With the updates to the animations and lighting engines Madden is making great strives to look like one of the best sports titles to hit the market. The features have seen upgrades, and game play has received upgrades as well. Even they are not ground breaking, they are noticeable enough and are flushed out over the entire game. Fans of the series will not be disappointed, and instead will be getting a much better Madden game than years prior. Sadly there were no added game modes to this year’s version so if you were bored with Madden last year, you may very well be bored with this years, but if you are die hard NFL fan, this is a much tighter football experience.

[xrr label=”Rating: 8.5/10″ rating=8.5/10]
+ Richer graphics
+ Improved AI
+ Realistic light effects
+ Online Community
– EA Server crashes
– Rosters inconsistent

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About the Author

I have been a video game enthusiast for many many years, and have been in the industry for the last 10 years. I love what I do and I love, well VIDEO GAMES! I have a degree in computer programming and currently working on a arcade/indie title.

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