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The NFL Football season is upon us! That means sports talk at the water cooler, people displaying their team colors and of course the yearly tradition of a new Madden game. This also means that there is a bevy of improvements and changes that have happened over the last year as well. We had an opportunity to get our hands on the game early from EA and take these new features out for a spin.
First off, the visual polish that has been applied to Madden 12 is shocking. Not only are the graphics more realistic than ever but this year it seems to be all about the little things that matter big. To start things out, as a NFC North fan (Skol Vikings), Soldier Field is finally in Madden 12. Seeing it in all of it’s muggy glory, rendered to near perfection, was amazing! I couldn’t wait to get a few picks off of Jay Cutler. The game now features all 33 stadiums, one for each team and the Pro Bowl stadium as well. The special things that each stadium features is also included as well, the Vikings inflatable ship is prominently displayed as they run through it to take the field, just as you would expect in real life. Seattle proudly displays their “12th Man” flag and Raymond James stadium’s pirate ship (and cannons!) in the end zone. The direction EA seemed to take this time around was to go right for the experience of watching a game on TV.
That brings us to my favorite feature that has been rehashed, players will actually mimic their real life counterparts quite efficiently. Get a few sacks on Cutler and watch him start trying to throw the ball in places in has no business going. Think you have a solid tackle on Payton Hillis? Dust those shoe prints off of you after he runs you over like a truck. Less reliable Quarterbacks will now throw balls that have loose spirals and QBs like Tom Brady are completely prepared to finish a 5 step drop and get their ball off before you even get around the corner. Face it, most of the things that you have come to love and hate about Sundays has now been but into football fans favorite Tuesday through Saturday activity.
Something that Madden has always been about since the days of polygon players has been a true to life presentation feel. They have improved team entrances and the “broadcast” itself, meaning you can actually expect some conversation banter in between your commentators. It feels like Cris Collinsworth is waiting to jump in and snipe a witty comment just like when does every Sunday night. One of the funniest things I heard while playing was the commentators making fun of Howie Long after his son made an impressive tackle. Another great thing that I noticed was during sideline catches, Chris and Gus would excitedly debate if it was a catch while the referees conferred with each other on the field, all while the player pleaded their case.
The game is littered with different play modes as well, I played through an entire season and after the draft I didn’t really feel like going through another preseason. I imported my NCAA 12 Quarterback and had him get drafted and got to enjoy the RPG-like superstar mode, where my performance on the field game me experience to level my stats up. I also played around with the Marvel Ultimate Team as well, collecting cards for my players and doing what I could to build a super team. My favorite feature of Madden returned as well this year, the Madden Moments are back and I already enjoyed playing through 5 of the most critical scenarios that took place last year. I am still 4 for 5, I just can’t replicate the amazing comeback that the Eagles had against the Giants, I’ve been close but no cigar yet. The great thing about Madden 12 is that once you tire of one game mode, there is another ready to take it’s place.
The online community is a very large factor into what makes Madden so popular. The game features an online community system that allows you to invite people to your community and play games using your own rules among each other. I invite you to join ours, it is “Gaming Irresponsibly” you really can’t miss it. Now with all the love that the game has for the online communities and features, I noticed it still takes a significant time to connect to the system and to access certain online features. These are most likely pre-release bumps that will soon be fixed I’d imagine. The matchmaking system still does what it can to make sure that it does consistently match you up with players at your ability, as well as it can at least.
Madden 12 certainly offers quite a bit of improvement over it’s predecessors. EA clearly listened to it’s fans and made the necessary adjustments to make sure they continued to deliver the premier Football experience to every fan of the franchise. With a realistic gameday experience and some of the best visuals I have seen in a sports game, Madden 12 continues to one up itself time and time again. I am happy to say that all the they have indeed delivered on all the promises that they offered fans and I do look forward to seeing where they go from here.
I give Madden NFL 12 an offset score of 9.7, it is once again almost everything I expect in a Football game.
How do these ratings work? Click here for descriptions!
- 75 man preseason roster!
- Stunning graphics
- Realistic player tendencies
- Large variety of game modes
- Loading times can be a little cumbersome
- Some starting players didn’t have spoken names at the time of the review