PS3 Reviews: Madden NFL 12 Review

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Madden NFL 12 Review

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Graphics:

 

8.2

Gameplay:

 

7.5

Sound:

 

7.2

Control:

 

7.8

Replay Value:

 

8.1

Online Gameplay:

 

8.3

Overall Rating:       7.7

 

 

Publisher:

EA Sports

Developer:

EA Tiburon

Number Of Players:

1-6

Genre:

Sports

I have been a fan of this series for 19 years. Although I haven’t had time to play every recent installment to my heart’s content, I’m quite familiar with the franchise’s progression over time. And to be brutally frank, this is the least amount of fun I’ve had with an entry. It’s not that Madden NFL 12 is a bad game; it’s more strategic than ever, online play seems better, and the overall package really is solid. But not much has changed in comparison to last year’s effort, and in my opinion, EA Tiburon made some very questionable decisions. And they still haven’t fixed the lingering flaws, which is more than a little irritating.

The graphics are actually the best part of this production, as that 3D grass we’ve heard so much about is quite attractive, and there are more player animations than ever. Those are darn pretty, too. Plus, if I’m remembering last year’s installment correctly, I’d have to say this year’s is brighter and features better shading and coloring the whole way ‘round. The bottom line is that this looks like football so from a visual standpoint, the game makes its case for the label of “super-realistic simulator.” The cheerleaders are still too robotic and plastic-y, but all in all, Madden NFL 12 looks great.

I’ve never been a big fan of the music available in recent Maddens, but that’s probably because I don’t like hip hop at all. That’s subjective but the hit or miss commentary isn’t anywhere near as subjective; the typically spot-on voiceover work seems…I dunno, tired, I guess. It’s just that I’ve heard all this before; it’s not that guys like Cris Collinsworth are incompetent (they’re really not), but did they even record new lines for this year’s game? On top of which, far too many calls come too late, which hinders the flow of the game. The effects are excellent, though, and the overall balance remains top-notch.

Okay, before I vent a little, let’s enjoy the good stuff; it starts with the amped-up AI. There are tons of different options available to the player: you can actually set the impact rating for a defenseman (i.e., how hard they hit), and dictate how a player performs under pressure. The game takes various tendencies into account, too, as scrambling QBs will take off if they spot a seam and a particularly opportunistic linebacker will try to exploit a hole in the offensive line. The AI seems a lot smarter on the whole, which is both good and bad; in truth, I felt outmatched quite often. The game is pretty freakin’ hard if you’re not used to Madden, by the way.

Then there’s the improved tackling system. Everything is more authentic and we don’t have those cheating shoestring tackles from last year (oh, it’s true, they were there). You also won’t get sucked into another player and in terms of control, you just feel more competent and confident. And you’ll need all the confidence you can get, because that Franchise mode is a definite challenge from top to bottom. I also appreciate the added strategy that goes into the actual planning and ultimate execution; it’s a little more troublesome because of some slow menus, but it’s worth the time. Hardcore pigskin fans with plenty of patience and dedication will be rewarded.

But then things start to slide downhill. First on the agenda is the ball physics, which still aren’t right. Balls that bounce off players or get knocked around make some truly ridiculous hops and spins, and while comical, it’s starting to get old. Secondly, the camera angles just don’t seem as sharp or as agreeable; I couldn’t seem to find one I really liked. Could just be me, though. Thirdly, there’s a definite collision detection issue that can get downright infuriating. "Why did I miss that tackle? My hands were on him." Oh but wait; if you check the replay, it proves that the ball carrier literally ran through half your body.

Also, there are no new modes; everything you see was included in last year’s title. They even took away one of my favorite mainstays of the series; the manually controlled instant replays. Now, the game will automatically show you replays of certain plays. Ideally, this would only feature the game-breaking plays that made the crowd stand and cheer but no, they’ll replay three-yard runs up the middle from the 39 to the 42. And then, when you intercept the ball with a 4-point lead and 2:30 left in the game, no replay shows up. The way to avoid all this is to jump online and get involved with some friends: the matchmaking has been improved and it’s a relatively smooth experience.

But the bottom line is that Madden NFL 12 just isn’t a significant upgrade by any stretch of the imagination, despite some noted enhancements. They ignore things like crazy ball physics and collision detection problems, and opt for changes that are just plain bizarre. I liked the increased AI, the strategic demand, the cool animations and sweet visuals, and better tackling mechanics. I really liked all that. But the rest feels either dated or uninspired and in the end, I just don’t have much fun with this year’s entry. It’s still realistic and features plenty of content and depth (as always), but I remain underwhelmed.

The Good: Great detail and animations. Better tackling system. Gridiron strategy has hit a new level. Smarter AI, especially on defense. More streamlined online action.

The Bad: Commentary is tired and inconsistent. Ball physics are still wonky. New replay system was a mistake. Annoying collision detection issues. Just feels too similar to Madden NFL 11.

The Ugly: “Fumble recovery! So awesome…hey, where’s my replay?”

9/1/2011 Ben Dutka

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Comments (22 posts)

PasteNuggs
Thursday, September 01, 2011 @ 10:19:12 PM
Reply

I haven't bought a Madden Game since 2005. I just can't buy a game that will literally be the same over and over.

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Temjin001
Thursday, September 01, 2011 @ 10:33:00 PM

Well, I say 6 years of madden's would warrant a renewal. The last madden I owned before 2010 was 2007, well worth it too.

Last edited by Temjin001 on 9/1/2011 10:33:19 PM

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LimitedVertigo
Thursday, September 01, 2011 @ 11:24:51 PM

I too haven't bought a Madden since 05 and I don't feel I'm missing out. As I've gotten older I've grown less fond of this genre.

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StangMan80
Thursday, September 01, 2011 @ 11:29:35 PM

COD *cough cough*

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Temjin001
Thursday, September 01, 2011 @ 10:42:57 PM
Reply

Well, I was sort of feeling this would be my first PS3 Madden. Having compared the demos between this one and the 360, I'm pretty certain the PS3 version has some sort of edge smoothing MLAA implemented.
I like that the game appears to be smarter. It's too bad they can't seem to get the hit detection stuff down. I'd be angry if hands passed through the player too.
Weak sauce about that replays though. I love having manual control over that stuff, especially while humming Chariots of Fire (well, hehe not actually)to the touchdown run in slow mo.

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Highlander
Thursday, September 01, 2011 @ 11:00:25 PM
Reply

What of Franchise mode? Many players (myself included) never play madden using any other mode. In some ways Madden always feels like two games because on the one hand you have the modes where you control the player, or are the player (Superstar mode). But in Franchise you're the Coach/GM/Owner. It's a completely different game and way to play. Did you delve much into that?

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Thursday, September 01, 2011 @ 11:01:40 PM

It's fine. It's just not much different than before, even if it's harder.

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LimitedVertigo
Thursday, September 01, 2011 @ 11:25:07 PM

Um Highlander we're going to be busy with WKCII.

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Highlander
Thursday, September 01, 2011 @ 11:31:16 PM

Say Ben,

Wasn't there a premier tonight? I was there just now, new video up and rolling, but....no mention of it. Did the Home people not send you a notification of the street date for the new show?

Anyway, pretty cool show, though you need a different microphone the sound level at the beginning was a little difficult to hear. Looking forward to the next installment. In the meantime I guess I'll have to step into the sunshine occasionally and see whether the water effects in WKC are really as good as nature...

One way or the other Highlander was there, and ready for the red carpet, but not a single paparazzi was around, I even had to take my own pictures!

Last edited by Highlander on 9/1/2011 11:32:15 PM

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Friday, September 02, 2011 @ 12:39:42 AM

Yeah, but as we had no power, I really couldn't schedule a party.

Don't worry, though; I'm putting up an a story tomorrow with the Home update. We'll get to that party for Ep. #6. :)

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StangMan80
Thursday, September 01, 2011 @ 11:41:11 PM
Reply

Will EA ever deliver a good football game?
Stupid pigs kept 2K from making all of us football fans from enjoying football with a controller.
EA sports and The NFL's Contract ends in 2012. So after the 2012 NFL season I hope 2K can make a deal and get working on an amazing game. 2k NFL05 is still the best football game, but you don't have updated rosters. SO it kinda sucks.
So maybe give 2K sports a couple of years to deliver a game at the beginning of 13. so maybe we will see NFL 2k15. :D

Madden really sucks.. EA sports is punishing us. I'm buying it used, I don't want to give them my money... oh yeah, pay to play. Crap! I think ima pass unless I can get it real cheap.

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schillah
Friday, September 02, 2011 @ 1:31:53 AM
Reply

Idk about the "Just feels too similar to Madden NFL 11."

This game plays so different from '11 with the new tackling, breaking tackles, smart coverage, and new kicking system..it does have its flaws but I think 7.7 is kinda low for this game.

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Qubex
Friday, September 02, 2011 @ 3:05:08 AM

Such a great avatar schillah :)

Q!

"play.experience.enjoy"

Last edited by Qubex on 9/2/2011 3:05:30 AM

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Friday, September 02, 2011 @ 9:48:39 AM

I'm hardly the only one to say it. Small improvements don't make for a full-year upgrade.

Last edited by Ben Dutka PSXE on 9/2/2011 10:18:42 AM

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Highlander
Friday, September 02, 2011 @ 10:16:13 AM

Well, I think that if this was the first game in the series, or the first game since the 2010 version, then perhaps the score would have been higher. But reading between the lines, I'm sensing the usual problem for Madden every year, small incremental improvements over last year make for a good game, but nothing exceptional. So a score of 75-80 is the score I'd expect for a good game, after all it's only an incremental upgrade to an existing game.

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KNG201
Friday, September 02, 2011 @ 8:06:32 AM
Reply

much better then 09 10 & 11 a big improvement in my opinion.

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maxpontiac
Friday, September 02, 2011 @ 9:46:15 AM
Reply

With the 7.5 to 9.0 scores it's getting all over the net, it seems this years Madden is just another case of rinse and repeat.

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Highlander
Friday, September 02, 2011 @ 10:16:41 AM

Franchise mode is apparently better, but the user interface for it is not. So it's a mixed bag.

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Jed
Saturday, September 03, 2011 @ 5:30:47 AM
Reply

I have only tried one Madden game (07) since the EA travesty began and the NFL 2K games stopped. I only hope that the exclusivity contract between EA and the NFL will end as soon as possible.

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Spanky
Saturday, September 03, 2011 @ 8:52:36 AM
Reply

I'm a franchise guy...I go straight to franchise mode after I obsess over the roster discrepencies and ratings. My biggest complaint is the lack of realism in player performance, AI etc... while spectating the new teams that I've built each franchise year. OCD? Maybe. ,but, that's what I like to do the ya know GM stuff. In the the pre-season games I'm not seeing a huge difference in a QB with an 89 rating vs say a 56, and the overall AI and clock management is horrible.

Am I the only one who likes to micro-manage their Madden, and then spectate the results? I cannot imagine that I am or they wouldn't keep putting franchise mode in AND If this is indeed the case why can't they tweak the franchise in areas where we want it instead of changing the blasted interface every year! I'm sure I'm getting carpel tunnel in my left thumb from all the contortions needed in trying to trade one my my players! ack.

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unnavigated
Saturday, September 03, 2011 @ 2:32:27 PM
Reply

So I can get Madden 11 at a cheaper price and not miss out on anything significant...? ;)

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Weaverpsu
Thursday, September 15, 2011 @ 2:04:10 PM
Reply

Last year and this year are the only ones I've missed buying in a long time. Why doesn't Sony bring back Gameday? I mean after the monopoly ends....

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