When you hear the words “milked franchise” Madden often comes to mind. The reason being is there are hardly any changes with the newest iteration, other than some slight improvements here and there and an updated roster. The team over at EA Tiburon has taken this criticism to heart and have strived to really improve the latest installments of the Madden franchise. With that being said Madden 2012 in my opinion has to be the best version of Madden to date.
I’ll remind everyone to take everything I’m with a grain of salt. I have been playing Madden for nearly ten plus years and I remember the glory days of Madden, when it actually felt like a football game and less like the sport on TV. What I mean by this is there weren’t any fancy camera angles when kicking the ball, no fancy camera angles before the pre-snap, and the defensive hot route menu didn’t activate because you wanted to hurry up and get back to the action. And most importantly the game didn’t hold you by the hand. I understand playing a sports game like Madden can be extremely difficult to newcomers, but isn’t that the reason for an easy difficulty setting, or how about sliders that can adjust the computers intelligence level? Or even better, the games built in Training Camp that will go over all the positions you will play in a single game of Madden.
Please excuse me for my semi-rant there. Now that it’s out the way we can actually focus on the pros and cons of this year’s game. The best way I figured to cover everything is to give each thing its own individual section, hence the below PROS and CONS section.
One of the major gripes I have with the game is the camera angles, why do I have to look at the teams kicking the ball from the left/right side during a kick off? Or when I need to kick a field goal the camera zooms out to almost a box view of me kicking? They didn’t need to change the camera views on that at all, something else that bugs me is you have the option for the classic view. But you would think after selecting it I don’t know say three times in a row the game would remember that “Player A” doesn’t like the dynamic view, so load the classic view. But apparently they decided we would enjoy hitting the trigger buttons to get the classic view back again and again and again.
This has to be one of the things that has plagued Madden for generations, and it is still present, albeit not as much as last year’s iteration. There were several instances within the game where my wide receivers would not even motion to catch the ball when they we’re clearly within range of it. In NCAA 2012 the college players make more of an effort than the Madden 2012 players, it’s absolutely appalling the blatant laziness. And please don’t give me that BS about ball awareness, and speaking of awareness. How is it the computers A.I manages to know the exact moment to deflect the ball when their clearly not looking back at the Quarterback throwing it? In these situations the wide receiver should have a slight advantage because A) he’ll know before he leaves the huddle the ball is coming to him. OR B) he’ll be looking at the Quarterback for the first 20 yards or so of his route.
The last thing I noticed is the Quarterback. Usually when you want to throw a bullet (fast throw, usually between 10-25 yards) it leaves your hands immediately. Now it actually takes a moment to leave your hands and this can be a good thing and a bad thing. Bad) if you need to get the ball out quickly to receiver for a short gain. Good) if you’re on defensive side of the ball, because it gives you a few more seconds for a sack.
They still have the options for last year’s Madden that featured GameFlow; which drastically speeds up time between plays by pre selecting plays for you to choose from based on what the defense looks like. The standard 3 block, playbook is available as well. EA Tiburon added something I really like. If you’re new to the world of Madden there are many types of defensive coverage’s that you probably heard of, but never knew what they meant or when to use them or when you were selecting them. EA Tiburon has integrated within the play calling menu, what each play does exactly. So if you want to blitz the offense, you’ll see at the bottom right of the play call screen a small red box with the word “Blitz” inside of it. Stating that this play will blitz the offense, or if you want to do a “man-to-man” coverage you’ll see a small box highlighted green with the lettering in it. Doing something like this is truly innovative to me and will help ease people into the game better when choosing specific plays for certain situations.
Besides the issues with the quarterbacks holding onto the ball too long or the wide receivers being lazy, when you get the ball in your hands the game feels smooth. They have completely eliminated the stop and go issue you would feel when running with the ball. They even made the game more intuitive to the specific players run style. I felt subtle differences when running with my Half Back vs. running with the Corner Back during an interception. Braking tackles is now completely streamlined. Whenever you break tackles now whether it is from juking or a spin move the player will try his hardest to keep that momentum to get extra yards. Previous versions of Madden had issues where whenever a player would break a tackle they would either get stuck in the animation for far too long and be tackled soon after, or they would break the tackle and run backwards which is not helpful at all in a game of inches. Overall I am happy about the feel of the game.
Graphically Madden has been one of those games that would jump slightly with each new iteration, but this years jumped by a lot. It looks absolutely beautiful besides the crowd and mascots; those have always looked a bit blocky to me. They’ve paid incredible detail to the uniforms and the players on the field. Even the cooler filled with Gatorade looked good, the one glitch I did notice is the bears mascot only had one ear loaded in on the demo. I’m assuming it was a glitch and won’t be in the final product.
All-in-all this is only an impression of what I managed to get from the Demo. Hopefully the full game will not have the issues in it that I listed in this article. Madden 2012 will be available on August 30th 2012, but I recommend you wait at least one week for them to do the roster updates and patch all the online issues. Because if history tells us anything, a majority of the games released this generation have patches or fixes that you need to download first.