Each year the guys at EA attempt to take the Madden series further into the minds and bodies of NFL players, and for me MADDEN 12 is definitely another step in the right direction.
This time they’ve also brought in the BIG GUNS from the likes of Green Bay Packers’ Clay Matthews, New Orleans Saints’ RB Reggie Bush, and St. Louis Rams Quarterback Sam Bradford to name but a few.
New features include the all new DEFENCE COVERAGE which sees tackles only beginning upon close contact (forget those superman impressions from previous games), while additional team members can now join in the action, adding more momentum to get that all important take down.
Newly balancing aspects show a greater attention to detail in physical movements and collisions, but while this technology has improved in MADDEN 12 it’s still easy to get “lost in the pack” on run plays. Loosing your player in the crowd and reverting to caveman like button bashing to try and find a free player can cause a disruption to the flow of the game at times.
Another major focus in the new game is the FRANCHISE MODE, undertaking fans views, comments and suggestions from the community in roughly 25 new features and improvements.
These range from Week on Week ratings which change, as it suggests weekly, (like other EA titles such as FIFA), cut days on expanded rosters, rookie scouting and taking up to 75 young players into your camp for your selection and progression.
FREE AGENT BIDDING is a gripping and fast paced bidding system allowing you to choose from the free agents most likely to help you in your quest for silverware. This time player roles have also been integrated back into franchise mode edging an even deeper element to an RPG experience.
It’s not perfect. I was disappointed to see the CREATE A SUPERSTAR mode missing in MADDEN 12, something I think would have expanded the game play and life expectancy of the game, but I am pleased to report Xbox LIVE play has improved.
Playing ‘real’ opponents online removes the AI logic adding an edge of unpredictability to games (and fun too), while jitters and bugs, connection times and lagging issues seems to be a thing of the past, leading to an entirely more enjoyable experience.
Overall there is still more than enough good stuff to warrant further investigation into the franchise and MADDEN 12 is best played with friends on a Saturday night in, to an early morning sunrise session tackling the season with glorious victory.
Published: Electronic Arts
Developed: EA Sports
Platforms: Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, PS2