For 17 weeks each fall my Sundays are occupied. When I buy a new TV the first question I have is “How will the game look on this?” I obsess over trades and line changes. And I yell. I yell at my TV as if the QB will hear my screams through my television and into his earpiece. I will never be a professional football player. I have accepted this. Actually I accepted this when I was eight years old. But I will always have John Madden football. Each year, EA Sports attempts to satiate my football fantasy with a new installment. Did they succeed in helping me realize my dream of being the ultimate football star, or am I no better than the Cincinnati Bengals?
If you haven't played a Madden football game in the last few years you will be pleasantly surprised by some of the changes to the game. For starters, the streamlined, quick play calling is a great feature. There are also simplified controls, highlighted by the removal of the sprint button. It seems minor and you can go back to the older control scheme in the options menu, but I found not having an extra button to hold while running made me focus more on my spins and jukes. In the end, this made me a better player. Another fix is the ability to quickly select a player while on defense before the play. No longer do you have to quickly hit the B button until you find your guy. You just hold the button and cycle through with the analog stick. It sounds so minor, but it may be my favorite control feature.
There are a ton of game modes to try with these new controls. From a one-off exhibition game, to the robust Franchise Mode. You can even play in an online franchise. For me the most interesting mode is the Ultimate Team. Your team is decided by a deck of cards where each player is represented by card. There are 4 levels of cards: Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Legendary. The game starts you off with an all Bronze team. You can earn coins for new decks by playing games with your awful Bronze team, or buy new decks with real money. It is fun alternative to Franchise but if you feel that your initial sixty dollar investment was enough, you may find Madden Ultimate Team more frustrating. I found it nearly impossible to compete with an all Bronze team against a team with even one Gold level player.
I was also disappointed by the audio. Madden is as much about the television football experience as it is the player experience. The announcers, Chris Collinsworth and Gus Johnson, may be the best out there today, but the game does not reflect this. Their lines are edited where player name drops sound like a skipping CD. Quotes repeated constantly and this is really apparent in Franchise Mode. I do not need to hear that same one liner about the Jets’ defense in every game. I’d rather there be nothing than the lazy one line per team production value they put into this.
Madden NFL 12 does not re-invent the football videogame, but it does maintain it. If you buy Madden every year, this game will be enough to satisfy you until next year. If you have not played Madden this generation, you will be pleasantly surprised by the changes. But if you are waiting for the perfect football videogame, you may want to wait for EA Sports Roster Update 2013. Very Good Outstanding | Very Good | Fair | Poor | AwfulRecommended Buy Price: $40.00Current MSRP: $59.99Madden NFL 12 was provided for review by Electronic Arts. I played the game for nine hours accumulating 3 out of 36 Achievements for 55 GamerScore. Madden NFL 12 is available for just about anything that plays videogames including the PlayStation 2.