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Review: Madden NFL 12 (XBox 360)

Posted by Wombat, 03 September 2011 · 422 views

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.

Posted Image Very Good
Outstanding | Very Good | Fair | Poor | Awful

Recommended Buy Price: $40.00
Current MSRP: $59.99

Madden 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.




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.

Posted Image Very Good
Outstanding | Very Good | Fair | Poor | Awful

Recommended Buy Price: $40.00
Current MSRP: $59.99

Madden 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.
Nice review, Wombat. I haven't really played Madden in several years; maybe this is the year for me to check back in. Are the achievements that difficult to get, or are they mostly based in modes you weren't playing? Or, and I ask this as respectfully as possible, do you suck that much?
Thanks for the objective review, I appreciate your frustrations with Madden. Indeed, please permit me to indulge in a brief rant.

Seven years and EA has yet to produce a football sim that approaches 2K5. The early Madden games were revolutionary, but the series has been stagnant for ages now. As much as I want to, though, I can't blame them, $60 roster updates has been their stock in trade for decades now, it's in EA's DNA, they'd do the same thing regardless, because they don't know anything else anymore.

No, I blame the league for granting them exclusive licensing rights. How idiotic can you get? Obviously a total lack of competition is a terrible situation for the consumer, both from a price and quality standpoint. Economists have known this for centuries. The NFL knows it as well, though only halfway--in the round of broadcast negotiations prior to this last one, FOX came in and offered to back a truck full of money up to the league offices. They would've made more money via the proposed deal than they actually did by selling the various packages (AFC afternoon, NFC afternoon, Sunday night, Monday night, etc.) piecemeal to a number of different networks. They somehow recognized, to their credit, that it was dangerous for their product and brand to concentrate its delivery in the hands of any single entity.

Then they immediately turned around and shafted the videogame community by selling EA exclusive rights. Why? Why is this industry, despite the obvious dollars at stake, continuously treated like the exclusive province of pimply-faced 13-year-olds? They treat gamers like second-class citizens who'll just happily lap up whatever tripe is flung in their general direction.

It's a shame. I _loved_ the 2K series, I played hundreds upon hundreds of hours in franchise and online. Hell, I made the national semifinals on the PS2 side in that Titanium Bowl tournament that ESPN and Gillette ran.

Shortly thereafter, I feel like the league backstabbed me. I tried buying Madden 2006 and played a couple of hours with various friends. We all hated it so much we went back and played with moldy rosters on 2K5. This continued for years--we even played 2K5 well into the PS3 era, but eventually the rosters just became silly, and we lost interest. Since then, I've completely given up playing the vid version of my favorite real-life game. It's sad, but playing Madden, even the current ones (I have 2011 for PS3 which I got as a gift; I've spent maybe an hour on it total, despite spending probably 10 hours a week following news and wheeling and dealing in my fantasy leagues) is just no fun; the games are just so infuriatingly uninspired and tepid and unrealistic and gimmicky. Shabby, shabby stuff. The analogy I might make is that going back to Madden, even with the "advances" afforded in 6 or 7 years' time, after playing 2K, is like being forced to drive a Chrysler Sebring after having had Porsche Carrera GT for years. Yeah, they're both cars, but any comparability basically ends at the fact they both have four wheels and an internal combustion engine.

Anyway, I just had to make that rant, sorry--thanks for bearing with me. Enjoy the game if you're into it, to each their own.
This might as well be a review for Madden NFL 11 since the impressions on the controls/features/game modes that were covered first appeared in that game, lol. This review works for me cause I haven't played Madden in a few years either, but for someone that's looking for what's new and improved/lacking, this review does little-to-nothing for them.

Whatever, it's Madden.
They changed the franchise mode, expanding the roster in preseason and adding cut days. Also, they added free agency bidding, and now free agents signed during the season actually sign for the salary that is listed next to their name, unlike 11. The gameplay is similar but linebackers don't jump impossibly high to deflect passes as much, and they added the stutter-step when running with the ball. Madden really has made big improvements every year, adn this seems to be the best one yet.
In before Madden hate.
I play madden every year, this years is drastically different. Pass coverage is much better and i find it hard to sack the QB.
I agree more with Dreamweapon. This is probably the best Madden since 05, but there's SO MANY things 2K5 still does better its pathetic. How come they have the ESPN license but there's no Berman/Mort/Schefter, etc.? Even NFL Head Coach had Adam Schefter (then with NFL Network) doing reports on the teams.

Wombat you should try the NCAA series. It's been the better football game in the last 2 years. I'm playing NCAA 11 right now and I'm loving it doing a dynasty as Boise State. Just beware NCAA 12 has a lot of bugs, especially if you use named rosters, that haven't been patched yet so you may want to wait on a sale. Plus you can import the draft classes into Madden.

FYI here's the platforms for Madden 12: PS3, 360, Wii, PS2, PSP, iOS. No on DS/3DS (3DS got crappy blank Madden game at launch, DS has not had a Madden game since Madden 09.)
I agree with this review, except I do not agree with the conclusion. Madden is one of the few series which rarely improves. Back in 2004, ESPN NFL 2k5 came out, which STILL has a far better presentation of football than this year's version of Madden. This is a complete shame, and this is why NBA 2k took NBA Live out of the picture. Like you said, the commentary is awful, and extremely repetitive. As a Falcons fan, I hear about Roddy White's abilities at the start of every single game. The half time shows are hilariously bad an uninspired, even Madden 10 had better shows than this. Literally its a couple of replays and that is all.

As a stand alone title, I would give this a 9/10. Compared to what we have seen in other football titles, like NFL 2k, and even older versions of Madden, this game gets about a 4/10 for me. Every year its some stupid minor add-on, last year's stupid coach talk, the awful QB vision of a few years ago, etc. And then the following year its taken away. Therefore, this series is everything but progress.

FIFA consistently improves with each year. NHL improves consistently with each year. NBA Live is gone because 2k proves to be better at sports games.

Until EA's contract with the NFL expires, expect little to no progress with this series. Without the competition of the NFL 2k series, Madden can clearly slack off every year and still sell ton of copies. Remember NFL 2k5 was $20 brand new, and infinitely better than Madden in every single way, from gameplay, to realism, to presentation. The only thing that saved Madden from going broke in the future was buying out rights to the NFL. I regret spending my $60 on this game honestly, horribly uninspired sports title which gets lazier every year. The only good thing that stays every year is the amount of fun you have playing this with friends.

Your money belongs with sports series that are far better than this. Particularly NBA 2k, FIFA, and NHL. Can't wait for the NFL/EA contract to end
I know it was already said, but the entire second paragraph is just terrible. You were ambiguous enough to list all the features of last years Madden without mentioning any of the actual improvements this year, and there were a great deal of improvements.

Gameplan =/= Gameflow of last year.

Players play to their stats this year more than I've ever seen.

Graphically this game is a welcomed upgrade.

This isn't a roster update folks, this is the best Madden I've played in years.
I just couldn't get into it. Got it pm'd @ bestbuy from tru for 45, flipped back for 45 after a few days. got 50% trophies. good stuff i guess for those that dig it tho.
Manicbomber, to each their own. I personally felt that the last good Madden was Madden 10. 11 and 12 had awful upgrades and huge downgrades in several other dimensions. You're right though, the graphics are nicer this time around. But to me this is a roster update, and I regret putting $60 down for this game. EA is getting lazier and lazier with the Madden series.
You played the game for nine hours for that Gamerscore, are you sure? You get that score for pressing any button.

I have been having the nagging problem on Live of not being able to play online, at ALL. Pretty widespread, love the game still. Cheers.
Ultimate Team sounds like what EA did with the latest NHL game.
Great review Wombat!
Here's an important point: Due to delayed free agency because of the lockout, this game shipped with last year's rosters, plus this year's draft picks. Of course, you can download a roster update, but you can only do that from the EA servers, inside the online play menus. The updated roster is NOT available as a title update. That means, in roughly 18 months when they turn off the servers, it will be impossible to patch the rosters. I know it's a running joke that Madden every year is just a roster update plus one or two new "features" that they add. This year, it's not even a roster update. If you buy this game used 2 years from now, you'll be unable to update the rosters. Stupid. The roster update should be a title update, instead of an in-game update from the EA servers.