‘Madden’ series returns with improved physics, gameplay
Published: Monday, January 9, 2012
Updated: Monday, January 9, 2012 23:01
The NFL season is entering the playoffs and winding to a close, ushering in a depressing time of year for gridiron junkies: the offseason.
With EA Sports' latest installment of the perennially popular "Madden NFL" series on shelves nationwide, football fans can still have something to celebrate even after the Lombardi trophy is handed out.
"Madden 12" is a solid addition to the storied "Madden NFL" franchise. It boasts greatly improved gameplay and an expanded franchise mode that is sure to keep gamers satisfied.
The first thing I noticed when playing "Madden 12" is the vastly improved physics engine. In previous installments of the series, gameplay sometimes felt rigid, and tackles, catches and runs never felt fully lifelike.
This is not the case in "Madden 12." In this year's title, the developers at EA sports did an extraordinary job of making the gameplay feel authentic, and this refinement leads to brilliant catches and bone-crushingly realistic looking hits.
For example, in previous years of "Madden," the chance of a receiver dropping a pass upon being hit seemed completely based on the receiver's "catch" rating.
In "Madden 12," however, defenders can cause receivers to drop passes by placing a well-timed hit just as the receiver catches the ball, exactly as would occur in real life.
Also corrected in "Madden 12" is the infamous "tumbleweed" tackle. This was a major gripe of Madden players, and those familiar with the franchise know how frustrating the "tumbleweed" effect was.
Thankfully, the developers at EA heard your pleas and implemented a new gang-tackling engine in "Madden 12" that completely eliminates any chance of a tumbleweed tackle occurring.
While the gameplay engine of "Madden 12" is by far the best to date, there is still room for improvement.
For one, cornerbacks catch almost as well as receivers, and this causes the chance of throwing an interception to be unrealistically high. Slightly over or underthrown passes are picked off with regularity in "Madden 12," and this makes the passing game a bit frustrating.
On the ground, runners break tackles with ease, and backs like Adrian Peterson or Darren McFadden are nearly impossible to stop. Sure, these guys are beasts in real life, but there is no way they should break a tackle (or three) on every rushing attempt.
Along with the improved physics engine, "Madden 12" features an updated franchise mode. New this year are features such as "dynamic player performance," which allows players to ride hot or cold streaks based on their week to week performances, and "cut days" which provide the user the opportunity to evaluate his/her roster and drop players manually in the preseason.
Overall, I feel these additions are good but not groundbreaking. While they do enhance the gaming experience and give users even more control over their teams, these features definitely do not "make or break" the title.
For me, the franchise mode in "Madden" is the reason for buying, and this year's franchise mode is on par with the previous versions.
"Madden 12" is a worthy addition to the storied "Madden NFL" franchise. It is more realistic than ever and this improved gameplay alone warrants the upgrade from "Madden 11."
So if you're feeling the offseason-induced depression beginning to set in, snag a copy of "Madden 12" now so you can keep your appetite for football fully satisfied until kickoff next year.