The basic gameplay benefits from some noticeable tweaks. The most important of these is an improved tackling system. Although the hits don't match the dynamism from last year's Backbreaker, they are still much more realistic than what you'd find in Madden 11. Players are no longer sucked into each other, which makes lining up a big hit when you're on the defensive side much more empowering, and evading an eager defender while on offense is even more satisfying now that you're rarely subjected to unfair takedowns. There are still some issues with gang tackling, especially when defenders converge from opposite sides, and the violent nature of the real sport is rarely conveyed in digital form, but at least Madden 12 has taken a few small steps in the right direction.
6331116Rex Ryan predicted a Jets victory. Looks like he put his foot in his mouth again.None
Off-the-field aspects in Franchise mode have seen changes as well. For those who get their jollies from destroying a digital player's dream, you can now cut players every week of the preseason, just like in real life. Deciding between axing an up-and-coming rookie or an established veteran takes a fair bit of thought, which gives you a taste of a real-life coach's experience. Free agency is now a fast-paced menu-navigating adventure. Every team bids for players in real time, and trying to decide how much you want to spend on a coveted prize while the clock is ticking is a neat addition to this established concept. Madden 12 also reintroduces the Weapons feature from Madden NFL 08, albeit with a new name and in a slightly different form. During the course of a season, players are automatically assigned certain titles. For instance, a wide receiver might be dubbed "Deep Threat" or "Fumble Prone," and that name has in-game consequences. It's another small change, but it's at least fun to scroll through the menus to see what titles your players have earned.
Madden 12 is an underwhelming entry in the long-running franchise because it offers few significant changes from last year's edition, but once you get over the feeling of deja vu, it is still an intense sports simulation. Years of tweaks have resulted in a highly realistic football game, and seeing your team come together is immensely rewarding. Taking control of your favorite team in Franchise mode (either online or offline) and building it into a perennial contender lets you exorcise the real-life demons keeping it from reaching hallowed ground. Although taking on the AI is even more rewarding this year, thanks to more believable opponents and the revamped tackling system, Madden 12 is at its best in heated competitive play. There are so many strategies at your fingertips that you never know how your opponent will try to attack you, which leads to volatile matches that are always exciting.
Even if you included a stick of gum, no one would want a Ted Ginn Jr. card.
Madden 12 is one of the better games in this franchise, but it's not worth purchasing if you already own last year's edition. Many of the flaws that have plagued the series for years are still present--such as the effectiveness of scrambling QBs--and many of the new features are hardly noticeable. Just consider for a moment how slowly the Madden franchise is at adopting changes in the real game. In the 2007 NFL season, green stickers were placed on the helmets of quarterbacks to designate that they could communicate (via radio) with the sidelines. It took four iterations of the digital experience for this incredibly small change to be implemented. Progress comes at a snail's pace, making versions blend together so that they're barely distinguishable from one another. In real life, every player eventually hits a performance wall; players can only improve for so long before they start to regress. Madden 12 is the video game equivalent of a player at the end of his career. It can still dazzle you from time to time, but it's clearly showing its age.