Madden continues success with deepest installment yet


Courtesy of EA Sports.

Zak S. Cowan, Editor in Chief

Every August, I go out and spend $60 I don’t have for the newest “Madden” video game, and nearly every year I am disappointed by how little the game has improved.

This is why I was very skeptical about the latest addition to the franchise but I still went out and bought it.

“Madden NFL 12” has its issues, as every video game does, but EA did a tremendous job of giving Maddenites something to be proud of.

The area that shines is franchise mode. This is what I always buy “Madden” for, and it warms my heart to see that they are finally listening to what their fans have to say.

The “cut days” are my favorite addition to franchise mode, where you can have a larger roster at the start of the preseason, but you must slowly cut down to the regular roster size by the season opener. This creates much-needed drama that was lacking in previous installments, and adds a sort of RPG feel to that game that fits perfect for the long journey that franchise mode is.

One major glitch in franchise mode, though, is the future-draft-pick system. They lauded it during the hype up to the release, but in reality, it is more flawed than anything in the game. You can literally just keep on trading down the first round every two or three picks, collecting nearly every first-round pick for the next draft (but beware the salary cap for next year!).

There are plenty of issues that still linger with every game mode in the game, like lack of auto save and whatnot, but they do little to distract from the core of the game, which is as solid as you can ask for in a sports game.

Graphics-wise, “Madden NFL 12” is a beautiful game, and the presentation of game day feels like you’re watching live football.

The graphics are sometimes bogged down by their lack to get body figures for certain people right, and the first thing I noticed when playing the game was that my team’s head coach was at least 100 pounds bigger than what he actually is (but hey, at least his face looked just like him).

The new tackling engine is fantastic, and helps create some of the most realistic hits and tackles I’ve ever seen in a football game. It is by far the best update to the engine in the past decade’s worth of games.

The gameplay has some minor issues that I’m sure will be resolved in updates, like twitching players during dead-ball periods (annoying). That is another sad thing that always seems to get overlooked in every Madden: robotic movement by players in cut scenes and dead-ball periods. It always amazes me that they could leave stuff in like that, and that is the sort of stuff that they can’t fix until they come out with a new edition the next year.

In all, the game is solid and has content that will surely keep me busy for the next year, but I’m still yearning for 2K Games to have a chance to one-up EA (damn you exclusivity).