Posted September 2, 2011 by Arec Phanthapanya in Video Game Reviews

Madden 2012 Review

Does this year’s installment of Madden bring anything new to the gridiron?  Let’s find out.

From the first time I insert the game, I was brought to an error screen.  “Disc read error.  Press the PS button to return to the XMB.”  I was completely thrown off by this.  Not sure whether it was my system or disc, I tried again and was met with the same error.  Now, my Playstation 3 is borderline new.  I bought it 4 months ago when my “PHAT” received the yellow light of death.  After a few more tries, I was finally able to get past the screen so I wrote it off as the game’s fault and I haven’t received the error since.

Franchise mode was the first thing I went to.  It really is the only thing I am interested in.  I was met by a video that expressed Madden 12’s new robust Franchise mode!  Now, we are able to have a 75 man roster, bid on free agents, and control more than one team!  Great!  After that, I was brought straight to the menu screen.  As I attempt to look around the menu, I noticed that it is extremely cluttered and even sluggish at times.  It takes me a few moments just to get to the settings and that can be really annoying if you are looking to just change one thing, but the options that it does give are quite impressive.  You do have a lot of control over your franchise, I will give Madden points for that.

I examine the roster of my Atlanta Falcons and I notice that some ratings have a (?) next to their rating.  Confused at first, I did not understand why until I notice that those players were rookies.  In the new franchise mode, you will have to scout out your own rookies in order to get their true ratings.  The same goes for  upcoming rookies in the year’s draft pool.  You will not be able to see their rating unless you scout them.  Unfortunately, the ratings that are provided by the scouts are merely a prediction.  You cannot just scout a prospect once.  You will need to scout the prospect multiple times in order to get a better understanding of his skill set and so forth.

My first preseason game is against the Dolphins.  Considering I have not played Madden in a year, I take some time to play the game despite not being able to play with my actual roster for the entire game.  The game starts up and Madden presents unique team introductions.  I really like what they have done with the team introductions as it adds a sense of realism to the game, but after a while they will get old and stale.  Nice touch however.

I win the coin toss and I opt to kick the ball.  Now, it seems like every year Madden likes to change their kicking system and this year is not any different.  Some might not enjoy the change made, but what exactly can they do with it?  Anyway, as the game progressed, the gameplay did feel realistic.  I did adjust the sliders and such to make it as fair as possible and that definitely made the game a better experience.  Before the change, however, it seemed like the AI would just do some outright spectacular things on defense and on offense.  Without adjusting the sliders and only the difficulty, the AI does even more spectacular things like the linebacker always being able to swat the ball even though he is a couple of feet away or the defensive back being able to intercept the ball despite a perfectly thrown ball.  Maybe it was just me stinking up the field, but as of right now that is the AI’s fault.  Blocking can also be a little frustrating as the AI might not always make the best choices on who to block or even when to block.  There were times when my offensive lineman just did not pick up their assignment or would block the wrong person.  Another thing was the “block suction”.  Sometimes, my defensive lineman (the one I controlled) would have a clear path to the QB for a sack but would get locked into a blocking animation because an offensive lineman would some how magically be able to pick me up.  Other than those particular annoyances, I have no gripes with Madden’s gameplay.  Animations were smooth most of the time and I was satisfied with how the game played.

The sounds of Madden were spectacular (not the soundtrack).  If you are a football fan, then a smile will probably come to your face whenever you hear unique chants of your favorite team.  However, the commentary is not as great.  Commentary can be quite stale and will sometimes even stutter.  Wrong names will be called at times or just outright laziness when only a number of the player is called.  I believe the soundtrack could have been better, but background music is not really the focus of Madden.

On another note, Superstar mode still feels the same.  I played a little bit of it from last year and the only change I saw was how the attributes were earned.  I played Ultimate Team mode and I can see how some people would get sucked into this mode.  It was basically a trading card game where you would collect cards that contained players and the cards that you owned would pretty much build your team.  You can use the players that you collected against other players or the CPU.  For all you collectors out there, this is the mode for you.

Some other features that were added to the game are Dynamic Player Performance and some online features.  Dynamic Player Performance is basically a hot or cold streak for players.  Players on hot streaks will continue to perform well or even better while cold streaks will do the opposite.  Madden’s online features come with a new way to get involved with the community.  You can choose to play with certain settings or start a league of your own.

This year’s Madden may be the best Madden yet.  However, the improvements that were promised over last year’s installation were not fully made.

What You’ll Like

  • Close to realistic football (with the adjustment of sliders)
  • Fun matches against friends and online opponents
  • Playing with your favorite football teams
  • Role playing with Superstar Mode
  • An updated roster
  • Realistic graphics
  • Dynamic Player Performance

What You’ll Hate

  • Lack of simulation experience
  • Lil’ Wayne (kidding)
  • Lack of improvements from last year’s installment
  • Atrocious A.I./CPU
  • Cluttered menu (Takes too much work just to get to options)



Final Verdict: 



Madden receives a C+ for this year’s rendition.  Despite promising vast improvements and new features, EA Sports failed to deliver.  They only tweaked a couple of things here and there and even just brought back old features from past games and called them new.  Do not get me wrong, this year’s Madden may just be the best Madden yet, but this year’s Madden just does not impress me or compels me to continue playing it.  As for fans of football or just Madden, this year will give you enough to hold you over until next year’s installment.  Madden 12 may not be worth the full price tag for some of you casual players out there.  Madden 12 is good, but it is not great.  Try again next year EA.

Buy It:  If you are a true Madden fan or football fan, this is the game for you.  You will not mind the lack of improvements as long as you can play some football with updated graphics, animations, and rosters.

Rent It:  Renting will probably be your best option if you just want a casual experience to play with your friends.  It also saves some money in case you are just as disappointed as I am with the game.

Skip It:  Skip this game if you want a true football simulation experience.  Lack of options, polish, and features can be annoying when dealing with your franchise of choice.  Also skip it if you own past iterations of the game.  You are not missing out on much.


Arec Phanthapanya

I did not choose the thug life. The thug life chose me. Contributer to the GPR show!