Madden 12 PS3 Review
Another year another Madden game that has as minimal improvements as possible besides the yearly roster update right? Well this year that's not really the case, from the moment I inserted the game into my PS3 it felt more improved than previous years. In this review I'll try to point out all of them for those that are contemplating whether or not shelling out $60 is really worth it.
After jumping into Madden 12 yesterday one of the first things that stood out to me was the way superstar mode had been revamped. In all honesty this game mode has had loads of potential that was been squander by every other Madden release to do date. I have no problem saying that when it comes to superstar mode Madden 12 boasts the best superstar mode of any Madden game by far.
The major upgrade is the fact they've instituted a new point system. Everything you do in a game, in practice, or during training camp earns your player attribute points. In past Madden releases you could basically skip practices because they meant nothing but this time around you've actually got a reason to play them out. Literally everything you do gives you points, positive points for things like long gains on offense, negative points for things like losing yards on a play.
Now the rest of the revamping that took place in superstar mode may be considered good or bad depending on who you are. Agents, player mentors, player interviews, the combine, and player workouts have all been removed from the game. Personally I thought there was so much they could have done with the player interviews and how they negatively or positively effected your player. I realize it's a football game but I the idea of having your player perceived as a "diva" or "team player" adds to the overall experience in my eyes. With that being said those features being removed from the game really doesn't effect my opinion of superstar mode all that much. While all those things had potential E.A. was never able take full advantage of them in order to allow them to meet their full potential so they might as well have not been there all along.
With all that being said my only real gripe with superstar mode is the fact that my created player was drafted by the Baltimore Ravens in the 5th round of the draft. Okay I can live with that, I figured I'd spend most of the first season I was there putting in work in practice to earn attribute points and praying that Joe Flacco got hurt. NOPE! From the moment my player was drafted by the Raven's in the 5th round of the draft he was made the starter at quarterback. My player's rating was 64 overall, Joe Flacco's rating is around 88 overall so why in the world is my player starting? As you can see superstar mode is far from perfect however when you compare it to past its past incarnations it has greatly improved but E.A. still has some work to do.
Next up was franchise mode and sense I'm very active with making trades usually I was pleasantly surprised when I found out that you could trade both the current season's draft picks as well as the next season's draft picks. That pleasant surprise didn't last long though because then I actually attempted to make a few trades but couldn't accomplish anything. If the computer controlled teams aren't absolutely robbing you blind in the trade they will not accept it. So if you're like me and you usually trade away your high draft picks for players you might as well forget it because you won't get equal value in return.
The next thing I noticed while playing through franchise mode is the fact that the preseason rosters expand in order to allow undrafted rookie free agents to randomly be added to your team. Each week you will have to decide which of these rookies you want to cut, simple right? Wrong, these players attributes as well as the attributes of any other rookies on your team are hidden. The longer they stay on the team, the more their attributes become unlocked however its up to you to decide which ones will make it that far.
Once you I started glancing over my teams attributes I noticed that two new traits had been added, consistency and confidence. Upon doing a bit of research I found that the Madden manual explains consistency as determining how likely a player is to perform at a level close to his attribute ratings. Confidence on the other hand determines how much a player's attribute ratings change when their consistency rating is taken into account. That leads us into the additon of hot and cold streaks which will raise and lower a player's confidence level. Basically it works like this, If a player plays bad he'll go on a cold streak and won't play as well as he should. If a player plays well he'll go on a hot streak and play better than he should. These streaks will last a maximum of three games and the players confidence will reset for the fourth game.
Player roles are another thing that have been added or should I say re-added this year. Each off-season a player performance will be measured to see if they meet the criteria for a certain player role. If a player gets hurt all the time he'll be saddled with the "injury prone" player role which will make it much easier for the player to get hurt during a game. If a player is a seasoned veteran he may get the "team mentor" player role which raises the awareness of other players at his position.
Last but certainly not least is the re-addition of one of my all-time favorite features, custom playbooks. Madden 12 allows you to go through and add up to 400 plays in order to make your very own customizable playbook. Don't get me wrong because this is an awesome feature and I love it however it's still missing something. In past Madden games there was a feature that not only allowed you to create custom playbooks but custom plays. I may be in the minority here but I can't put into words how much I miss being able to design my own plays and use them in my Madden franchise.
The first thing you'll notice once you start a game is the fact that defenders will no longer magically glide for three or four yards in order to tackle you. EA spent a good amount of time trying to make players realistically react to collisions. Overall they did a very good job however the new tackling system has it's quirky moments that will leave you scratching your head but so far I've seen it happen rarely.
The next thing you'll notice is a much improved AI, In Madden 11 it was nothing for me to put up seventy points on the AI with it being on All-Madden. That was with a quarterback that had a sixty-four overall rating, I shouldn't have been able to shred the defense like that with a quarterback like that. In Madden 12 with the improved AI I tried to do the same thing with a low rated quarterback and so far have only been able to put up a maximum of twenty-eight points. The AI defense acts more like a real NFL defense and some of the old tricks that worked in past editions of Madden won't fly this year.
Other than that E.A. also made some tweaks to the game-flow system and overhauled the presentation system but in my opinion nothing was added to either one of these that was absolutely groundbreaking. I will say that the in game commentary is perhaps the most annoying that it has been in years with the announcers repeating the same things over and over again. Half the time what they are saying doesn't even match the situation. I've also caught the home team's fight song playing when I score a touchdown as the away team, that's not very authentic.
If I had it to do all over again I would without a doubt pre-order Madden 12 all over again. E.A. Sports gets a lot of flack for supposedly releasing games with minimal improvements at best. This year they didn't do that, they genuinely put in a lot of hard work to improve the overall experience that Madden provides. Is Madden 12 perfect? No but is any game? Madden 12 took a big step forward from Madden 11 and in my opinion is one of the better installments of Madden that I ever remember playing so while it does have its short comings I can easily look past them and enjoy it for everything they got right.
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