Madden Gets an Overhaul
Ever since EA got the exclusive rights to the NFL, I’ve been leery of their football game. With no direct competition, there is less impetus to improve the game. For years I’ve felt like Madden 2006 was the best Madden ever, and I have only seen the franchise go downhill since then. However, I reserved judgment on this latest incarnation until I got a chance to sit down with the demo.
Tiburon seems well aware that they needed to improve their game and have made great strides to do so in Madden NFL 12. The development team has reworked the defenses, and fixed some of the silly animation problems that plagued games past. The biggest fix in my book is the relationship between the ball carrier and the defender. Before, due to the animations, the defender would inexplicably slide toward the ball carrier, suck the ball carrier in, and then commit the tackle... not very realistic. It made running with the ball frustrating and really took away from the realism of the game. Well that is all gone, and now tackle animations don’t fire until the defender actually makes contact with the ball carrier.
- The stadiums, atmosphere, and sidelines are excellent -
With the new tackle animations comes a host of brand spanking new collision animations. This is important for play in a long-term sense. After two or three simulated seasons, players might tire of seeing the same old tackle again and again. With the added collision animations, the plays remain fresh for longer which is a good thing. In order to aid the player on defense, the AI will now allow for new, updated defensive cover schemes. Hopefully this will keep players from exploiting flaws on the defensive side of the ball and give more control to the player on defense, but only time will tell.
When I first started the Madden NFL 12 demo, I was really impressed by the graphics and the level of detail added to the game. The sidelines looked very realistic with all the personnel littered up and down both sides of the field. The camera angle was vintage Madden which was cool. I liked the presentation even though there was no play-by-play in the demo. The action on the field flowed at just the right pace, giving me ample time to go through my progressions and make my pass attempt. Even when I got sacked, it didn’t feel like the computer was cheaping me out of a play.
One thing that still bothered me and doesn’t seem to be addressed was the fact that defenders seemed to come off of their blocks as soon as the ball carrier came near them, as if the offensive tackle just let them go. That has frustrated me for years because, as a player, I lack the ability to disengage from a blocker to make a play.
- The smooth, varied animations bring home the realism -
My only other complaint is that the learning curve has become severe due to the added realism. Madden NFL12 and its predecessors have made football experts out of football fans due to the complexity of running plays and playing defense. However, it seems as though the developers are leaving casual fans behind to some degree. I’m not saying that the game should be more arcade like, don’t get me wrong, but some basic tutorials for the newcomer would be nice. Other than those mild gripes, I’m here to say that Madden NFL 12 just may have won back a fan.
|Dante' R. Maddox
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