Madden NFL 12 - Xbox 360

Game Description:Madden NFL 12 continues the rich tradition of the storied Madden franchise by bringing fans closer to the NFL than ever before. Madden NFL 12 delivers Everything You See On Sunday including all 32 NFL teams, stadiums, and every player in the league- all with the level of authenticity that fans have come to expect. Whether playing your rival on the couch or online, leading your favorite team to the Super Bowl in Franchise mode, or building a dream team in Madden Ultimate Team, Madden NFL 12 captures all the drama of the NFL.
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Madden NFL 12 First Look Preview

Madden NFL 12 First Look Preview

By Miguel Concepcion - Posted May 05, 2011

For as long as the Madden series has been around, it’s come to the point where “new year, new roster” jokes just aren’t funny anymore. EA has rolled with those jabs and proved its worth with meaningful improvements and results, most notably with the last couple Maddens. So it’s a bit of a surprise that this year my obligatory introductory question of, “So, what’s new?” gave way to me asking, “So, what took you so long to add these features?” During an hour-long demo session with EA’s latest, Madden NFL 12, so much was focused on improvements and overhauls that I wondered where EA found the time to implement all these elements in one game. I suppose that’s what happens with prolonged experience with the current consoles’ dev tools.

We work in television, so we can appreciate the lengths that EA Tiburon has gone to overhaul its camera work for Madden NFL 12. It’s quite a remarkable change; actual cameramen from NFL Films were motion captured so now you can pick up minuscule POV nuances like how the cameraman tries to limit his breathing. Moreover, these experienced shooters expounded on their experience on how specific parts of the game would be shot, things that are filmed with care that the viewer doesn’t (and shouldn’t) notice. Take for example the limited room a cameraman would have to get close to capturing a quarterback warming up. In a videogame, you can go as close as you like. That’s obviously not the case in real life, where there are distance rules you have to follow, and this will be followed in Madden 12. It might sound like a minor change but should speak volumes across an hour-long game.

From the camera switching in the imaginary master control room to the cameras on the ground, there’s now this greater sense of the visuals reacting to the action. Picture a linebacker who gets too close to the camera. In past games, the linebacker would just pass through the camera. Now the camera actually gets out of the way. It’s all for the sake of providing a more natural and organic experience.

Good camerawork can only go so far if the gameplay isn’t there. One gameplay feature EA wanted to highlight were the enhancements made to last year’s GameFlow option. While praised for reducing overall playtime, GameFlow was somewhat criticized for not offering enough flexibility in play selection. Now, you can rate your plays so that Gameflow will recognize your favorite plays more often. Furthermore, you’ll be able to guide the play calling, say if you wanted GameFlow to pick more pass-heavy plays, or run-heavy, balanced, aggressive plays (among others). What I found to be especially intriguing was the long-awaited addition of Custom Playbooks and its integration with GameFlow. Now you can mix and match plays and tweak a team’s existing playbook.

You can also save multiple playbooks, say if you know your best friend’s football methodology inside and out and want to tailor your playbook so you have the best chance against him. You can also have a playbook designed for the single-player season and another well rounded playbook to take on strangers online.

Sometimes the best details in a game are the ones that the consumer can’t put their finger on but will still notice and appreciate during a playthrough. In the case of Madden 12, one standout improvement involves improving the collision animation. This was illustrated to me in a case involving a tackle. In the past, the momentum-based animation would be dictated by how the ball carrier and the initial defender collided, never taking into account the collisions of any other subsequent defenders. In real life, there should at least be some additional motion and momentum coming from those later hits, and Madden 12 looks to offer that sense of realism.

The significance of Madden NFL 12 isn’t so much that it is the series’ 18th installment (not counting the preceding John Madden Football series), it is that EA Tiburon has become an old hand with the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 development tools, so much so that 12 looks like one of those special Maddens where Tiburon now has the experience to focus less on updates and more on improvements. Don’t get me wrong, there is a wealth of fine tuned updates as well from better character model proportions to grass details (the kind that gets tossed in the air and stains uniforms) to the updated uniforms. Heck, even the ball has been shrunken to a more accurate size.

As this was just the first of many Madden 12 presentations, EA is going with the “staggered” news approach (the kind that worked well with Marvel Vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds) so you can be sure that we’ll have more news on the game as the release date (August 30) nears.

Comments are Closed

  • AngelsandDemons

    They should have shown the difference in the new tackle mechanic on the video so we could trully understand how insignificant it is

    Posted: May 5, 2011 3:40 PM
  • lowkevmic

    You can tell that video game developers aren't really all that big of sports fans. Because only a gamer would improve on the things like graphics, and the details only a gamer would care about. But Madden isn't a game for gamers but a game for sports fans, and most sports fans could care less about the details of a player uniform, or how interactive the crowd is. All Madden gamers care about is an up to date roster, and fast and easy play calling.

    But I can't knock EA's hustle, because they pretty much re-release the same game every year, and the fans know this. Yet they will still shell out 60 bucks for it, knowing its trade in value is little to nothing. People's love for football rivals that of even a Jedi Junkie.

    Posted: May 5, 2011 3:24 PM
  • EliteOp11

    Lets work on cosmetics and only adjust a few of the lingering problems the gameplay has. EA fails it up again.

    Posted: May 5, 2011 1:16 PM
  • Bonzoso21

    These videos just highlight one of my biggest gripes with Madden since the exclusive deal was signed -- every year, EA Tiburon spends too much time working on the little things like beter-looking grass, helmet reflections, realistic sun/shadow movement, and better broadcast presentation, and no time at all making improvements to the game modes. I'm gonna freak out when I see how realistic the Seahawks' helmets look? Um, no. What'd make me freak out is if they actually gave Franchise/GM and Be A Pro some attention instead of leaving them untouched for 5 years straight.

    Posted: May 5, 2011 12:47 PM
  • CLFresh

    OMG, those amazing innovations will make me pay $60... I'll stick to only buying Madden every 3-4 years unless a Steelers player is on the cover. Went from 2001 (remember how sick it looked on the PS2??? lol) to 2005, bought 2008 b.c. of my love for Vince Young and then 10 for Polamalu. I'm kind of in the mood for some Madden with all the Draft talk that I keep avoiding because I freaking hate all the damn coverage of a boring part of the NFL.

    Posted: May 5, 2011 11:05 AM