When I thought about Madden this year I thought wow this is going to be the same old dog and probably no new tricks. To be honest the only reason I even thought about purchasing this installment was because I love Cleveland and our hard working running back, Peyton Hillis, got the fans vote to grace the cover of this edition. The one drawback I was expecting from this title was the lack current rosters due to the NFL lockout that almost plagued the season. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find out that an updated league roster was available right out of the package.
The presentation this year has dramatically improved. The only glaring weakness is the repetitive commentary and wrong names of players. Since playing the game every time I make a tackle with the Browns first round draft pick, Phil Taylor, they always say tackle by Ryan Taylor. The best new visual aspect is the pre-game presentation of the teams’ entrances. They come complete with authentic player animations as well as fireworks and smoke affects. As far as game play goes the biggest improvement by far is the new contact engine. In previous installments sometimes your player would slide to a position to make a block or catch a pass without his feet moving that has been removed. So this time around if you want to make a tackle, recover a fumble, or catch a pass you better make sure your player is in position to make contact with a player or the ball.
The modes in the game are the same that they had in the past. Franchise mode lets you take control of one or more NFL franchises and take them through a 30 year career. This year you can take up to 75 players into your first preseason game to try out all of your players before having to make crucial cuts to cut your roster to 55 players. That is the only change in franchise that really stands out.
Ultimate Team Mode lets you purchase player cards to assemble your perfect NFL team. Imagine combining Michael Vick with Larry Fitzgerald and being protected on the line by Joe Thomas. This lets you buy booster packs of cards to get players that are different skill levels. You can either use coins you earn by competitions online or by using money from your PSN account or Microsoft points. This year they offer legendary packs which offer the chance of nabbing an NFL legend like Jerry Rice, Dan Marino, or Barry Sanders. This further enhances your team and makes your team closer to being unstoppable.
NFL Superstar is mode in which you pick a current NFL rookie or create your own character. Then you only play during downs in which your selected player is on the field. Based on your performance in the game you earn player points that you can improve different aspects of your player like speed, acceleration, and catching ability. You play through a whole career and try and become the ultimate player of your position.
Madden online is awesome because it gives you the chance to take on people all over the world and challenge them and their skills in Madden. The only problem I have is that with PSN I notice a lot of lag with its online mode. However, I believe Xbox Live offers a little bit better connection. Don’t get me wrong Playstation 3 has superior graphics and sound but Microsoft has been around a long time in the online gaming and have almost perfected it.
Madden is an old formula reformatted to fit the new generations of fans. I think this is the strongest version of the game to date. Looking back you can see that the overall presentation has come a long way from the 8, 16, and 32-bit systems we used to love and enjoy. This game is not perfect by any means and as always I can see room for improvement. Overall though I give it a 4/5
Order Madden NFL 12 for the PS3!