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3.7 out of 5 stars
3.7 out of 5 stars
Platform: Xbox 360|Change
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on 6 September 2011
Its very difficult to improve on a game that has an annual update. The game mechanics will generaly be the same give or take some minor tweaking and you get the usual roster updates. As a result games like this and Fifa will always get mixed reviews from disgruntled fans. If your a big NFL fan like me you will purchase this game irrespective.

However IMO this is a significant improvemnt on last years update, and if you look at it as an individual game and not a series of updates over 20 years its a great game in its own right. The game has the usual EA polish with excellent presentation, graphics and sound.
The big improvemnts are
- the tackling dynamics and general physics are much better.
- Players have hot and cold streaks, with marquee players such as Brady and Manning always being consistent whereas someone like Chad Henne blows hot and cold depending on how you perform from week top week. This is a simple but excellent idea and will no doubt make its way over to FIFA. (England players should no doubt be absolutely knackered by the time a major tournamnet comes around and Rooney wont be able to trap a bag of cement)
- The blocking although still not without its faults is also much improved and you cant just have a very fast defensive end constantly running past a pondourous 300lb tackle.
- The scouting in Franchise Mode is a massive improvment and you can now trade for future draft picks. (This shows EA do actually listen to the fans)
- The Pre Game NFL Network show has been removed which lets be honest was a good novelty the first couple of times, but was a pain eventually and is no great loss.
- Online play is excellent and makes the £40 seem good value.
Where improvemnts could be made
- The stadium upgrade section is still lacking and you dont really see any benefits. You should at least see additional buildings popping up here and there as the alterations are made and see the reflection in attendances.
- The game still doesnt cover the enormity of Superbowl Sunday and could have done more to cover the build up.
- Online communities are split East and West Coast, IT would be great to have a UK or European community for the European fans to compete against each other..
- A massive missed oppurtunity in Franchise imo is also the lack of relationship and dynamic with certain team owners and the impact the press has. Eg If you go on a bad streak attendances should drop, the local press should be calling for the coaches head, and the owner should be banging on your desk because his revenue is down. This could have tied in superbly with the confidence and form streak of the players. There is also the potential to have each team have its own unique issues such as Al Davies of the Raiders pushing his nose in compared to the seamless way the Patriots are run.

On the whole a great game.
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on 8 September 2011
Think of this game as madden nfl 12 2.0. It's not a revalutionary new game but no one really expected it to be, like fifa each years incarnation is like a patch ont he previous year. Compared to last year graphically it is similar but that is no bad thing as I believe the graphics in Madden are arguably some of the best on a sports game. Game play is where the significant improvements are, it's a much more challenging game but still remains fun as you get the feeling of having a chance rather than only being able to run the ball a yard on the hardest difficulties last year, also it is much easier to get inteceptions this year and get intecepted which I think makes for a more demanding experience as you can't just throw a bomb into coverage and expect to get away easily. The new animations are also fantastic, giving greater scope and general improvement in the way game play presents.

There is for me one major gripe, the commentary. What the commentators say when they say it is ok. It's actually 90% the same lines as last year only now they seem incapable of saying most players names i.e "number 23 is waiting to receive the kick" whilst this is an irritation it can be let go. The bigger problem with this aspect of the game is the commentators fasiling to acknowlege key plays I.E my 80 yeard touch down run. They will discuss in depth some obscure fact about a player and even if there is a sack or a touch down or a big first down. Nothing, they just carry on prattling.

In conclusion though this game is a significant improvement of 11 in most places but commentary still looks like it was given to the 16 year old office work experience to work on. It's awful and desperatley needs patching as it detracts from the atmosphere of game.
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VINE VOICEon 14 October 2011
The annual American Football update which is the Madden NFL series, marks another title with Madden NFL 12. It's completely fair to say that Madden has regressed if anything on next gen consoles, especially in the case of Franchise Mode which has been packaged fairly bare boned. However, in recent years there have been signs of improvement, the question is how does this years version hold up?

Right away, one of the first things you'll notice is the enhanced and improved presentation. This has been worked on in previous years, but additions such as pre-game intros, improved stat tracking and panning camera angles have improved the "broadcast element" that EA Sports was looking for. There's one glaring problem though and that's the commentary. I like Gus Johnson as an announcer, he's funny and seems to be generally ethused about the on field action. Sadly, that's just on televison and not in the game. The commentary in the game is broken as it often gets it wrong with what's actually happening and the omission of player names is puzzling. Number 23, anyone? Considering EA Sports have shored up the license this is inexcusable. Despite all these supposed improvements the announcing lets the presentation and it's believability down.

Franchise Mode, does get a few tweaks. Perhaps the biggest is the new free agent "bidding" system. With this you'll be in direct competition with other NFL teams scrambling to sign a prized free agent. One of the big positives is the ability to go elsewhere in your franchise if you choose to do so. No longer are you restricted to one NFL team for 30 seasons which is a welcome inclusion. Improved rookie scouting and the draft have also been revamped, admittedly I'm not to keen on the new interface which I found intrusive and downright clunky. Depite this though, you have probably the most in depth franchise mode seen on next-gen consoles to date.

Online play returns with more emphasis on Ultimate Team which seems to be the case across many EA Sports titles. Here, you'll acquire and new for this year have the ability to trade cards with other players. Online franchise is left untouched and EA Sports have used the excuse that they wanted to work on the offline franchise and didn't have time to do both. I've only tried Ultimate Team which seemed fine and have yet to venture into online head to head play.

Graphics 9 It's Madden. Which means it's one of the nicest looking games on the console. Ocassional pop in occurs which prevents a perfect score.
Sound 5 Woeful announcing general tackling and player sounds are adequate plus an inferior soundtrack to Madden NFL 11.
Gameplay 8 More arcade than simulation but fun to play nevertheless.
Lifespan 9 Deep Franchise Mode and an array of online options will keep you occupied.

Madden NFL 12 is the same old story essentialy. A lot of hype and then a major letdown. I will say that I like the direction that the Franchise Mode is going but six years to get to this point, really?! The game still needs improvement especially in the area of sound and perhaps EA Sports should stop being so enamoured with graphics and put some time into the gameplay to give true die-hard NFL fans what they deserve and a more simulation oriented experience. If you bought last years version I would say that you're not missing much. However, if you haven't bought a US Football Title since Madden NFL 10, it's worth a look. When in doubt adopt the two year rule and buy a sports title every second year as they don't tend to change that much from year on year. 7/10.
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on 20 September 2011
This year, Madden has taken a giant leap in the form of presentation. Never before has madden been so on form when showing you your favourite team coming out on the the field on game day. Its massive, its great and its very well done. Yes that is the biggest change to the game but there are plenty of others that do the game justice. First off is the new look franchise mode. Its great. This year, I actually feel like I'm in charge of a "franchise" team. The new "cutting players" system is great, and really allows you to pick out brooding young players early and start giving them some much needed game time. A mound of smaller features make that game great too. Plenty of times iv found myself looking at the new 3-D grass and thinking...wow, that looks great!

In short, this is the best Madden game to date. Its well worth the money and is a must for any madden fan. The game has enough new features and added extras to warrant buying this to upgrade from last years game. Go madden.
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on 2 September 2016
I am new to playing this type of game, so my review is based on ease of playing and graphics.
The game play is quite easy to pick up, there is a in game menu for different team tactics that helps you to play the game more easily, it helps you work out the rules too. The graphics are quite realistic, they look very good. There are a great selection of teams to play as, I found it better to play a well known team which had a higher rating until I got used to the game play, then chose a team with a lower rating for more of a challenge. I have now got alot better and play the game very often.
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on 22 September 2011
Since receiving this game just over a week ago, I've not been able to stop playing it. I personally feel the gameplay is a big improvement on Madden 11, as it has more of a real feel to it than previous Maddens, with the before game introductions as well as improved tackles/hits. As well as that, there is the hot/cold streaks, where players who perform well in a previous game will carry that high confidence into their next game (hot streak) and their stats will receive a welcome boost. On the flip side, players who perform bad in a previous game will carry that low confidence into their next game (cold streak), meaning their stats will drop. This really gives it more of a real feeling to the game, rather than having the top players being awesome every week, they go through good and bad spells.

The Franchise mode is enough alone to merit buying this game, with it's detailed season, rookie scouting system, chaotic off season where you battle against other teams to sign free agents. As well as this, you also have the Superstar mode and the also addictive Ultimate Team modes, where you can battle it out online against other opponents, gain coins, strengthen your team and collect cards. There's even more including the Madden Online Moments, which are constantly updated and fun to play through.

All in all, this really is a 5 star game. Anyone who loves American Football will love this game. It's more than worth the money. Well done EA.
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on 17 October 2011
Ive been playing Madden games since day one and im probably a bit bias but i think madden 12 is as near to perfection as a football simulation is gonna get.The defense this year is much improved and the graphics and presentation is superb.the commentary grates after an hour or so which is the game's only flaw.Great to see all the mascots before the teams run out too,especially my favourite team's mascot"captain fear"of the Buccaneers,like being back in Tampa!I recommend this update to the madden franchise whole heartedly.
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on 27 February 2015
This was my first Madden game and I had a great time playing it.
If you like strategic, tactical and technical games - regardless of genre - this is well worth a look. The learning curve for this game was huge as I knew nothing of American Football beforehand.
However there's plenty of skill-training modes, so with enough dedication you'll eventually make progress. This was no issue as for me as the gameplay was very addictive, it was challenging and fun.
As with other team-based sports games much of the fun comes from watching your team grow.
This is no different from genres such as strategy games and RPGs, its the same feelings of progress and achievement.
I can't compare this to other Madden games since this is the only one I've played. And as someone who was new to this franchise, this was a tough game to learn but also very rewarding once you do.
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on 13 August 2013
Being a big fan of EAs Fifa, NHL, NBA and Fight Night franchises I decided to give Madden a go. I'm not a major American Football fan but I have watched my fair share of late night games and superbowls, so thought it might be fun. To start with the positive - the game looks great and the controls, once you find the in-game manual, are reasonably straight forward. Played a couple of exhibitions and it was ok, although the opposition ran rings around my defence while I tried to figure out how to change to the correct player and how to perform hits. I got completely trounced but that's fair enough for a beginner.

Now on to the negative - the biggest problem with this game is that there is no tutorial... at all. You are expected to know abbreviations, plays, strategies and tactics right off the bat without explanation. I picked a few plays in exhibitions and tried to figure out how best to approach the game, but felt like my choices were completely random having no idea what strategies should be used at what point. To make it worse the commentators kept voicing their opinion of my poor decision making and after a bit of time and being none the wiser it just became frustrating. I avoided the franchise options as I wasn't familiar with it and went on the superstar mode - my favourite part of the EA games in recent years. Unfortunately the lack of knowledge of the game became apparent again as I created my superstar, with abbreviations for position and ratings that meant nothing to me and were chosen pretty much at random. I went through the training camp with little understanding of what I was trying to achieve, and then played my first game. The difference with Madden, and American Football in general I guess, is that your superstars position defines how often you are on the field. I was playing as quarterback (one of the few abbreviations I knew when choosing my position) and made a few plays leading to an interception. The game then simulated a bunch of plays into some future part of the game and my team were suddenly trailing. I did a few more plays which consisted of me choosing the play, pressing A and then either pressing a pass button or standing still, and then when my team scored a touchdown it took another jump into the future, and my team are trailing again. It went on like this for a couple of minutes and the game was over. My team won (I think), but I felt absolutely no involvement in the win. It was like the game just passed me by. It was boring. I really didn't feel any compulsion to move on to the next game or training camp, and the xbox was switched off.

I am sure if you are a die-hard NFL fan and know all the plays and the tactics then this game may be the best thing ever, but for a curious semi-fan or novice there is just nothing pulling you in and with no attempt to impart knowledge of the sport in the game you just feel like a spare wheel to the CPU players making the hits and finding the positions. It is frustrating and frankly boring for a novice, so if you are just trying it out for fun don't expect to play it for long.
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on 26 December 2011
So I'll start with a little info. I've been playing Madden since Ray Lewis was on the cover (nearly a decade ago) and I've been following the NFL since the late 90s. I've only been playing it for real in the last 6 months due to me living in Cornwall. I play Cornerback for the Falmouth Tridents and will be for the Cornish Sharks. Anyway I realize a lot of what I say many of you might not understand so forgive me I shall try to explain everything as simply as possible.

My gripe with EA Sport's Madden NFL has always been that they clearly make the game without watching the NFL games. The animation has been at times laughable and the A.I. play calling has been confusingly awful. Examples include, trying to defend a 4 Wide Set with a base 3-4 defense - this means, you the Offense have 4 Wide Receivers (fast skill players) and the A.I. is trying to defend that with it's basic defensive formation which only has 2 Cornerbacks (fast skill defenders that cover WRs) There is a reason when you watch the NFL, that an Outside linebacker like DeMarcus Ware does not go man to man on a WR like Andre Johnson (which you would get in Madden 8,9,10,11)

This is gone! Thank you EA! The defense is actually now challenging...well, they're not idiots any more at least.

This IS the best Madden Game so far I can say that hand on heart. Firstly the presentation, some reviews on here have been negative about it. Why? Really? It's great! It's presented like the games you see on CBS, Fox and NFL network (shown on Sky Sports).
When you start the game you get a great overhead shot of the stadium, and cut in to the players in the tunnel, the mascots run out with flags between the lines of cheerleaders, the crowd roars (turn the volume up to get goosebumps the crowd noise is awesome)as the Stadium announcer calls, "annnnnnd here are yourrrrr, DALLAS COWBOYS!" BOOM! Fireworks go up! And out rushes your team. Then cut to inside the tunnel and there waits your 2 star players getting introduced personally, "On Offense, Quarterback, number 9, TONY ROMO!" and out rushes your QB onto the field and joins his teammates. The commentary by sportscaster Gus Johnson is excitable as he highlights the players to watch during the game, joined by Colour Analyst, Emmy Award winning Cris Collinsworth.


Now it's game time.

The game play is fantastically improved (defense as mentioned above). For a start a relevant point to me (I'm doing a degree in animation) the animation is soooo much better. In previous versions they'd run like they had 2 by 4s stuffed up their trousers. Now the players lower their heads and shoulders and they look like they're running for their lives. The tackling engine is awesome and fluid and the game flows so much better now. Personally, being a cornerback I still think their understanding of how a cornerback plays and moves is a bit flawed but it's almost there, the Defensive Backs play the ball in the air a lot better.

The A.I. is 10 times better than Madden11, and 20 times better than Madden10. You have blocking assignments! Finally! I am yet to see a lineman do a pirouette or randomly run off to block a safety on the other side of the field, or get confused and run to the area behind the QB (if you're a newbie reading this all of this is the wrong thing to do). Your blockers will read what the Defense is doing and will adjust accordingly. You can also switch between zone blocking and man-to-man blocking schemes. This makes your Offensive line so much more dependable than the lottery of Madden 10 and 11. Don't be fooled though, the Defense is no slouch. the Linebackers are smart. They'll fake to blitz and drop back in zone, you really have to keep your eyes on them as they play like NFL 'backers.

QB accuracy is still debatable in some cases but to be fair I've only played as Romo (although an accurate QB, not known for it) to this point. And when looking at the Instant Replay you can be too critical, the A.I. takes into account the QBs throwing position (is he off balance or are his feet set?) and the rush (it's hard to make accurate throws with a 310lb Ndamuhkong Suh in your face!) and then don't forget the defenders are able to make plays for the ball. The only route that the game still struggles with is the Fade route. It's the most difficult throw to make in the NFL so EA can be forgiven a little bit.

The main difference and improvement in A.I. is the choice of formations, game management and WR routes.
WR Routes are now run properly (watch youtube videos I can't explain it without going on for pages and pages), your Wideout will make a break and cut and run a real square-in instead of lollygagging and running 'generally towards the area he's supposed to be'...although he'll still do that if he's a bad and lazy WR but you're not going to catch that happening from Larry Fitzgerald.
The A.I. choices the correct formations (mentioned at the start) If you bring out 4 WRs the Defense will bring out 4 CBs instead of 2 CBs and 2 LBs as in previous versions.
Game Management - another huge flaw in previous versions the A.I. would have a 12 play drive but run it so they only used 1 minute off the clock. the A.I. will now use the full 40 seconds of the play clock to maximum effect. This has a HUGE impact. This means unless you have a world-beater defense that gives up next to nothing you cannot run up the huge 70,80,90,-10 scorelines. In Madden 10 I used to consistently average 45 points a game with even the worst of teams. This also had a knock off effect to my defense which would not improve due to not getting playing time. Patrick Lewis (averages 150 tackles a season) could finish a season with 30 to 40 tackles. Not so in Madden 12 where your defense will get a work out, due to proper A.I. game management and a smarter A.I. offense.

This increases the enjoyment of the game play too because it's really no fun to run up a 90 to 7 scoreline (well it is the first few times). It's so much more satisfying to have a come from behind victory with that last second field goal.

For those struggling or new to the game you can turn on the Co-Ordinator feature, which is a help feature. Your Offensive or Defensive co-ordinator will speak to you, help you call plays and tell you what to expect and look for.

Lets move to the main area of the game which is the Franchise Mode.

Madden 12 has reinstated player roles. ABOUT TIME. This was a feature seen in Madden 08 and then for some reason dropped. It's a fantastic feature which has now been expanded on. Your player still has the common ratings so characteristic of Madden NFL (juke move rating = 87 etc etc) but your players now have traits. Is your player a clutch player? (can he perform when it's down to the wire?) Is your player a trench warrior? (a guy with a lot of energy and never gives up on a play) or is your guy a Future Star?. There's also negative traits like Underachiever and injury prone or a bust.

Your Players also get hot and cold streaks. If your player has a good game he gets a hot streak and keeps playing better, if he has a bad game he gets a cold streak and finds it harder to play well.
This factors in with the Confidence and Consistency ratings. On a hot streak your players confidence will rise, which in turn raises his consistency (consistency is how close to his common ratings he will actually perform so a 5 star consistency will mean if a player has a catch rating of 90, he will perform to that rating a 1 star consistency will mean he will perform more like an 80). The confidence effects the players ability to make big plays as he will have the confidence to fight for the ball.

These features of the Franchise mode make it much more engaging and you really monitor your players progress and get involved in their playing ability. I still think they need to introduce a personality factor to the game though as the locker room environment and team character is so important.

Scouting however is still lackluster. It's not as thorough as real life but its still an improvement on previous versions.

Another big change is trading, the A.I. is now much better at trading. Before it would readily give up 1st and 2nd round draft choices for average players just to fill a roster spot, now the A.I. is smarter and fills its roster a lot better. You can also trade for future draft picks (which is so common in the NFL) - that means if I give you a Wide Receiver now in 2011, you give me a draft pick in 2012.

In franchise mode you also have 'cut days'. You start the pre-season with 75 players and you have to make cuts, like the real NFL down to a 53 man roster by the start of the regular season.

The Franchise mode could still be bumped up and filled out but it is improved. A lot of players may not like the new layout (it can be tricky to get to grips with to start, and a little confusing, also a little annoying to keep having to press Y to get the menu up) and it's not great but you'll get used to it and forget about it soon enough. The Extra Point and Half Time show has gone which isn't a bad thing as although is was nice and novel it was very disjointed and poorly done.

On a related note as with all sports games the Commentary is disjointed, poorly mixed highly repetitive (they use all the same lines in Madden 10 and 11 so if you've played those games don't expect a lot of new sound bites) especially the pre-game player highlights, as they only ever highlight one player. So playing the season as the Dallas Cowboys I am to forever here how Jason Witten and DeMarcus Ware are impact players, you can't switch who they talk about which after 4 games is already tedious.
Gus Johnson, I'm going to say this now, is bad. He's a horrible sportscaster in my personal opinion. He's excitable and the opening game speeches work because they're not patched together but for the game commentary it's awful because it's so obvious that it's patched together and doesn't flow. Cris Collinsworth is still great and the game wouldn't be the same without him but sometimes the game does choose odd Sound Bites for what's happening on the screen.
This has got to be EAs main focus for Madden 13.

But to end on a good note,
I haven't mentioned Super Star feature because I never play it, but I'm sure it's the same, it was just never a very good feature to start with. Basically you get to play as one player through the whole season and you are the player. As opposed to Franchise Mode where you're more like the Owner/Manager of the Team.

The Menu Music is again a great selection. The visuals are great, the presentation like with a First Person Shooter or Role Playing Game where you feel like you're in the movie and in the characters shoes, so now in Madden you feel like you're with the Team being broadcast on TV or at least like you're watching a real game. It's authentic and detailed even down to the fact the players coaches and referees now wear Pink during Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

This is the best Madden so far and if you've been umming and aahing about it don't any longer it's a great buy. It's much slicker and precisely executed and if you learn something in Madden 12 you may even be able to use it when you play the game for real, or vice versa.

Feel free to write any comments or anything. :-)
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