|System: Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, DS, 3DS, PSP|
|Dev: EA Tiburon|
|Pub: Electronic Arts|
|Release: August 30, 2011|
|Players: 1 (2+ Online)|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p|
by Amanda L. Kondolojy
You may not be able to count on a regular football season this year thanks to the NFL lockout, but the Madden series is one thing that you can still depend on. And since this year football fans may be missing out on real football, the pressure is on for Madden 12 to be the best it can be. Like previous iterations, Madden 12 will feature the same basic gameplay, but with several new features. So, will it be enough to tide eager football fans over in the event of a cancelled season?
One of the biggest features in previous Madden releases was the Gameflow option, which enabled casual players to dive right in without worrying about using specific plays and plotting out every aspect of the game. However, this feature was widely criticized due to the poorly-implemented AI that often made game-ending plays, leaving casual fans cold. However, this year's Madden offering will have an improved Gameflow system that will allow you to favor certain plays or choose a certain "style" of plays that you'd like to see more often than others. If you are a more advanced player and still want to use Gameflow, you can import your playbook and use your favorite plays without having to interrupt your game each time you need to call a play.
However, Madden 12's changes aren't just for casual gamers; hardcore Madden enthusiasts will see plenty of new features as well. These include new blitz packages, better coverage options, and a more streamlined tackle system that will use an active system that changes the type of tackle based on where the players are. Contextual tackles are certainly one of the smallest changes coming to Madden 12, but it is something the fans have been clamoring for. We will certainly be happy to finally see this feature in action.
Another change that hardcore players will appreciate is the addition of a completely customizable playbook system that allows you to use plays from any team's playbook and incorporate them into your own. This feature will give players more control than ever before over their personal strategy. Online gameplay should be much less predictable this time around, which is one of the problems many players reported from past iterations.
Of course, even though there are the requisite gameplay updates, EA Tiburon has also given the visuals in the game a decent polish. Player models are more detailed, more attention is given to animations, and for the first time, players are able to take damage. Of course, it's nothing too major to start off with, but players that are tackled will often have helmet scratches and cumulative damage that compounds after heavy gameplay.
As much as we know about the improved graphics and gameplay tweaks, nothing has been sad thus far about new or improved modes. One of the biggest complaints about Madden 11 was its lack of innovation in the core gameplay department, so here's hoping that we will get some new information about new or improved modes soon.
Thus far, Madden 12 is looking like it will be a good sequel. There are plenty of great new tweaks to the gameplay and the annual visual facelift looks to take the series to new heights. However, the lack of information about new modes is a little bit troubling, and we hope there will be more information soon about additional features that will make Madden 12 the best Madden title yet. We hope EA will have some new content at E3, and we can look forward to learning more about this year's entry in the blockbuster Madden series.
Amanda L. Kondolojy
CCC Senior Contributin Writer