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Volume 24 No. 115
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EA Sports Aims To Enhance Existing Game Modes In "Madden NFL 12"

EA Sports enhanced the franchise
mode for "Madden NFL 12"
EA Sports' "Madden NFL 12" hit stores today, and this iteration "offers no new game modes from Madden 11, instead focusing on adding to the pre-existing," according to Lang Whitaker of the N.Y. TIMES. The video game's franchise mode "has been deepened, with additions like the ability to trade picks from future drafts," while a "bidding system adds suspense to the free agency period." Some "graphical updates make the look of the game more realistic." This year's game includes "green stickers on helmets wired for sound, plus a new 'degradation system' that accurately displays wear and tear on uniforms." When the "weather is bad, small raindrops occasionally land on the camera lens." In addition, "game presentation has been pumped up, particularly pregame introductions and the coin toss," and other adjustments "add realism to the game play." Whitaker notes "Madden 12" has "such a commitment to replicating the NFL game that even gamers who are experienced with the franchise may find themselves struggling to catch up, at least initially." In a game "so focused on realism and without any glaring errors, it is only the little things that detract from the overall experience." For instance, the game's announcers -- Gus Johnson and Cris Collinsworth -- "get locked into talking points, and the commenting frequently lags behind the game play." While it is "not an evolutionary leap from Madden NFL 11 to 12, there is no escaping that Madden 12 is a game that both gamers and NFL fans will want to play" (N.Y. TIMES, 8/30).

UNDER REVIEW: YAHOO SPORTS' Matthew Darnell reviewed "Madden 12" and writes the commentary from Johnson and Collinsworth is a "crime against the video game community." Johnson will sound "completely different from one statement to the next, with his soundbites clearly having been recorded at different times and at different levels." Darnell: "It's inexplicable that this happened in 2012." Furthermore, the "pregame camera shots and in-stadium player intros seem like something the Madden people were really proud of this year, but to be honest with you, they have failed." The game presentation is "really good," but when "you're playing the game in franchise mode, and half your games are in the same stadium, it just loses its appeal really quickly." Meanwhile, EA Sports "promised a significant" upgrade to the franchise mode, "which they haven't had in quite some time." Darnell: "I don't feel like I was shortchanged. There are changes, there are upgrades, and I like them. They're maybe not as polished as they should be, but they're there, and for the most part, they work." Overall, the game "looks and plays brilliantly." Player movement, and the "individual ways that different guys do different things is outstanding" (, 8/30).'s Jason Schreier writes "Madden 12" "raises the bar set by its predecessors in several ways." Running the ball is a "much smoother, more elegant experience," while zone coverage is "no longer a joke." However, Johnson and Collinsworth are "subpar" in the game, "dishing up the same tired lines we've heard for several years now" (, 8/30).

NOTHING BUT A GOOD TIME:'s David Pierce wrote "Madden 12" is a "gorgeous, fun-to-play game that should keep even the most ravenous Madden fans happy." The newest version is "by far the most realistic Madden game, with improved graphics in nearly every aspect of the game." Johnson and Collinsworth do their job "extremely well," as there is "emotion to match the plays on the field." There also are "far more calls ... and the calls fit the plays much more than the vague statements Madden games previously tried to apply." Pierce: "My favorite feature of Madden 12 is how much attention is paid to individual players' oddities. Philip Rivers has a bizarre release on his throws, as does Mike Vick, but they're always thrown more or less the same as everyone else. Not so in this game" (, 8/26).