What do you guys think of the Madden 12 demo?
Jayson Young: Player acceleration still feels extremely arcade-like and zig-zaggy. The QB scramble animations look particularly off as Aaron Rodgers strafes and sprints around Soldier Field like he's the second coming of Michael Vick in Madden NFL 2004. Some psychic defenders and player warping make it feel like the CPU is at tims cheating you on defense instead of legitimately outsmarting you with superior tactics or skills. It also seems like Madden NFL 12 is still missing some key features from NCAA Football 12 like spotlighting receivers and the hurry-up playcalling screen. We'll have to wait a few more weeks to know what improvements were made to the retail version of Madden NFL 12, but I feel like I was bit more impressed by the NCAA 12 demo.
It only seems fitting to show Hillis here because Jayson is a non-believer.
Steve Bartlett: The Madden 12 demo is a step backwards for the franchise. The game plays as an arcade title with no time to read play development, passing windows or player animations. Quarterbacks and ball flight physics represent what we would find in more of an arcade title. The ball travels way too fast, and there is no sense of synchronization between quarterbacks and wide receivers on routes. Ball placement is irrelevant when it’s almost impossible to read how a given defender will react, even if there is a step or two of separation on a cornerback. The game lacks these details.
Last year’s title felt slower on the gameplay front, which I believe was a step in the right direction. This year is a complete 180. Madden still seems to be struggling to find its identity in sports gaming. The game of football here is too simplified, and it seems to neglect the simulation crowd too much. An authentic football title would feature more in-depth gameplay controls and strategy in all facets of the game. There is a lack of simulation football here, and this demo has me yearning to play dated football titles from the past.
Steve thinks Madden's offseason moves are comparable to what the Buccaneers did rather than what the Eagles did.
Dustin Toms: Like most of you here at OS should know by now, I'm not too picky with my games, and I can enjoy one even with a lot of bugs. The Madden 12 demo is no different. With Jayson and Steve talking about how the demo is taking a big step back, I see it as a huge step forward. The graphics look great, heck they made Soldier Field look respectable. The gameplay itself did feel too simple, but I highly doubt it will become an issue for many sim gamers. Player motion felt as fluid as ever, CPU AI seems solid so far, and the blockers actually held blocks. To be honest, I feel like the demo is more fun than NCAA 12's retail version, which I''m enjoying immensely at the moment. Before I was not even looking ahead to Madden, but now I can't wait to put the pads on and go win a Super Bowl with Jake Locker.
Go away Hasselbeck, Dustin is taking Locker to the top in Madden this year.
Christian McLeod: I've been extremely hard on the Madden franchise this console generation, so imagine my surprise when I played the game at E3 and was blown away. I was glued to the game during my time in LA, spending every free moment I had at EA's booth. Since then I have been eagerly anticipating additional hands-on time with the game, finding myself the most excited I have been for a Madden title since 2004.
After playing the demo for a few hours, I was a bit disappointed in that I felt what I played at E3 was a better overall experience than what I played in the demo. It's tough to put my finger on the differences between the two versions other than to say the overall flow of the game did not feel as smooth and organic as what I had played at E3. Animations seemed a bit jerky, there were some frame-rate dips, and most importantly the default speed seemed a bit higher than what I had previously played. Another interesting tidbit I noticed was that animation variety did not seem to be as great as the build I played before.
As I said on last night's Operation Sports Radio show, I've never been overly impressed with a demo of an EA football title, so I am not putting too much weight into this demo in regards to the final product. There are simply too many gameplay variables that can not be properly explored, and no one really knows how old the demo build is that we are playing. Even with the initial disappointment experienced in this demo, I'm still anxiously anticipating the release of Madden in the coming weeks. Here's hoping the final version measures up favorably to the build I so fondly remember --trust me, what I played at E3 was the best Madden I have played.
Like Kolb in Arizona, Christian feels like Madden is a bit of an unknown, but it's oozing potential.
Bob Kollars: I have to agree with Dustin on this one. I look for the good in a game first before I start to nitpick it. With the Madden 12 demo, I see an awful lot of good. The improved graphics, excellent presentation and improved/tweaked gameplay actually have exceeded my expectations for the demo. I still see cases of psychic linebackers and even cornerbacks, but not enough to make me throw up a red flag. I really like what I have seen on both sides of the ball, from both a CPU and human vantage point.
I played numerous games on All-Pro, and rarely did I feel cheated in any scenario. There were times where the Packers defense actually destroyed my front line, and then there were times where I could move the ball. I also enjoyed the fact that on occasion I was able to hold the Pack to a couple of three and outs in a row, and then there were times where the reigning Super Bowl champs (that hurts to say) looked like offensive juggernauts. I also enjoyed the fact that I could break free on defense and make tackles, as opposed to being "sucked" into a block and watching the opponent walk right on by. I was very pleased with what I saw from the running game on both sides. I witnessed some tackles for losses, and guys getting blown up at the line, but I also saw running backs breaking tackles and fighting for that extra yard. The initial game speed may be a bit too fast, but all of this can be adjusted in the settings.
I understand that a Madden community like the one found on our forums helps point out real issues, and those people have been very helpful. I also understand that this title is being put under a microscope, and every little flaw is going to be exposed. If you're looking for a perfect football game under the hood here, you might as well move along. If you're looking for what seems to be a fun title (with some flaws) that will offer a lot of what you see on Sunday, then I would highly suggest picking this year's iteration up. If you are on the fence this year, simply wait for the retail version to drop and then make your decision. This is just a demo, and I would hope people can keep an open mind until then.
Bob is ready to swat some passes and get down to business in Madden 12.
Caley Roark: All in all, this game still feels like EA football, which, despite the graphical upgrades, often shows little resemblance to what I see on Sundays. The play-action plays, as others have mentioned, seem to be ineffective again this year. Screens don't have the same fluidity that a real NFL play has; you have to drop back too far and wait too long for them to develop. There are still some strange things going on with wide receivers and defensive backs, too. However, I do like the new graphics, especially the introductions and flyovers. The halftime "show" is laughable, but I've all but given up hope that we will ever see anything like NFL 2K5's presentation again. On the franchise side of things, the teases for the upgrades in that department have me a little excited.
I am having fun with the demo, but, again, it doesn't feel like NFL football to me -- just an upgraded version of Madden that we have been playing for years. I know it's just a demo, but it really might be time for EA to blow the whole thing up and start from scratch.
Caley thinks the game is beautiful, but it doesn't feel quite like a football simulation.
So that's how the staff is feeling at this point. Keep hitting that impressions thread hard and talking about your own thoughts on the demo.