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Offense


Passing Game

I’ll be talking more about the secondary and so forth later in the preview, so I want to touch on receiver routes and the QB pocket here. First off, QB movement still feels off. The initial foot planting on the drop back and the way the pocket forms around you looks and feels good, but QB movement is spotty. The general issue still stems from scrambling. It’s just very awkward how the QB moves from scanning the field to running for his life. There’s a bit of a gliding motion the QB goes through where the feet have to get revved up real fast in a hurry once you have pressed the button to start scrambling. It does not look or feel right, but it seems like the concession that has been made to activate the QB’s legs during these instances.

In general, QB movement when throwing on the run also feels slightly off. However, in this case it’s all about giving users options no matter what. The game has to allow you to run backwards and throw the ball across the field; otherwise some gamers would be upset. That type of sequence understandably looks really messy and out of place from an animation standpoint. But there are other times where you are on the run, and once again the game almost has to speed up your QB’s body motions to make sure a throw can be made as you are about to be hit. Much like initially going into scramble mode, these are not new issues, and some will not even notice or mind, but it does make the scrambling quarterbacks look out of place in a game trying to look like the real thing. But, to be fair, these issues might tie more into the game engine and the fact that more types of throwing animations may need to be added to correct these faults.


Beyond those issues, the throwing and route running felt sound. I would not say those perfect three- or five-step drops based on timing are in place, but an underrated aspect of Madden has always been lead passing, and that still works great here for those instances. It is also much harder to successfully rack up passing yards this year, especially with the flats being monitored more closely (more on that later), but I did not feel like AI was reading my slant routes before they happened or anything like that. It more seems like the AI has been tweaked to lean a bit inside without giving up easy corner or out routes. Of course all of this is subject to change with lots of gameplay tuning yet to come, but it was refreshing to not just want to go for a slant, fly or flat route the entire time.

Essentially, the early returns on the passing game are that it’s tougher but more rewarding. QB movement still feels like it could be improved with better foot planting, but overall the game seems to want to reward the more creative QB. I threw way less than I ran though, so it was still tough to get a gauge on whether or not you will be able to put more touch on the ball during certain plays. Also, it will be interesting to track the time users will have in the pocket. I was under the gun quite a bit, but for now I’m just chalking it up to getting back into the flow of things.

Running Game

I came away most impressed by the running game. The first thing that immediately stood out to me was the way the offensive linemen really held their blocks and also tried to get to the second line of the defense. In the past, two big issues with the running game have been running lanes suddenly closing, and linemen not having the AI wherewithal to block more than one defender on a given play.

To expand a bit on these two improvements, in the past I have routinely found holes I thought were open, only to have a defender easily disengage from a lineman and tackle my running back as he passed by. This was usually frustrating because it felt more like magic than anything else. If a lineman is holding a defensive tackle at bay, that DT should not just pull away and easily take down my running back at the last possible second. To put it another way, it’s one thing for a running lane to be closed up by a defender moving into the gap from the second line of defense, but it just seemed outrageous more than anything else for the hole to magically close just as I was about to run through it. At the end of the day, my best guess is that the improvements made to suction blocking help to make the visual experience make more sense with what’s going on under the hood of the game engine.


As far as second-tier blocking, it really was gratifying to take the Ravens and Jets in two separate games and put together drives with LT and Ray Rice that were more about getting yards on the ground than in the air. Inside the tackles or outside the tackles, there were yards to be had. And it was truly rewarding because of the improved blocking. Whether it was noticing holes or following blockers in the open field, it felt like your pace and ability to read the play really led to success. I also feel like these improvements were at least partially tied to user skill and my teams as my opponents did not have the same success that I had on the ground.

The overall physics and improved graphics also help this area of the game. It seems odd to tie graphics to an improved running game, but I actually feel strongly about this improvement being tied to the graphics. The graphics in Madden have not been “bad” in my mind, but at times they look muddy or blurry in some respects, which clouds my vision a bit. This year, the graphics have received a substantial upgrade, so it just feels like I have been given eagle vision and can now spot all these running lanes.

The physics tweaks also seem to lead to less "clutter" on the field overall while running. This idea of "clutter" will be a running theme for the preview, so it's important to understand that all it really means is there are not as many bodies falling all over the place. (For example, this will also relate to "tumbleweed" tackling and blocking on returns.) Basically, it just feels like there are more one-on-one battles going on here, and fewer people just nose diving into the ground when blocking or trying to add on to a tackle animation. It makes the experience perhaps not feel as rough and messy as it really is when running between the tackles, but it visually looks much better and allows the users to actually control what's happening in a much better fashion.

At this point, I chalk these improvements up to a renewed focus on AI, as well as the modified approach to how the physics engine is registering when players engage with other players. With a minimized amount of suction blocking, people who love to run should have a more enjoyable time pounding other teams into submission.

Defense


Passing Game

Last year, I constantly felt like the deep ball was a little too easy to pull off. I might be in the minority here, but it just seemed like even elite corners did not stand a chance much of the time if the deep ball was thrown far enough. Perhaps my user-control skills were a bit off, but even a well-timed swat did not do the trick often enough for my liking.


So far with this game, I feel much more in control of the situation on deep balls. I have been able to bat away deep balls on downs where I know they might be coming. I will gladly still get jumped by a deep ball after the run has been established and so forth, but I want those moments where receivers are double covered and still catch the ball to be more rare, and thus more memorable when they happen, this year. For example in a game I was watching between two other folks at the event, I saw one receiver come down with a ball around three defenders at the end of a half. The play did not result in a touchdown or anything, but it still made the users laugh and jump out of their seats because, while it looked a little funny because of the way the player dove through the air to catch the ball, it was a cool moment. Rarity breeds that type of excitement for one side and frustration for the other.

It’s also clear that the NCAA and Madden developers shared gameplay pointers when it comes to defenses covering the flats and communicating with each other. Players on defense are pointing to areas of the field or handing off assignments, and linebackers and corners are much more aggressively halting players coming out of the backfield. While this stunted my “money” plays from a year ago, it was nice to see teams not just giving up five and seven yards like it was no big deal.

The zone defense is also a bit super powered right now, but I would rather the defense have more power than not when it comes to Madden. For now, it seems like the concession being made is that defenses are dropping lots of potential interceptions. I don’t even recall intercepting a ball during the event, but I know I should have had at least five. However, this area is another one that is always hard to balance. Wide receivers really don’t fight the cornerbacks to make sure they don’t intercept passes, so the defenders sort of have to artificially drop a couple here and there in these games. Regardless, zone defense and the interception passes are still being tuned, according to EA.

In short, I believe even the developers would admit the defense has the advantage right now. That being said, I would always rather it be a bit too hard to pass than make it too easy. On this front, it will be more interesting to see if creativity, game planning and unpredictably are the keys to success rather than just “money” routes.

Running Game

One of the big issues with Madden games is what goes on in the trenches. The 3-4 defense never seems to get enough love, and blocker-eating DTs never can really do their thing. I’m not here to say that all is well and good now, but the physics tweaks are presumably allowing linebackers to roam a bit more freely during the pass and rush. In addition to getting mauled by linebackers a couple times on pass attempts, the linebackers just seemed to be more active on the field. I did not have the time or inclination to really scope out if my defensive linemen were just taking up space to make this happen, but whatever was going on here was progress.


I have not really talked about the addition of consecutive hit tackles to this point, but again, NCAA and Madden seem to be sharing here. There is a new wrap-up tackle button, which I can’t remind myself to use yet instead of just going for Hit Stick tackles, but consecutive hit tackles seem to be more imperative for the running game. In tandem with the improved focus on weight and momentum, these make those moments in the trenches flow better. There are fewer bodies just falling over while having no impact on the ball carrier (see: "tumbleweed" tackling). The downfall is that you don’t really see “gang” tackles anymore, but the upshot is you don’t see 10 players face down in the dirt at the end of every play. If anything, it seems like an admission that the former physics engine was not going to work anymore, so now we have a modified engine in place that the team probably wants to build and add onto in the future to create those bigger scrums when necessary.

Beyond that, there is not much more to say about this aspect that I did not discuss while talking about running the ball on offense.

Special Teams


Kicking

As far as I am concerned, the kicking game is just never going to be good as long as a meter is involved. Everyone is all about user control (including this guy), but I would honestly welcome “real” FG percentages when it comes to kicking field goals. In NBA 2K12, those developers have incorporated “real” FT and shooting percentages. All this means is that the players shoot closer to their real-life percentages, regardless of user input. Some scoff at these things, and it does go against the general consensus that user control trumps all in video games, but it just seems like the only logical way to make the kicking game interesting.


That being said, the new kick meter is at least aesthetically more pleasing than a big fat meter running across the bottom of the screen like the one found in last year’s game. Basically, the new meter is similar to one you might have seen in one of the old EA PGA games. I would not say the kick game is any harder or easier with the new meter in place, but it’s something new. On top of that, I may have said it before in my other Madden preview, but I love the new view when kicking field goals. It looks really pretty and mimics the view you would usually see during a game on TV.

Returning

The early returns here are somewhat promising. The action on kick-off returns does not devolve into a clutter of bodies like in the past, again, because of the new tackle/physics tweaks. Instead, it’s a cleaner, more singular battle between players. Again, I think this highlights a potential shortcoming with how the gang tackling is calculated now. While you won’t have guys just falling or diving to the ground all around the ball carrier, football still is a messy game at times. It will be interesting to see if some middle point can be found between utter ridiculous chaos and one-on-one battles on the field.

The punt return portion of special teams seems to fare better with this new gameplay style in place. I witnessed a couple nice returns, and it was not because one player was simply fast enough to get to the outside or because a gunner missed the tackle. Instead, it was more just that the blocking was set up enough, and the punt returner was able to make one move to spring himself for some yardage. The punt return game has been a little too boom or bust in the past, and hopefully this is a sign that punt returns can exist somewhere in the middle.

Final Thoughts

It has to be hard to find balance during a game of controlled chaos. With so many AI players interacting with one another, the physics engine and AI have to be on point or end up making the game look ridiculous. The last system in place led to massive scrums and players diving all over each other, inevitably leading to many fans to turn on the Benny Hill theme song while playing.

In addition, the removal of suction blocking and suction play in general has been something EA has tried to eradicate for years. While it’s probably not going to ever vanish completely during this generation, the tweaks made to the physics engine do have some clear benefits, as well as a couple potential shortcomings. All in all, the developers are not trying to win the war this year when it comes to the problems surrounding physics and suction blocking, but they do clearly want to win a decisive battle in Madden 12.

And while these elements of the game will receive the most focus, the other element worth watching closely is whether or not the presentational uniqueness being introduced to the game carries over to the way each team feels and plays.

Simply put, no one should be thrown off by the game this year because it does feel quite familiar from a pick-up-and-play standpoint, but if gameplay balance is found, there’s enough here to get people excited about where the franchise can end up in the future.


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Madden NFL 12 Videos
Member Comments
# 1 ChaseB @ 05/11/11 03:44 PM
Feel free to use this area to conduct some hot and heavy Q&A about gameplay -- or just to tell me how bad or awesome the preview is.

*UPDATED 5/11* first post with some answers to questions:

Oh yeah, first off, totally forgot to mention Strategy Pad and defensive assignment whatnot. The Strategy Pad still defaults to the "controversial" original control scheme, but there is the alternate way to rock out as well.

As for individual assignment stuff, shading and press coverage on single players is back in the game now -- think someone maybe have mentioned this already somewhere, but yeah, just reiterating if so.

Quote:
Originally Posted by xlegendkillax
After hearing so much about zone defense in both Madden and NCAA, I was scared to find out just how "super" it really was. Looks like my fears may have become true. I really hope this doesn't make man coverage obsolete in both titles...
I don't think it will. The developers are aware that the zone is a bit too beastly, but as I said, man coverage also received upgrades from a strategy and AI standpoint.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PH1LLYSFINEST13

Good read. My quick question is , I know you stated that the Throwing on the run looked akward and part of it was because of the feet. When running the ball , how did the foot-planting while running look? Did you ever get into the open field and really get going to see if it looked like the RB skipped or slid a few steps or was it all more grounded? Hopefully that question makes sense.
I know what you're saying:



(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OuWxuS68FfY -- in case the YT embed is not working.)

You and I both probably agree Adrian is sort of floating there and not really cutting. Honestly, in the past I don't really notice it being THAT bad when I'm playing, but when I look at replays then I notice it. So with that being said, I don't really know. I haven't really watched any replays or anything so I don't want to say one way or the other. At the same time, I would think I would feel the difference if it were truly "fixed", and I also don't feel like I would be too out of line saying foot planting isn't something they can probably solve in one year with what's currently in place.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BezO
A few questions...

1. How was the pocket? Are the DEs getting up field to create the pocket? Are DTs getting a push? And did you notice any bull rushes that didn't end with the o-lineman immediately falling over on his back?

2. Have they added engaged player mobility? Are engaged defenders able to flow laterally towards outside runs while engaged or are engaged players still stuck in mud until someone wins?

3. Is the arc on deep balls better? Unlike you, I always felt like the deep ball was too hard because it never made it over the DBs head.

4. Did you notice any double team blocks on 3-4 NGs? Playing with the Ravens, this should have happen pretty regularly.
1. I certainly felt a pocket envelop me at points. I remember two different instances where I stepped up into the pocket: once I stepped up just to take the sack and lose as little yardage as possible, and another time I tried to just escape through the middle of the pocket and ended up getting about half a yard. I'm not ready to check off all those boxes as 'yes' responses though. And while I did get sacked a bunch, I can't say it's because my O-lineman got bull rushed or whatever else until I get more time to really scope out what happened via replays etc.

2. This is a really good question, but it's one I'm leaning more towards saying 'no' about. I do feel like in Madden you can move up and down a bit, but yeah, parallel is sort of spotty.

3. Yeah, didn't really notice. As I said, I was able to swat away the balls that were under thrown. I also feel like I could get it over the DB last year though.

4. Yeah, I sort of tried to look for it, but again, I was more focused on chasing down whoever had the ball. I think it's a good sign that the linebackers were active on various defensive plays while I was the Ravens.

Quote:
Originally Posted by drlw322
good review, thank you. Just a quick question about the different running style and carrying style, where they noticeable and were the animation done well? Did it add to the immersion of the game.
They did not immediately stand out to me, but I only used a couple running backs for a couple quarters.

Quote:
Originally Posted by fb121
Chase.
Are the tweaks being done from now till release going to focus on graphics and tuning or will they also include fixing some stuff you guys at the preview noticed. For example, do you think they will or can fix the qb's "ugly" running feel and look before release or is it something they just cant do. Because like i stated before, there is way too much sliding and floating enough and i hope they can fix this and not just tune it down because it gives an ugly feeling and just doesnt look right!!
They are always listening for feedback and so forth, but I take it the underlying issues I have with some of the running is just an engine thing. They are still tuning things within Franchise Mode and so forth at this point as well, so it goes beyond just gameplay stuff still at this point.

Quote:
Originally Posted by noda11
Great write up once again chase! I know this wasn't directly touched in this preview, but I was wondering how the ball physics were. It was briefly shown in the video, but I was wondering if you could give us your thoughts. Does the ball actually bounce around when it hits the ground or does it still look awful? Thanks again.
There were no fumbles during my games, go figure. I also want to see how the new, now-correctly-sized ball bounces around.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Legend Killer
Chase you did a good job on the blog bro. Didn't see this coming today. Thanks alot. The only thing you really didn't talk about much is the oline pass rush blocking. This has been a concern of mine for the past few years. Has the oline pass blocking been improved at all this year or is it pretty much the same as last year??
What are you looking for here?

Quote:
Originally Posted by da ThRONe
The impression I get is Madden 12 is more a building block then a dynamic turn around.
Yeah, I mean it's always a tricky middle ground with sports games. If the balance is there, then any sports game can be a great one any given year, regardless of where it is as a whole.

Quote:
Originally Posted by statum71
Looks like passing is going to frustrating.....if not next to impossible.
I don't want to overstate it. I mean I still threw for a TD during my time with the game. I just think zone defense is showing its teeth right now.

Quote:
Originally Posted by illwill10
I am glad that the Running Game is way better. I was hoping he was going to go over juke and truck animation.
They are still in the game, but it would be sort of tough to say whether or not they are way more effective or not -- if that's what you're looking for that is.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CHooe
Foremost, thanks a bunch for the write-up, Chase.

Cherry-picking from the previous questions I posted:

1. Gameplay: What's your impression of pass protection? Is there evidence that work has been done so that LEs are no longer as dominant, and REs have more of a fair shake?

2. Gameplay: has work been done to make man coverage effective without the "psychic DB" visual issue where the DBs will run a receiver's route before the receiver does? You specifically spelled out that you didn't feel this was the case with zone coverage, which is a promising sign.

3. Gameplay: could you go into a bit more detail about the 3-4 defense, specifically with regard to the presence of DLs occupying multiple blockers?

4. Gameplay: will we see any new penalties this year, such as defensive holding (which is all-too-common in today's NFL)? Will penalties in general be more prevalent?
1. I was an equal opportunity target when it came to getting sacked by my human opponents. Got beat up by OLBs and both ends, if not other positions. I was more getting penetration with my OLBs while using the Ravens -- duh, I guess.

2. Yeah in man coverage, I was able to run some somewhat-timing-based routes with some lead passing involved. However, I would be shocked if that's completely gone. I still think the DBs will jump some routes, but I also think they probably should read some routes -- sometimes DBs just do. It's more just that they seem to lean inside a bit more now by default.

3. Sort of touched on it earlier, but yeah, I think it seems somewhat promising that the LBs are active, but not ready to really say one way or the other without really watching and seeing how both the lines interact.

4. Good question, I did not ask. I did not see any new ones during my time with the game is all I can say.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Only1LT
"A few thoughts/ questions on your write up.

QB movement in the pocket in Madden is atrocious, and I***8217;m disappointed to hear that this is still the case, although I could tell this much from the vids. You touched on a point that has long been a frustration of mine, and that is the notion that we get a lot of these nonsensical animations, because Tiburon philosophy is, or they cater to those that think that, having total control at all times is a necessity.

***8220;The game has to allow you to run backwards and throw the ball across the field; otherwise some gamers would be upset. ***8220;

Things like this really irk me and I***8217;m not sure what it will take for Tiburon to understand that the game can have 10 billion polygons for every player, but it will still look like an 8bit arcade game if cartoony animations and weird interruptions are allowed. They need to decide if the game is really supposed to be a sim or if it is still an arcade tourney game. Add the realistic transition animations that this series desperately needs. People need to understand that it***8217;s ok if the QB has to actually slow down, stop, turn, balance himself, set his feet, and then throw, when he was running away from the intended target, and not have it just spin and fire in a millisecond, because they can***8217;t stand to be out of control for even a second."

---ChaseB: I sympathize with your point, and I tend to lean more towards your side of the argument, but it might not be as easy as deciding that A and B are the only options. I also have to be a proponent and supporter of user control in these games rather than being taken over by animations whenever possible. Lots of bad things have happened in sports games over the years when over-animation occurs. At the very least, I do think they need to find a better middle ground.

***8220;So far with this game, I feel much more in control of the situation on deep balls. I have been able to bat away deep balls on downs where I know they might be coming.***8221;

Except that this almost never happens in real life. You rarely see balls swatted on deep balls. If you are talking about Fly***8217;s, QB***8217;s will rarely put a ball low enough that the defender can get their hands on. It will usually be overthrown, or the defender will make the play by stripping the ball as the receiver tries to gather it in rather than swat it. On deep corners, crosses, and posts, again, the ball will either be led too much, or the defender will break up the play after it has touched the receiver***8217;s hands, either via a strip, or a crushing hit. There are too many swatted balls in Madden as it is. The number of passes defensed in Madden is so far out of proportion with reality that it isn***8217;t funny. There are several reasons for that, but I won***8217;t go into them now as they would be whole threads unto themselves. The bottom line is that it is HARD to play pass defense, and although, the way the defense was hamstrung last year wasn***8217;t good either, it seems as if they are going about rectifying things in their usual manner of overreacting the other way in the next edition. That rarely ends well. Something needed to be done, but I think they should have done things differently, but I won***8217;t go into those reasons at this time, for reasons I already mentioned.

--ChaseB: I think that's mostly a fair point, but I wouldn't say balls are never swatted away. However, yes, it does seem like a crutch of sorts and it would be cool if more (user) late strips and stuff of that nature were in to make it more dynamic. There are some times in Madden where receivers drop the ball when the defender tackles the arms.

Lastly:

***8220;In addition, the removal of suction blocking and suction play in general has been something EA has tried to eradicate for years. While it***8217;s probably not going to ever vanish completely during this generation, the tweaks made to the physics engine do have some clear benefits, as well as a couple potential shortcomings. All in all, the developers are not trying to win the war this year when it comes to the problems surrounding physics and suction blocking, but they do clearly want to win a decisive battle in Madden 12.***8221;

So are you saying that there IS still suction and warping in the game?

--ChaseB: I never noticed it during tackle animations, but I would figure it's still in the game at points when it comes to general interactions while blocking players in the trenches. I also say that because I saw it in NCAA 12 at points still in these situations, and these teams are sharing assets on this front.
Quote:
Originally Posted by TombSong
1. Can you send more than one player in motion on offense ?
2. Has the Oline protection calls changed any ?
3. Are there any coverage shells ?
4. How many tackles did you make where YOU came in to finish off the tackle and not just go into a fall down animation ? Did you influence the direction the tackle went in ?
5. Is there a lot of warping by WR's/DB's ?
6. Since they changed the way tackling works, does this mean "PRO-TAK" is dead ?(Though I never saw it work as advertised)
7. Did they fix replays so you can see ALL of them.
8. Do WR's still get held at the LOS forever when press coverage is called ?
9. During man coverage are DB's still running the routes before the WR's ?
1. Not sure, but lean towards no.

2. I assume you mean in terms of pre-snap. I think I just saw the three shifts again.

3. May need to be a bit more descriptive. My understanding is that a coverage shell is just Cover 2, man-to-man, Cover 4 etc.

4. Uhhhh, don't remember. The momentum, angle and underlying weight etc. take into account where the tackle will end up -- not the user.

5. I know what you're referring too, and I did not see it in my limited time. I still think there will probably be instances where the DB slides in miraculously -- old habits die hard -- but hopefully it's better is all I can really say for now.

6. I have lost track of whether they are saying this modified PRO-TAK or just something new honestly. Whatever it is, it's different from what was there last year.

7. You mean like in the summary after a game? Not sure.

8. Wasn't checking, sorry.

9. Didn't see much of that, answered it above a bit more thoroughly.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mrmass413
did you notice dive catches if so did they look good?
Only saw a couple dive catches. One near the sideline looked great, another where the player caught it and sort of dove into another defender looked a bit off.

Quote:
Originally Posted by K_GUN
in terms of defense......is the improved D artificial?.......as in more skating to cover more ground?
I've seen that discussion over on the NCAA forums -- it's a good one -- but I can't really say here. All I see really while playing are the results. For passing, I just noticed better D overall in the secondary, but the issue is more the linebackers I believe in the talks about NCAA. I didn't see any "super" linebackers, but can't really say more than that for now in terms of how they're striding.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DePounded
Good read Chase. Now that you have seen both NCAA and Madden, at this early stage, which game do you think looks more promising? I'm only planning to purchase one, and I really enjoyed NCAA 11 but Madden looks promising so far.
Yeah, I really can't say at this point. Still played both very briefly in the grand scheme of things. It does seem like both games are focusing on similar things though -- just taking different angles at points.

------

UPDATED 5/12

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thinking Out Loud
Really enjoyed the preview Chase and I appreciate how real you seem to keep it in your write ups.

My question is in reference to this sentence in your write up: "The game has to allow you to run backwards and throw the ball across the field; otherwise some gamers would be upset."

Are you actually saying that the EA football developers admit to sacrificing basic FOOTBALL realism to avoid upsetting FOOTBALL gamers? I don't expect them to create a game so true to real life that it can only best be played in a VR suit and helmet but not representing the risk/reward of simple passing technique because of potential complaints, doesn't make sense to me. That's like making a simulation basketball game where half court alley oop dunks can be done successfully all game because that's what gamers are accustom to in NBA Jam.

I hope this mindset is just some of the last dwindling affects of Madden's past and will no longer apply when developing Madden 13 like they seem to have done with other past mindsets in Madden 12.
Ha well, I think you're probably reading a little too much into what I said, and for the record I've never asked the developers directly about this, so I'm not speaking for them in this regard. I would think, as someone else said, they perhaps have just not found the right balance yet in terms of how to deal with it more than anything. I can't really think of another game that nailed this issue either. So it strikes me that it's probably really hard to get throwing on the run and all that correct while still staying functional and relatively fun for a broad base of gamers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by at23steelers
Are there more different types of penalties this year? Are the challenges different, where we can pick what we want to challenge? Also, did you ever see the ball go through a body. This is one of the most frustrating things in madden, and why swatting sometimes didn't work, because the ball would go through your player's hands. Great read btw!
Challenge system seemed to be the same, and I did not see any new penalties -- but that does not necessarily mean there are not new ones. I did not see any 'ghosting' but, again, I would be shocked if something like that is entirely gone. Ghosting of some sort happens in every sports game in some situation at some point.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vikes1
Great write up Chase. From start to finish, your comments seemed very fair and balanced. I enjoyed the read.

I consider myself as a former Madden gamer. Ie...haven't purchased the game for the last two years. So I can't really throw any opinions around trying to compare your thoughts about Madden '12', vs the last few releases.

I'm going to tread pretty carefully due to the above reason....but the last few sentences in your "Final thoughts", really caught my eye. When you wrote that the game felt quite familiar...and that basically speaking, Madden '12' shows some good promise for what the future may bring. For me personally...that kinda landed with a thud.

Now I understand it's not realistic to expect any sports game, in one dev cycle, to completely transform itself from one thing to another. But fair or not...as a sports gamer who's dropped Madden from my annual list of must buy's...your final thoughts were a bit discouraging. I guess in the end...it's more difficult to get someone back...than it is to keep them.

Of course I won't make any final decisions about Madden '12' until I play the demo or rent it. But by your early impressions..it would seem like Madden may still be a ways away, from me again, personally...having it be a "Must buy".
The familiarity I was talking about more has to do with controls and so forth. There's nothing new here that forces you to change the way you play Madden from game to game in that way -- though I'm sure the wrap up tackle will lead to less embarrassment for me in the open field. However, as I said in the preview, I felt like I had to change up the way I was attacking the defense a bit and all that. But yeah, if you pulled away from the series, I'm sure it's hard to come back, and I think personal hands-on play is the only thing that should truly convince someone to come back or not.

Quote:
Originally Posted by at23steelers
Also, did any of the presentation additions add to the immersion of the game IE. camera angles, stats overlay, crowd noise, and scoreboard.
I spoke about this in the presentation preview, but yeah the immersion has certainly been kicked up quite a bit this year. Sound is still a question since I have not really had a chance to really sit and experience crowd/commentary in a suitable environment.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DGMikeBarker
How was the backpedaling? Did DB's backpedal just as fast as WR sprinting?
Again, I've seen the conversation on the NCAA forums about stuff like this, but it's hard for me to really say without actual analysis like some of you guys have had the opportunity to do.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DocHolliday
Thanks for the honest preview. Seems like little additions here and there and the bulk of the continent is the same. EA really just does not want to push the limits, and after playing NBA2k11, i dont think i could handle another mediocre and bland game of madden.
I've seen a couple comparisons to NBA 2K, so I feel like I should clear up I guess this misconception. For YEARS NBA 2K -- much like The Show up until this year -- got crap for not being revolutionary enough or not taking enough risks or whatever you want to call it. NBA 2K11 added some really helpful new things to the controls this year, and also redid dribbling -- also really helpful. But in the grand scheme of things, on the court it's the same game it has been for years. But the point is that NBA 2K did not get to where it is making these MASSIVE, ground-breaking achievements on a yearly basis. They found a base (and an engine) that was really good, sound and customizable, and have done an incredible job building and adding to it on a yearly basis.

What you want sounds more like what NBA Elite attempted in one year than anything else.
 
# 2 xlegendkillax @ 05/11/11 03:49 PM
After hearing so much about zone defense in both Madden and NCAA, I was scared to find out just how "super" it really was. Looks like my fears may have become true. I really hope this doesn't make man coverage obsolete in both titles...
 
# 3 PH1LLYSFINEST13 @ 05/11/11 03:49 PM
Good read. My quick question is , I know you stated that the Throwing on the run looked akward and part of it was because of the feet. When running the ball , how did the foot-planting while running look? Did you ever get into the open field and really get going to see if it looked like the RB skipped or slid a few steps or was it all more grounded? Hopefully that question makes sense.
 
# 4 volstopfan14 @ 05/11/11 03:53 PM
Can you tell me any more about the 3-4 defense? Do the DL take up space and the LB make most of the plays? Does it feel more realistic?
Also, I really like your suggestion about the kicking. I've never really thought about it that way but that seems like it would be a lot better. The preview looks good. I'm excited about the game!
 
# 5 NoTiCe_O @ 05/11/11 03:59 PM
Nice write up, I gotta see some real gameplay footage, hear all the features and get my hands on the game before i can truly decide if i want it or not.
 
# 6 BezO @ 05/11/11 04:03 PM
A few questions...

-How was the pocket? Are the DEs getting up field to create the pocket? Are DTs getting a push? And did you notice any bull rushes that didn't end with the o-lineman immediately falling over on his back?

-Have they added engaged player mobility? Are engaged defenders able to flow laterally towards outside runs while engaged or are engaged players still stuck in mud until someone wins?

-Is the arc on deep balls better? Unlike you, I always felt like the deep ball was too hard because it never made it over the DBs head.

-Did you notice any double team blocks on 3-4 NGs? Playing with the Ravens, this should have happen pretty regularly.


Thanks
 
# 7 drlw322 @ 05/11/11 04:04 PM
good review, thank you. Just a quick question about the different running style and carrying style, where they noticeable and were the animation done well? Did it add to the immersion of the game.
 
# 8 TreFacTor @ 05/11/11 04:06 PM
The only problem I have with the article is the misuse of the word physics in reference to madden.
 
# 9 fb121 @ 05/11/11 04:07 PM
Chase.
Are the tweaks being done from now till release going to focus on graphics and tuning or will they also include fixing some stuff you guys at the preview noticed. For example, do you think they will or can fix the qb's "ugly" running feel and look before release or is it something they just cant do. Because like i stated before, there is way too much sliding and floating enough and i hope they can fix this and not just tune it down because it gives an ugly feeling and just doesnt look right!!
 
# 10 noda11 @ 05/11/11 04:08 PM
Great write up once again chase! I know this wasn't directly touched in this preview, but I was wondering how the ball physics were. It was briefly shown in the video, but I was wondering if you could give us your thoughts. Does the ball actually bounce around when it hits the ground or does it still look awful? Thanks again.
 
# 11 TMJOHNS18 @ 05/11/11 04:09 PM
Make or break for me.... Are Qb's able to punt the ball from Shotgun formation? Am mean come on, if it's in the game, it's in the game... right?

Really though, well done. But QB punts would be awesome too.
 
# 12 Legend Killer @ 05/11/11 04:10 PM
Chase you did a good job on the blog bro. Didn't see this coming today. Thanks alot. The only thing you really didn't talk about much is the oline pass rush blocking. This has been a concern of mine for the past few years. Has the oline pass blocking been improved at all this year or is it pretty much the same as last year??
 
# 13 xITSxDAWKINSx @ 05/11/11 04:10 PM
the running game on the O-side seems like it will be better and feel more real. but we all know on all madden things get harder (faker) lol. i wish the the tackling was i mix of what 2k5, all pro 2k8 did and what madden 10 did. i think then the "D" will feel better as far as tackling goes
 
# 14 da ThRONe @ 05/11/11 04:16 PM
The impression I get is Madden 12 is more a building block then a dynamic turn around.
 
# 15 statum71 @ 05/11/11 04:17 PM
Looks like passing is going to frustrating.....if not next to impossible.
 
# 16 illwill10 @ 05/11/11 04:18 PM
I am glad that the Running Game is way better. I was hoping he was going to go over juke and truck animation.
 
# 17 DGuinta1 @ 05/11/11 04:22 PM
Notice alot of "skating"?
 
# 18 TMJOHNS18 @ 05/11/11 04:27 PM
Also, I'd like to add I agree with you in kicking, full user control makes any kicker ice. Just like you said, take a look at NBA 2k11's free throw usage and do that for kicking.
 
# 19 CM Hooe @ 05/11/11 04:34 PM
Foremost, thanks a bunch for the write-up, Chase.

Cherry-picking from the previous questions I posted:

Gameplay: What's your impression of pass protection? Is there evidence that work has been done so that LEs are no longer as dominant, and REs have more of a fair shake?

Gameplay: has work been done to make man coverage effective without the "psychic DB" visual issue where the DBs will run a receiver's route before the receiver does? You specifically spelled out that you didn't feel this was the case with zone coverage, which is a promising sign.

Gameplay: could you go into a bit more detail about the 3-4 defense, specifically with regard to the presence of DLs occupying multiple blockers?

Gameplay: will we see any new penalties this year, such as defensive holding (which is all-too-common in today's NFL)? Will penalties in general be more prevalent?
 
# 20 CFTejada @ 05/11/11 04:46 PM
I hope Passing is hard & Zone defenses are over effective....

Madden 11 has no defense...

In all my leagues I participated in scores were in the 30's,40's and even in the 50's at times.....Madden tournaments I attended scores were in the 40's with 3 min quarters on All-Madden.

I hope they make this game challenging
 

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