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Madden NFL 12 Preview

Graphics and Presentation

In addition to the new team-specific entrances that you've already heard about, from the opening kickoff the presentation additions to Madden 11 are readily apparent. Each game now begins with a broadcast style side view of the kickoff and a redesigned kick meter similar to the old Tiger Woods button meter of the late '90s. Once the ball is in play, the camera swings back to a variation of the more familiar Madden view we've grown to love. After each play the camera will swing to different television-like viewpoints, highlighting a player as he celebrates or huddles up with his team -- complete with slick new stat banners. The result is a game that skews the boundaries between a video game and what you would expect to see on a television broadcast better than any football game before it.

A particular moment comes to mind that properly demonstrates just how cool some of the new presentation is in Madden 12. After he scored a touchdown in the corner of the end zone, the cameras cut to Tampa's Mike Williams as he celebrated with his teammates. The camera emulated a handheld sideline camera at the player's waist level angled up, as if the network had just cut to an on-field sideline camera in the corner of the end zone. I felt like I was part of the team's celebration, and the sense of immersion conveyed was amazing.


What makes things even better for NFL fans is the fact that Madden has received a significant graphical facelift this year thanks to art director Mike Young. Young, who previously had worked on the NBA Street series, told me that he knew he could bring something special to Madden, and was confident he could improve the visual style of the game to make the overall experience truer to what we see on Sundays.

Thanks to Young's effort -- among many others I'm sure -- player models look eerily realistic to their real-life counterparts, right down to some impressive new hair graphics for players with flowing locks like Matthew Stafford (I'm not joking, hair that barely protrudes from the back of a helmet looks ridiculously good for whatever reason). Individual pieces of equipment get dirty, and there are even different degrees of helmet scratch depth and length.

Things look so good that players are instantly recognizable on the field. Maurice Jones-Drew looks like a bowling ball below the waist; Mike Tolbert is a bulky beast; and DeMarcus Ware is a hulking force on the D-line. Add in some player-specific animations, like Michael Vick and Tim Tebow's throwing motions, and you have a game that oozes NFL authenticity.

On the Field

Graphical and presentation upgrades don't mean a thing if the on the field gameplay is lacking. Luckily Madden 12 is looking very good in this department. The momentum system that was implemented in NCAA 12 has been added here, and it really differentiates power backs from their speedier counterparts. Warping has also been removed from the game like in NCAA, and some of the animations I encountered were jaw dropping.

While using the Chargers' Ryan Matthews, I made a cut to the open field while in the process of bouncing off a glancing defender. Matthews briefly lost his footing, looked as if he was going to fall down to the ground, but suddenly regained control and ripped off 10 additional yards before being tackled by another defender. The entire sequence happened in an instant and occurred incredibly organically. Moments like this give me hope the days of robotic player movement and seeing the same four canned tackle animations are gone forever from this series.


I was also lucky enough to witness the game's touted Dynamic Player Performance in full effect during my hands-on time. In the same game mentioned above, Ryan Matthews was able to rip off a 55-yard TD scamper minutes into the first quarter. During his next series of carries, he ran like a man possessed, bouncing off of would-be tacklers and breaking free for extra yardage. Matthews DPP classification allowed him to absorb more contact since he started off hot, and it should be incredibly interesting to see how player performance impacts games and seasons.

Blocking, like in NCAA, feels about right, and it is also worth noting that the default camera angle has been completely reworked. The camera no longer pulls out as it did in Madden 11 to give you a wider view of the field, and it more closely resembles the current NCAA camera.

Final Thoughts

This is going to be a very big year for Madden in my opinion. The game is still being tuned, and it already plays a very enjoyable game of football. Best of all is that the game captures what it is to watch an NFL game every Sunday. Based on my limited hands-on time with the game, let the NFL cancel the season -- as long as I have Madden 12 I'll survive.


Madden NFL 12 Videos
Member Comments
# 1 GrnEyedBanditTN @ 06/08/11 04:11 AM
I'm really liking what I am seeing and reading!
 
# 2 R9NALD9 @ 06/08/11 04:36 AM
Very good to read this! Can't wait for Madden this year!
 
# 3 guaps @ 06/08/11 04:59 AM
If you get a chance to play some more or talk to the devs, could you please notice or ask them about:
  • Player momentum when running the ball. From gameplay videos it seems that 90 degree, 1 yard turns at high speed are still very present in Madden. Players don't need to plant their feet to turn.
  • Player momentum in interior OL/DL interactions. Looks like defenders aren't really trying to get to the QB. They appear to be more likely to stop their forward momentum and engage with the linemen.
  • Outside rush caught in blocking animations. So far many gameplay videos show QBs dropping back 15-20 yards, because the outside rushers are being locked into some sort of blocking/pushing animation. The Ravens@Chargers from Pastapadre shows horrible OL/DL play in this area.
 
# 4 BlueNGold @ 06/08/11 05:00 AM
I told myself I would try and avoid the hype this year after feeling that I got burned on Madden 11, but damn it, it's too hard.

Thanks for the preview, guys. Game is sounding and looking like the Madden I've wanted to play for years. Not the first time I've said that, but hopefully this year it turns out to be true.
 
# 5 TreyIM2 @ 06/08/11 05:05 AM
I think this is going to be a great Madden, this yr. I'm as excited about this one as I was 10.11, not so much.12 should make up for what 11 didn't do, in spades. I almost feel like 11 was a throw away yr just to get to 12
 
# 6 mrmass413 @ 06/08/11 06:07 AM
Presentation sounds awesome how was commentary?
 
# 7 Aggies7 @ 06/08/11 06:28 AM
Is the option still in to slow down gameplay speed. Players seem to be moving way to quick.
 
# 8 roadman @ 06/08/11 06:38 AM
I know Christian has been hard on Madden in the past, so, this is encouraging to say the least.
 
# 9 SageInfinite @ 06/08/11 08:20 AM
Damn sounds good. After skipping 11 and getting NCAA, I think I'll be doing the opposite this year.
 
# 10 jmurphy31 @ 06/08/11 08:28 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by SageInfinite
Damn sounds good. After skipping 11 and getting NCAA, I think I'll be doing the opposite this year.
Doesn't it feel like its an every other year for both titles. Meaning one year Madden gets big upgrades while NCAA is very similar to the year before (10) than the following year its vice versa (11) . I still buy both though
 
# 11 SageInfinite @ 06/08/11 08:37 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by jmurphy31
Doesn't it feel like its an every other year for both titles. Meaning one year Madden gets big upgrades while NCAA is very similar to the year before (10) than the following year its vice versa (11) . I still buy both though
Yeah. I used to buy both every year until I tested my will power last year and passed. Really enjoyed NCAA 11 and I'm glad I skipped Madden 11. Madden 12 is starting to look like the game it's supposed to be.

Idk for me, NCAA just looks so blah compared to Madden this year. I'm really not looking forward to it at all. I'm sure it plays solid for the most part, but I'm really not impressed with how the game looks.

IMO both of these titles still need work, but Madden has won me over so far. I just hope next gen Tiburon builds engines that are more capable. Seems like both games are just missing the little animations. I don't know if the engine isn't capable, or if EA just doesn't see them as necessary, but it would go so much further to help the "look" and feel of the game. EA is definitely getting closer though, finally.....
 
# 12 8 @ 06/08/11 08:46 AM
Well it's looking like I'm getting both NCAA and Madden this year. I was originally planning on just getting NCAA, but it sounds like this is going to be a very good year for Madden. Bought Madden last year and played it about 3 times and went back to NCAA which I played from July until MLB the show came out. I'm very excited about this years crop of football games. I'm still keeping my fingers and toes crossed though.
 
# 13 DookieMowf @ 06/08/11 09:55 AM
Quote:
After each play the camera will swing to different television-like viewpoints, highlighting a player as he celebrates or huddles up with his team -- complete with slick new stat banners. The result is a game that skews the boundaries between a video game and what you would expect to see on a television broadcast better than any football game before it
The presentation sounds like it has made huge strides, from camera angles to stat banners. This adds a lot to making a game great. Although it still seems like commentary is going to be stale.

Quote:
I was also lucky enough to witness the game's touted Dynamic Player Performance in full effect during my hands-on time. In the same game mentioned above, Ryan Matthews was able to rip off a 55-yard TD scamper minutes into the first quarter. During his next series of carries, he ran like a man possessed, bouncing off of would-be tacklers and breaking free for extra yardage. Matthews DPP classification allowed him to absorb more contact since he started off hot, and it should be incredibly interesting to see how player performance impacts games and seasons.
I have a feeling DPP is probably going to be overdone. I hope it's not, but I am a bit skeptical at the moment, and with brand new features always having faults, that's fine with me feeling that way. If it works like advertised, we are in for a real treat here.
 
# 14 roadman @ 06/08/11 10:26 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by LiquorLogic
LOL, I meant 20 yard drop backs. Are they effective at every difficulty setting ?
Liquor, you should link him to a video where you feel it's evident and tell him what second or minute mark it is. Makes his job a lot easier. Maybe he doesn't play that way.

Just my .02
 
# 15 gbombbay @ 06/08/11 10:28 AM
"Let the NFL cancel the season.. As long as you have Madden"??? Your prob joking when you say that... But still have you LOST YOUR MIND? Don't joke like that. I'm sure they have made tons of improvement to the game but i'm sorry i'm not ready to throw a parade for a game that should have been where you say it is at least 4 years ago. So its good that they are goin in the right direction, but as far as i'm concerned they are still playing catch up to those other games you've mentioned in your article.
 
# 16 daniverson1973 @ 06/08/11 10:29 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by King88
Well it's looking like I'm getting both NCAA and Madden this year. I was originally planning on just getting NCAA, but it sounds like this is going to be a very good year for Madden. Bought Madden last year and played it about 3 times and went back to NCAA which I played from July until MLB the show came out. I'm very excited about this years crop of football games. I'm still keeping my fingers and toes crossed though.
yah, i was only going to get ncaa too because the whole labor dispute just turns me off, but i cant see myself NOT getting it
it looks good, cant wait!
 
# 17 roadman @ 06/08/11 10:42 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by gbombbay
"Let the NFL cancel the season.. As long as you have Madden"??? Your prob joking when you say that... But still have you LOST YOUR MIND? Don't joke like that. I'm sure they have made tons of improvement to the game but i'm sorry i'm not ready to throw a parade for a game that should have been where you say it is at least 4 years ago. So its good that they are goin in the right direction, but as far as i'm concerned they are still playing catch up to those other games you've mentioned in your article.
I wouldn't go out and ask people if they lost their mind if they are doing a lot of previewing for us. I already stated in here that he has been very critical of Madden the past few years, so, hearing this is encouraging.
 
# 18 noonan2112 @ 06/08/11 11:17 AM
I can't believe the improvements I am reading about. It finally sounds like Madden got down to business. I couldn't agree more with the overall feeling that Madden has recently taken forgranted what it means to carry the exclusive rights to the most popular sport in America. They are finally taking that seriously. Can't wait!
 
# 19 doovid184 @ 06/08/11 11:31 AM
Up in the corner, in the box where it says Madden 12 Info, in the release date box why does it say OUT NOW?
 
# 20 savoie2006 @ 06/08/11 12:22 PM
So...is the DPP and Trait feature the same thing or two different features? If they are different, I wonder which is gonna have more of an effect on the players on field play? It seems to me like this DPP is a bit to one extreme and then to the other, but rarely in the middle. I don't want to play where my team or a key player plays great for the first half, but after a bad halftime experiece, comes out and sucks it up for the rest of the game. The individual traits sounds like a much better way to determine how a player is gonna play, while the DPP sounds more like mood swings.
 

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