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E3 Impressions: Madden 12

7:02 PM, Jun 14, 2011   |    comments
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Peyton Hillis of the Cleveland Browns is the Madden NFL 12 cover athlete.
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As one would expect, EA Sports is saying that its Madden franchise will be better than ever with the upcoming release of Madden 12 onto the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PS2, PSP, Nintendo Wii, and iOS. But is it really?

On its surface, is looks as if Madden 12 certainly has been improved over the previous year's edition.  EA claims the game to be improved in six key areas: Playbook/gameplay, presentation, franchise/superstar modes, dynamic player performance, Madden ultimate team, and online communities.  While not all of these could be fully investigated during E3, the first three could at least be glimpsed at.

Dynamic player performance has to do with how the players move and interact on the field.  One way this looks to have been improved is through player-on-player collisions.  Tackles and animations will be held until the players themselves make contact with eachother, eliminating player suction (players being "sucked" into eachother to cause a collision/tackle) and related issues that have been a problem with Madden games in recent years.  Also, players in the video game should act more like their real-life counterparts.  The example given during on the E3 floor is a player such as 49ers quarterback Alex Smith will tuck and run more often than others will do that in the game and defenses that get to him early in a game will likely see him do that more often during the game.

In terms of the playbook and related gameplay, defenses seem to have been retooled a bit.  Players shouldn't have to worry about defending players standing in zones doing nearly nothing.  Now they're supposed to be able to break their assigned zones to cover a nearby receiver if need be.

The presentation is one that seems to be at the least improved.  While the visuals look better overall in the demo build shown on the 2011 E3 floor with improved camera shots (blimp camera, true-to-broadcast cameras, etc.) and better camera direction altogether with EA Sports teaming up with NFL Films to ensure better cut-aways and movements, it looks that the audio (more specifically the play-by-play and color commentary) will remain below-average.  The company has decided to stay with the underwhelming Chris Collinsworth and Gus Johnson, dashing any hopes from Madden fans of not wanting to play the game with the television on 'mute'.

Madden 12 is due for release on August 30th, just in time for the 2011-12 NFL season.  That's assuming, of course, there is a season to be had.

- Game Guy Barry White bcwhite@news10.net

NEws10/KXTV

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