Madden NFL 12 box art

Once again, this review is exceptionally late. The football season is almost over, and Madden has already sold its bazillion copies for this year. So anything I say here is kind of moot when it comes to helping people decide whether or not to buy this year’s game. But maybe – just maybe – my critiques will help the developers provide us with a better game in the 7 or so months that they have left to make Madden 13.

After being thoroughly disappointed with last year’s Madden game, and not being won over by either the new demo or the gameplay in NCAA 12, I didn’t rush out to buy Madden 12 on day one. I waited till September and bought the game used. This also contributed significantly to the tardiness of this review.

Overall, Madden still just seems uninspired, even when compared to EA’s NCAA Football game. All the same gameplay enhancements go into both games each year now, but NCAA has at least taken some efforts to better represent its sport. Setting up “linked” plays is simplistic but was a start towards a better representation of football strategy. Integration of the No-Huddle offense into the game is a bit clumsy, but is a major component of modern college football, and is thusly represented in that game. Requiring the QB to “read” the defense on option plays doesn’t work as well as last year, but it’s actually an important part of the option strategy. The collegiate look and atmosphere really looks and sounds like Saturday afternoons, and the ESPN integration is actually pretty slick at times.

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NCAA Football 12 box art

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According to a post that I saw on Operation Sports, EA has finally submitted its second patch for NCAA Football 12 to Sony and Microsoft for approval for release. It's about damn time. This patch was announced back on August 2nd on the EA blog, and football fans have been waiting [not so] patiently for a whole month to hear news from EA regarding the patch's release.

This patch is supposed to fix a bug that changes player tendencies when their names are changed, which makes it impossible to play the game using named rosters, since AI-controlled players will behave completely inappropriately. Most hardcore football fans have had to wait for the patch to release in order to be able to even start their Road to Glory and Dynasty modes.

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Personally, I've been delaying my review of this game while I wait for this patch to hit, since the problems are so severe. Regardless of whether or not the patch significantly improves the quality and playability of the game, I will be taking the poor state of the game at release into account when I write my final review.

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Excited by the end of the NFL lockout, I just couldn't wait to get back to video game football. I purchased NCAA Football 12 last week, but haven't had much time to play it yet. But before I begin a Dynasty, I wanted to make sure that the rosters for my alma mater UNLV was as correct as I could make it.

I started with the rosters provided by Operation Sports user GamingTailgate. The guys at Operation Sports and Pasta Padre do a fantastic job with their rosters every year, and my hat's off to those guys for the tremendous work they do making sure that NCAA Football fans have accurate rosters for the new games as soon as possible. However, I noticed that they had made some glaring (but understandable) errors with the rosters for the UNLV Running Rebels.

UNLV Running Rebels logo

UNLV isn't exactly a top-tier team. In fact, UNLV is a bottom-tier team. They only had two wins last year. So I'm sure that neither EA Sports nor Operation Sports cares too much about making sure the rosters are as up-to-date as possible for such a team. But I care, so I opened up the UNLV spring 2011 prospectus for reference.

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The NFL may be in lockout still, but the NCAA is definitely going to be playing football this fall. Now that it's July, we're almost at the point where EA is ready to start releasing it's annual football titles. But first come the playable demos. I finally got some time to mess around with the NCAA Football 12 demo that was released earlier this week.

A few notes that I want to start with:

  1. I was not able to record or take screenshots of my actual gameplay. So sadly, you'll have to take my word for it when I say something about how the game looks or plays, since I can't provide photographic or video proof.
  2. The demo does not allow the user to access the instant replays. So I can't go into real detail examining any individual plays. I can only see what I see in real-time while playing the game. So I could be missing a lot of positive and/or negative aspects of the game that I'm just not noticing.
  3. I played all my demo games on the All-American difficulty. I did not have access to sliders or any other control configurations, so everything is set to default.
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