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This is kind of old news, but I thought I'd share my two cents about it.

Surprise Onside Kick is the first new feature announced for Madden 2012

Well, this is not a terribly positive sign. For many reasons:

  • Its a gimmick feature trying to take advantage of the excitement from the Colts-Saints Super Bowl (TWO Super Bowls ago!).
  • I don't see any indication that real-time physics are being implemented; thus, football gamers will be completely at the mercy of pre-canned animations and the CPU's ability to defy the laws of physics whenever its convenient.
  • Its a potential additional "cheese" feature for online players. Online games already only have 5 to 7 minute quarters standard. With the Gameflow and accelerated clock turned on, such a game is very short, and its easy for a player to possess the ball for an entire half! If this trick play has anything greater than a 25% chance of success, then it will mean many players online could hoard the ball for the entire game, never even giving the other player a chance to possess the ball. And since playing defense in Madden is so stupidly broken, I can't even make the "defense is just as important as offense" argument, because in Madden, it is not.
  • Onside kicks have traditionally been a broken play in Madden games; mostly because there is no real-time physics, and the game lacks the appropriate "fall on the ball" animations and AI logic. The player who recovers this kick actually does dive for the ball, so that may be a positive sign, but Madden has also become notorious in recent years for adding new features without fixing problems with the existing mechanics that the new feature is based off of or similar to.
  • The animations in this clip look horrendously fake:
    • The receiving team does not even try to turn around to play normal kick recovery. They are not fooled by this play at all. As soon as the ball is kicked, they all run forward instead of back to set up their blocks. What's the point of adding a "surprise" onside kick if the receiving team is going to behave as if they knew it was an onside kick all along?
    • The ball bounces off the receiving team's Center's foot, and then appears to just stop moving so that he can fall on it. Footballs typically don't bounce like that. Usually if a football bounces off your foot, it moves away from you and then typically rolls. It doesn't just stop at your feet for you to fall on. It can, but it usually doesn't.
    • After the play, the kicking team's players celebrate and the receiving team's players walk off the field with their heads down - even though the receiving team recovered!


Typically, when game studios release their first clips of a new game, they polish that clip and put a lot of time into making it look as good as it can possibly look. This is the public's first glimpse of what Madden 2012 is going to be, and it already looks broken, unpolished, and gimmicky.

Ian Cummings and EA, you've dug yourselves into a hole with the disappointing product that last year's Madden was (see my official review), and this video just dug you a little bit deeper. If you want my money, you sure as hell better blow my mind with your next "feature" announcement!

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