iPad Game Review: MADDEN NFL 12 by EA SPORTS For iPad
Reviewed by ColeDaddy
The Madden game franchise is arguably the premier sports title in the entire world. Madden's annual releases have brought millions of fans a good measure of excitement and entertainment by creating games for the various game consoles and expanding onto a larger fan base by porting their football games onto mobile devices. So, how does the greatest spectator sport in the world paired up with the best sports gaming developer in the world do in their latest incarnation?
What I liked about the gameplay was the sophistication of play calling. Gamers from varied levels of experience at either the game of football or those getting used to the Madden's iconic play-displays can toggle between a "Basic" or "Advanced" level of presentation. The Basic offers plays at a "10,000 foot level" of plays, generic enough to keep the flow of the game progressing forward while learning how to set plays on either side of the ball; or, the Advanced level which adds several layers of depth and complexity in the type of plays to call based on your plan of attack.
There are a number of passing plays gamers can choose from and execute. After a play is chosen, gamers can change their play by calling an audible or by changing a player's coverage by drawing a line to a new end-location. For example, if your "mike back" was initially set to zone coverage, you can draw a line from the middle linebacker directly to the quarterback changing the backers' focus from pass coverage into a blitz. Conversely, gamers can do the same for offensive players such as receivers by changing their original path to a custom-made one of your choosing. In other words, a receiver originally set to go out on a post pattern can be changed to a "five and out" play.
What I didn't like about the gameplay was the horrible framerate speed. On my iPad 2, the game stuttered and hesitated so often than it felt like I was playing the game on an older generation device. The halting gameplay was so distracting that it detracted from anything that was done right in the game. If the game wasn't optimized for the iPad 2 (which at the time of this writing is the premier iOS on the Apple platform), then I'd hate to guess what playing on the other iDevices would be like.
Keeping in line with the Madden tradition, the graphics, while lacking any photo-realistic level of detail to the individual players, do provide a richly engrossing level of detail that is pleasing to the eye.
The overall feel of the stadium is enhanced by the crowd noise and the ambient game field. However, I would have welcomed more play-by-play and color commentary running throughout the game. Yeah, I know that the console versions have canned commentary, but it?s better than NOT hearing enough of it to add to the overall Game Day experience.
Electronic Arts? latest Madden franchise entry while tweaking the game here and there, didn't make enough solid improvements to separate itself from last year's version, nor does it excite an old-time Madden-evangelist like myself to urge others to go out and buy this game. Additionally, the chronic gameplay stutters caused by the sluggish framerate scream rushed and sloppy handling in the testing environment and shoddy quality checks before releasing this product to the public. Given its prestigious pedigree, this release is a disappointment. Hopefully, Electronic Arts will have garnered enough lessons-learned to cull from before Madden 13's eventual release.
Ratings (scale of 1 to 5):
Graphics: - 3 - While not photo-realistic, the graphics are visually rich and colorful.
Sound: - 3 - The ambient crowd and field-level noise accentuates the on-the-field experience. However, the running commentary is a bit sparse.
Controls: - 3 - In-game controls are responsive and intuitive.
Gameplay: - 2 - The choppy, sluggish framerate is the games downfall.
Overall: - 2.75 - The much-anticipated annual release for the iOS falls short of its pre-release hype failing to highlight significant improvements that separate it from last year?s version. The gameplay?s inexorably slow framerate was tantamount to Bernie Kosar playing football on the beach on a bootleg to the end-zone with each foot weighed down by 20 lbs boots.
Here is a trailer from E3:
Playing Hints and Tips:
-A good command of play calling on either side of the ball will be to your advantage. Remember to use the arrow indicators to scan through the pages of plays. Oftentimes, I mistakenly called a play by trying to swipe to the next page rather than press "Next" or "Previous".
-Try not to set a predictable pattern for the AI by mixing up your play calling within reason, given particular game situation.
Developer: EA Mobile
Release Date: August 30, 2011
Price: $ 9.99
Buy App: MADDEN NFL 12 by EA SPORTS For iPad
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