“Madden NFL 12” (EA Sports) puts professional football right into the hands of the player. The customizable features are seemingly endless in this latest installment of the franchise that originated with 1988’s “John Madden Football.” Gamers can create teams, players and even playbooks.
This year, “Madden” offers new features aimed at making the game as realistic as possible, from bidding on free agents to cutting players at the end of the preseason. Franchise mode allows fans to be at the helm of their favorite NFL team or to create their own team from scratch.
The customizable playbook means that fans can compile plays from the best coaches around the league: the hard running game of Rex Ryan, for example, or Andy Reid’s notorious deep ball.
In an attempt to become more like a role-playing game, “Madden” has recently included a feature called “NFL Superstar” that allows gamers to create a player, or choose a rookie, and play through his career. When the character is created, the fan chooses which position he will play — the game isn’t just about quarterbacks anymore.
Now gamers are given the option to throw a block as an offensive tackle, or blitz in as a linebacker without even calling the plays. This new approach brings the generally broad scope of the normal Madden experience into sharper focus, and offers a more direct relationship with a single player on the field.
Like any other game, “Madden NFL 12” does have a few drawbacks. For instance, for players without Internet access, the NFL team rosters are not entirely up to date. Some of this can be remedied, though, by trading players in franchise mode. Also, with so many different aspects of football, learning and remembering the controls for each position can be frustratingly difficult.
There’s also a rather steep learning curve to “Madden,” and it might take a while for children or gamers who don’t know enough about football to play at an engaging level. Thus, gamers who may not know the difference between a 3-4 defense and a 4-3 defense will be at a severe disadvantage initially. Parents may want to treat this as an opportunity to teach their children the fundamentals of this complex sport.
The music included in this version of “Madden” contains some very questionable content from a Christian perspective. But the soundtrack can easily be eliminated via the “settings” options.
The game contains earthy song lyrics. Game experience may change during online play. The Catholic News Service classification is A-II — adults and adolescents. The Entertainment Software Ratings Board rating is E — Everyone.
Nicholas Grevas reviewed “Madden NFL 12” for Catholic News Service.