Application Review: Madden 12

Practically every owner of a gaming console or an iDevice, has heard of Madden, the most popular simulation football video game to date. This is due to the decades-old legacy of John Madden. This legacy has continued to thrive with yearly revisions on a multitude of consoles–including iDevices. With such a large brand name, it comes at a hefty price to owners of previous versions.  Read on for the full review:

Gameplay

Madden 12 has a multitude of game modes to suite the casual gamer to the pro-gamer: Exhibition, TD Challenge, Season, Playoffs, Multiplayer, and Vintage Voltage. The first option, Exhibition, is a quick way to just pick up and play the game. Season and Playoff modes go a little in depth and take longer to complete. Vintage Voltage is a set of challenges which start out easy, but will become difficult in the end.

After the the coin toss, the kickoff starts the game. For each play, you are given a variety of options. If the player wants to just use popular plays, one can use the “basic” method and just flip through the pages. Players that want to choose plays from a specific formation can use the “advanced” method. Both forms allow you to add audibles or flip the plays. This form of play selection is used for either side of the ball. Also, right before the snap, the routes of each player can be completely changed by drawing a line to adjust the route.


Six plays show up at a time when in the playbook.

The controls are quite simple and haven’t changed much since last year; the virtual joystick will move your player. There are 6 buttons on the bottom-right side of the screen to allow you to do various actions like juking, spinning, and sprinting. On defense, these buttons allow you to sprint, switch players, and slow down time to then choose other moves in hopes of stripping or intercepting the ball. Kicking the ball is also as simple as swiping down then returning your finger upward.

While playing quarterback, you can easily choose any receiver to throw to.

Another mode, TD Challenge, has the same quick setup, but the way it is played is vastly different. It is more of a mini-game where you must succeed in obtaining a touchdown within two minutes by running the ball or passing it. When one of the three categories of plays is selected, a specific play is chosen for you. Contrary to other modes, you are given limited control since the route is played through swipes and taps versus an actual d-pad.

Multiplayer uses the same gameplay as an exhibition game, but it is played between two iPads. Just like its predecessors, Madden 12 only allows you to play over Bluetooth. This is very disappointing since Bluetooth matches are rarely stable. Additionally, EA has left LAN and online modes to be desired.

The final form of gameplay is Vintage Voltage. This mode was created to recreate the classic arcade-style Madden. Gameplay is extremely slow, sluggish, and sometimes confusing. Each play has to be stopped and started to adjust the players, throw a pass, and other essential moves. This creates a boring environment, which makes most buyers go back to the modern modes.

Gameplay ★★★★½

Graphics

When you start Madden, you are presented with a menu, just like any other game. This menu’s layout allows for several options of gameplay to be shown. Although this seems like it could be confusing to navigate, the menu was put together in a way that provides a clutter-free interface. This was done by making most of the buttons easy to read text instead of pictures, which makes the menu self-explanatory so that you can spend and more time playing the game.

The start menu features a clean interface.

Another visual style that is constant throughout the game is that of a paint splatter. This splatter matches your team colors.

Unlike the menus, the actual graphics of the game are not as crisp. Most objects are pixelated. This prevents Madden from looking realistic in order to absorb the consumer into the game. Other things such as the football seem to have been overlooked. This a huge disappointment since it is a key element that is focused on throughout the game.

Visuals such as the football are essential pieces of the game. Unfortunately, they seem to have been overlooked, making them unrealistic.

Although it does have its weak points, not all of the visuals are subpar. Each player is unique, detailed model, which makes the game lifelike. There are also shadows that fall from the players and other objects around the field to depict the time of day. This combined with high quality textures in places such as the grass overcome the faults in other visuals.

Graphics ★★★★

Audio

The audio is fully adjustable through this menu.

Madden offers an excellent range of audio to satisfy every user. While you are playing the game, you can hear sound effects from the field, announcers, crowd, and background music. Each form of sound can be adjusted individually for your own preference. Every single block and tackle is clearly audible to create the illusion that you are actually in the game. The commentary is automated, so after you have played for an extensive amount of time, the comments and phrases repeat. This could become annoying, however, it adds some minor flare to the game. The crowd effect simulates background noise.

Finally, there is an option for in-game music. EA provides a soundtrack that can be played throughout the game, though many individuals prefer to listen to their own library. Thankfully, your own choice of music can be imported for your listening pleasure.

Audio ★★★★★

Replay

Madden for iPad will keep one busy for an extensive amount of time. This is done through many game modes and an online leader board system called Origin. Even though it is not as populated or established as an alternative such as Game Center, it does succeed in making you strive for all of the achievements. Also, accounts used on Origin for other consoles will carry over into the iOS version. The only gripe I have about its replayability is the multiplayer feature. It is very flawed since it is practically unusable and does not allow for truly online multiplayer. Despite this, you will still enjoy playing this game for many hours.

Replay ★★★★

Value

This game does come at a hefty price, even for an iPad game. At $9.99, it is one of the more expensive games on the App Store. I do feel that EA tried their best in making the game worthy of your hard-earned cash by providing many modes of gameplay. However, some areas like multiplayer and graphics are subpar. Due to these flaws, I do not believe that this game is worth the full price tag. Thankfully, Electronic Arts tends to knock down the price of their games come holiday time. During these sales, Madden could be well worth a slightly lower price tag for football fans.

Value ★★★★

Final Thoughts

Although it may not be worth the full $9.99, you certainly won’t regret your purchase due to the sheer amount of gameplay provided. The only aspect of the game holding its value back is the seemingly useless Multiplayer mode. The graphics also do take a slight dive bomb. Despite this, I feel that it would be well worth the dough to football fans and casual gamers alike.

Overall Score

† All prices are in US currency.
This review was written by the iFans.com Review Team. Cumulative scores are rounded to the nearest half or full star.
All accessories, applications, themes, tweaks, or other products were purchased by iFans at their respective prices unless stated otherwise.
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