As summer winds down, the kids go back to school and the politicians and owners go through the motions of trying to bring the NFL back to Los Angeles, dads everywhere can now replay and avenge the misfortunes of their favorite football teams. As a Los Angeles football fan, there are a lot of sore spots the latest Madden 12 release uncovers. Unrelated to the videogame, the arrogance of local politicians driving the NFL and a good chunk of the film industry outside of the area is frustrating. The state of Detroit should serve enough caution against trying to over-milk local business. The more relevant issue stems from EA throwing their financial muscle into securing exclusive rights to NFL licensed games.
There was a time when every software company there was, had an NFL game and almost every one of them was terrible. In 2005 that was not the case, 2K sports with an ESPN license was at the very least, highly competitive with the long time standard of EA’s Madden. NFL 2K5 was priced at $19.99 forcing EA to drop the price of Madden 2005 and spend a lot of money to insure they would never face this type of competition again. For the last seven years, some may argue, EA has done little advance their annual football product.
At the heart of all sports games is an RPG for sports fans; Madden 12 is no exception. As a matter of fact, Madden 12 boasts a My Superstar mode which allows you to create a player and either enter the draft or walk on to the team of your choosing. The Franchise mode lets you be the owner, coach, players and everything. This year’s Franchise mode adds a new twist to your stat driven players by adding Dynamic Player Performance. This adds a new wrinkle by adding inconsistency to the play of less dependable players and the carry over effects of hat and cold streaks. If all of that isn’t enough control for you, you can also make your own playbook.
Another wrinkle in the standard gameplay modes is the Madden Ultimate Team which is kind of a weird play on Pokemon or Magic Cards. There is even a very limited release Hall of Fame Edition this year with an exclusive set. You start with a deck of cards that fills your team, and as you play, you gain coins that allow you to buy different tiers of decks to supplement and replace your deck. In addition to the coins, gamers can also use real money to buy booster decks. In a slight twist, the cards have contract lengths, which are used up in games. This can create a problem however, because every game that player starts deducts from that contract, in an effort to prevent everyone quitting losing games. The problem is that EA consistently has server issues, which will drop you from games and then deduct that game from your players’ contracts.