Considering that football is starting again, I decided to take a look at the Madden '12 demo. Normally, I buy Madden every other year, mostly for economic reasons, but also because I still hold a grudge against EA for destroying the amazing 2K series of games. That being said, I've always been a little harsh on Madden.
So, does this look like it is worth your hard cash, or should you stick with updating your own rosters in Madden 2011? Hit the jump to see what I thought of the demo.
The grass looks much better
It's amazing how much a year can make; the grass in Madden 2012 is much better than in 2011. When zoomed in, you actually see a texture, or '3D' effect on the grass. The only problem with this is that it doesn't work for the entire depth of field, and you can see where the 3D merges with the flat 2D. Still, a good improvement.
Tackling animations finally look good
Hits, blocks, they all look real. Their are a few instances where it isn't perfect, but all-in-all, the tackling is infinitely better than last year. I didn't see a repeat at all, whereas in 2011, you could see many repeat tackle animations per game. A huge improvement!
Still some glitches
Unfortunately, glitches are still present. I was tackled a few times by 'sliding' players, who slid out of nowhere to hit me. I also had to watch a highlight reel at halftime, which consisted of me looking at the nice looking grass on the field for 10 seconds. The slowdowns (in frame rate) are also still their. Shame.
Once again the interface is slicker
Sleek is the main word I'd use to define the interface. It is definitely more artistic as well. I like it, but to each his own.
Some background graphics look ridiculous
Lovey Smith looked like he was 25 and Brian Urlacher started off the game running in with a Bears flag that looked like it came straight out of a cartoon. Aaron Rodgers' beard stretched around his face when he looked around, but I guess graphics can't be perfect after all. Still, I've seen some amazing looking things on the Xbox, and Madden still isn't one of them.
Now has the ability to improve players through performance; hot streaks give you a ratings boost. Play horrible and don't expect to stay at a 99 rating. They also included a larger pre-season roster, so you can make 'cuts' as the regular season approaches. There is also a free agent bidding ability, along with various 'RPG' style elements that let you build your team and give players specific roles that fit their specialty.
All in all, it looks like this year could see some good improvements in the Madden Franchise. Will it be a game changer? Based on what I saw in the demo, I'd say no. But some of the improvements, like tackling, and more realistic Franchise options will probably be enough to satisfy most Madden users in terms of upgrades, year to year.