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Free Head Exam: Madden 12 
Posted on December 12, 2011 at 04:12 PM.
With the conclusion of the majority of NFL games each Sunday, one of my favorite things to do is go on ESPN and read each teams “free head exam” written by its division blogger. I am such a fan that about 6 weeks ago it dawned on me to do a write up in similar fashion based on this years Madden 12 experience. I waited this long to see if there would be even a mention of a 3rd patch but there has not so I am left to believe that they are done with working on this years version of Madden. With that, lets begin.

After 2 patches and 0 tuner sets for Madden 12, here are three issues that merit further examination.

1. The AI: As the Madden released date approached back in August many people felt excited about the games improved defensive AI hoping this also meant improvements in other areas but its seems as if they were left untouched. The CPU has horrible clock management throughout the game, especially at the end of the first half and end of the game. Not only do they mis-manage the clock, but they suddenly become the unstoppable force against a very easily moveable object. Its near impossible to stop the CPU on end of half drives, no matter how bad they manage the clock. Franchise mode is in need of the most AI improvements yet has seen none. The CPU cuts players it shouldn’t while keeping players it shouldn’t, the depth chart is strictly based on rating rather than potential or age. (a 74 rated rookie shouldn’t be behind a 75 rated 12 year vet). Sure the Draft logic has been improved by player roles but import a draft class from NCAA 12 and that goes down the drain. Trade logic is as broken as ever, its not even a challenge to trade mediocre players for a bunch of draft picks or better players. The trade block is broken, I once posted a 92 rated corner back on the trade block asking for just a 6th round pick. I left it up for 4 weeks and not 1 single offer. The lack of realistic AI makes franchise mode a real drag and at times makes me want to throw my controller through my TV because no matter what I do the CPU is destined to score.

2. The Commentary: Commentary has become essential to this generations sports gaming, you can see that with the commentary present in the NBA 2k series, MLB the Show, FIFA, NHL series, even series by EA that is no longer around such as NBA ELITE has ESPN integration with a 3 team booth and NCAA BASKETBALL 10 had dual broadcast integration and 2 commentary teams; But as EA made the Jump from last Gen to next Gen something got lost in their technology that has resulted in downright horrible commentary. Remember how last year everyone hated that every game had the same old QB vs. QB intro? Well I guess this year Madden decided to swap it out with the Home Field Advantage intro which plays during all non divisional match-ups. As annoying as it is, it only lasts for 30 seconds and you can skip past it, what is more annoying however is that the game CAN NOT say the names of licensed NFL players. Typically you expect to hear the players number called to reference him if it’s a created player who’s last name shouldn’t be present, but there are so many NFL players in this game that are just referred too by their number, add to that the over enthusiasm in all sorts of situations by Gus and the repetitive banter between him and Cris and the only word left to describe the commentary in this years game is UNACCEPTABLE.

3. The Ratings: The ratings, tendencies and potential need a complete overhaul. What happened to the spread out ratings? Every player in this game it seems in rated in the 70’s 80’s and 90’s and so easily too. Combine it with extremely high level of players given A or B potential and after 1-2 years a franchise, you have a powerhouse team. Not only is this hurt by the fact that everyone is given a way to high potential along with way to high ratings, but we cant even edit potential. Not only that, there is no real scale. Just 5 letter grades. Not even a + or - with them. This kills franchise modes realism and replay value. It extends past franchise mode too however. EA pushes madden ultimate team like crazy to make more money, but riddle me this, why would I want to try and play with Marshal Faulk or Reggie White when Adrian Peterson and Jared Allen are rated 99 also? They have to come up with a way to distinguish playing with a legend vs. a current player. Lowering the rating scale and spreading them out will do that. I think putting a rating Cap on 90 or 95 is a good idea and leave the left over range for legends. Tendencies cause a lot of problems too. Its just so vague, its either yes or no or sometimes. For 2 categories players are rated by a start on 1 to 5. Come on, this adds hardly anything, not only should a players tendency be rated on a 0 to 100 scale ( lets be honest, there is no player who flat out wont make sideline catches, but he may be more likely to make them at times than others) which can fluctuate, but each position needs around 20 tendencies added. Tendencies for certain penalties, moves used, forcing passes, dropped balls, which side of the field they throw too or which receivers they target most Etc. The list of position specific player tendencies can go on and on, but no matter what should be rated on a 0-100 scale.

AND HERE IS ONE ISSUE I STILL DON’T GET: EA promoted the heck out of their addition of tuner sets to this years game stating how they could quickly fix something and not have to go through all the approval stages that a patch has too, yet 17 weeks into the game, we have not seen 1 tuner, and trust me when I say there are a lot of things that need to be tuned. Combine that with only 2 game play patches with a lot left that needs to be patched and as a consumer you have to be left scratching your head. It makes you wonder how many people will remember this lack of game support when next years release roles around.
# 1 RUFFNREADY @ Dec 12
Great Head Exam!
It's kinda sad, how Madden has fallen off these last few years. With what seemed to be half of a dev-team that stuck around to the end of completion, makes me feel that the "Now" dev-team does not know how to tweak a tuner! We should have had at least 2 tuner sets already heading toward the holiday season.
I totally agree with you (Schnaidt1), with madden12 we have a broken A.I. system; a lack luster Commentary duo, and script; and a rating system that is absolutley garbage, when a 97 speed player can be run down from behind by a 64 speed player!!!
I believe the above reason were some of the contributing factors on why i traded in my Madden12 game almost 1 month and a half ago.
My gut tells me that with Madden13, i will have to not listen to the hype coming from EA Sports, on any future products.

# 2 schnaidt1 @ Dec 13
thanks man! i really tried to make it just like on espn haha...

its a shame you sold ur copy already cuz i am working on a re rated roster that helps alot of gameplay issues
# 3 RUFFNREADY @ Dec 13
If you can work some magic back into Madden12 (gameplay/ratings); i would actually reconsider repurchasing the game. You can find Madden12 cheap all over the place now, so i would feel so bad, buying it for $30 used or new. holla at me when you have worked your Jedi mind tricks into playable gameplay.

# 4 schnaidt1 @ Dec 13
haha well u can mosy on over to the madden roster forum, view my thread an see what ppl are saying ( i uploaded a preview roster with 15 completed teams i think) now im finishing off everything else in franchise to upload that for ppl
# 5 BlackRome @ Dec 14
I don't see how Madden has fell off so much. Far as online play and competition it's been the best game sports going for the last three years. Yes better than 2k. Who I must remind you gave up fixing the online portion of 2k11. 2k who just released a patch to 2k12 almost three months later that fixes a whole lot of problems that no one who reviewed the game dared to mention. With all those fixes I'm wondering how the game got reviewed anything higher than a 7 when it was released.

If you want to play the AI. Maybe you do have problems.

I want to know who plays only against the AI anyway. It's almost 2012. Go out and play a real person.

This game shines when your matching wits with a real person.

Like all Madden games have always shined.
# 6 schnaidt1 @ Dec 14
if they added features and such to a online franchise i would...but the thing is...i get too frustrated playing against people sometimes...especially the ones who cheese. and oh are there alot.

i am a franchise nut.

and playing against someone doesnt fix the commentary issues, or the players ratings and tendencies...
# 7 PanthersGM305 @ Dec 16
Bravo...GreaUNACCEPTABLEt blog... nicely put. I don't think next years version will be on my PS3....
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