Wii

North America

Madden NFL 12

by Neal Ronaghan - August 26, 2011, 10:15 am PDT
Total comments: 21

8.5

Madden is always brighter the year after the Packers win the Super Bowl.

Madden NFL 10 on Wii marked a huge change for the series. It was still football, but the fresh take involving party-focused gameplay and an abstract cartoony style was very welcome. Two years later, the remnants of that sprightly approach are still present, but the finished product is more like the Madden games Madden 10 tried to distance itself from, at least visually. Fortunately, the gameplay is as strong as ever.

The most immediately noticeable change is the art style, which is more realistic, but in that realism, it loses what made it unique. It also makes the game look even more inferior to the HD versions; the over exaggerated art style made that direct comparison less prevalent. The user interface, which had a big facelift last year, is still appealing; although using the pointer for everything still adds too many extra steps to what used to amount to a button press.

Thankfully, they added Classic Controller support this year, which gives you the option to play the game with traditional controls. They also added a Tecmo Bowl-style control method that features the Wii Remote on its side. It removes a lot of the strategy and interaction, but if you’re playing multiplayer, it makes for a more casual experience that is not as regressive as the other Wii Remote-only scheme, which removes almost all control from the player.

The Wii Remote and Nunchuk controls are still strong, and the point-and-click passing is as smooth as ever. The new tweaks to it this year are almost all presentation-related. Now, you can hover over any player on the field and get a snapshot of their stats. It’s well implemented, and ties into the bigger emphasis on presentation in the game in general. Each game feels more like an actual televised presentation of the game, though it seems oddly self-serving to have to skip over a screen that says “Presented by EA Sports” at the end of every game.

Xbox 360 Achievement-esque awards were added this year, and they actually unlock meaningful rewards, such as alternate uniforms, new stadiums, and zany footballs that alter gameplay. Your progress to complete these awards automatically comes up during the game. Altogether, there is a good mixture of attainable, long-tailed, and challenging goals to give players a little extra incentive to try different modes and play styles out.

The biggest disappointment with Madden 12 is the lack of any bolstering of the online. It’s been present in practically every version of the game on Wii, but it’s never been anything more than exhibition games. You can get updated rosters just like the other versions, but the actual online play is underwhelming.

Madden NFL 12 on Wii is not for every Madden player - it’s for an unfortunately small group of Madden players. It still has all the core features of the other versions (Franchise, Fantasy Draft, etc.), but the overall gameplay is a little more light-hearted and forgiving. This game is an incremental step from last year’s solid game, and all of the additions, outside of the neutered art style, are great. As it stands, this is the best version of Madden on Wii to date. Go out and pick it up if you’re interested in playing a great football game on Wii.

Summary

Pros
  • Addictive awards offer fun and rewards
  • Fun multiplayer
  • Improved presentation
  • Refined and solid gameplay
  • Variety of good control schemes
Cons
  • Lackluster online play
  • Pointer use in menus is clumsy
  • Realistic art style is bland and ugly

Talkback

AVAugust 27, 2011

I want a review of Jerry Rice and Nitus Dog Football next :-)


http://wii.ign.com/articles/119/1190962p1.html

NinSageAugust 27, 2011

I heard this game went back to the realistic art style but ... that's not what that screenshot conveys.

I tried looking on EA's site to compare some screenshots from the PS3/60 and Wii versions, but... well... EA doesn't seem to think the Wii version of this game exists.

Can anyone hook a NinSage up??

ProTip: Look at the screens from last year's game.

NinSageAugust 27, 2011

"realistic" PS3/60 Madden 12: http://gameswallpaper.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/Madden-12-ss2-1280x720.jpg

cartoony Wii Madden 11: http://www.gamingbits.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/madden_nfl_11_wii_review_1.jpg

still cartoony Wii Madden 12: http://www.nwiizone.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/madden-nfl-12-wii-67.jpg



instead of the ProTip maybe you should have called the hotline? =)

Proof that Wii can't do realistic Madden as well as the 360/PS3.

All I know is the art style was changed, and doesn't look nearly as good. It's less exaggerated, and I preferred the exaggeration. I'm aware of how these games look, and I didn't say it looked on par with the 360/PS3 version. I said it looked worse.

It might still like "cartoony," but it's a lame, neutered cartoony.

NinSageAugust 27, 2011

My good man, I really don't mean to sound disrespectful but, how do you look at those screens and think the art style was significantly changed from '11 to '12 on the Wii? Especially considering what Madden "realism" looks like in both HD and SD ... observe ...

Here is Madden '11 on the PS2: http://g-ecx.images-amazon.com/images/G/01/videogames/detail-page/B002I0H0DA.04.lg.jpg

If the PS2 can make humans in football gear look like that "real", so can the Wii.

It's "more realistic" and "loses what made it unique. It also makes the game look even more inferior to the HD versions; the over exaggerated art style made that direct comparison less prevalent."

Did you read what I actually wrote?

NinSageAugust 27, 2011

Yep.

And we could read it a hundred more times... that still wouldn't make it a logical conclusion based on the screenshots.

Do I say that it is super ultra realistic? No. I say it's more realistic. It removes the over exaggerated characters, which I really liked. I'm not claiming this is a realistic-looking game of Madden. It's just more-so than last year's.

Also, I've played the game, and I'd really hope you'd trust my opinion rather than screens. Trust me.

broodwarsAugust 28, 2011

Quote from: NinSage

Yep.

And we could read it a hundred more times... that still wouldn't make it a logical conclusion based on the screenshots.

This argument is so insipid I'm amazed that Neal has humored you for this long about it. 

His impression is that the game looks worse than when the visuals were more stylized.  That's his impression based on years of playing Wii games and being very familiar with the hardware's strengths and weaknesses, not yours.  If you choose to believe that the game looks the same as previous years, that's your impression.  If you choose to believe that the PS2 versions look better than their Wii counterparts, that's also your impression.  That's all that needs to be said, so chalk it up to differences in perception and artistic taste (and the fact that it's his g-damn review based on actually having played the game, which you haven't) and leave it at that.

NinSageAugust 28, 2011

Guys, really, let's settle down.  There's absolutely zero need to make this into some lame representation of our will. =P

The logical conclusions I drew were very different than that of the review. No big deal. As you can see from my first post, I just wanted information/clarification to alleviate this confusion.  Neal, if the reasonings behind your views are so simple, and I'm just (apparently) being unobservant, why not just explain them instead of throwing up the stone wall?

For example, why not just
A) point out the differences your see between the Wii '11 and '12 that I do not?
B) point out the new similarities you see between the Wii and HD versions that illicit those unflattering comparisons?

I illustrated my opinion with images.  Is it so insulting to ask someone illustrate theirs with words?

~~~~~

A few notes for the record:
1. all I used the PS2 version for was to illustrate that it looks "fine." thus, a Wii game with the same style should be "fine+" ! =)

2a. I played my friend's copy of Madden 03, 04, & 05 when we roomed together and he begged me to play against him so he could stomp me with Michael Vick.

2b. I purchased/played/own Madden '08 for the Wii because that was the year the Giants won the SuperBowl and I will always like to digitally relive seasons when they win it all (so basically that's just Tecmo Super Bowl and Madden '08! =P)

2c. I've played Madden '11 for the Wii with another friend of mine. I found the Wii pointer controls in that game to be the best way Madden has ever felt!

... now that you all know I have observed Madden extensively on PS2 and Wii, I hope it's cool that I talk about the games. =)

Quote from: NWR_Neal

All I know is the art style was changed, and doesn't look nearly as good. It's less exaggerated, and I preferred the exaggeration. I'm aware of how these games look, and I didn't say it looked on par with the 360/PS3 version. I said it looked worse.

It might still like "cartoony," but it's a lame, neutered cartoony.

Is that explaining my opinion with words? If not, then I don't know if I know what you mean by explaining my opinion with words. Because that's what I did. With the words. And the explaining of my opinion.

The similarities, which I might have also explained but don't feel quoting, are that it doesn't have that sense of style. It's like how I feel Wind Waker is one of the most beautiful games ever and I don't think Twilight Princess looks any better. Technically, TP might be better looking, but in my eyes, WW is way better, mainly because of its art style which is unique and plays to the strengths of the system. I feel the same way about Madden 11 vs. 12.

I actually almost included that Zelda comparison in the review, but I had to add too many qualifiers to it for it to work. (I kind of detest the changes made to the art style in Madden 12, whereas I'm not too bothered by TP and WW looking different.)

I don't think broodwars was challenging your Madden-playing prowess, he was challenging your Madden 12 on Wii-playing prowess. You're allowed to ask questions and stuff, but I've spent countless hours with this game. You might have seen gameplay footage at best.


EDIT: And, I mean this not to be douchey, but you did say something about you apparently being unobservant, and I was to cover all my bases: Look at the Madden 11 screens and the big hands and lanky bodies of the wide receivers. And the big shouldered linebackers. And the running backs with giant thighs. They look like cartoon characters. I dug that. In Madden 12, they might not be uber realistic, but they lost they exaggerated features.

broodwarsAugust 28, 2011

Quote from: NWR_Neal

I don't think broodwars was challenging your Madden-playing prowess, he was challenging your Madden 12 on Wii-playing prowess.

Yep.  There's a lot more to a game's visuals than can be conveyed by simple screenshots.  When a game's in motion, it's a whole other story.  It reminds me how in the GCN era I always wondered how websites like IGN managed to procure absolutely stunning screenshots for games like Prince of Persia: Two Thrones when the game has never looked like that in motion any of the many times I've played it.  There's the fluidity of the animation, how the game looks in various lighting conditions, as well as how the game's look holds up when the player is doing something unusual.

For example, if you are playing a Madden game with a realistic art style and the game is coded so tackles "lock/suck on" to an opponent, the game looks much worse IMO than if the art style were cartoony.  When an image's look is exaggerated, we tend to expect exaggerated movements.  When an image looks closer to realism, we tend to look for those imperfections, and they stand out much worse.

This is far from the first time you've brought up the PS2 Madden games, NinSage.  Personally, I don't think "realistic" art styles ever looked good on the PS2, either.  All the games that have held up best over the years (and consequently the ones that have translated best when converted to HD via the PS3 collections) are stylized in some form or fashion.  But at the time when the PS2 was in its heyday, that look was the one that the simulation football audience wanted, so that's what they got.  Flash forward quite a few years, and at this point EA can't possibly be expecting many sales from the PS2 Maddens, so to keep costs low they probably just keep things as is and make minor roster and feature updates. 

By contrast, the Wii is a major current platform with a huge install base, and EA has a huge vested interest in finding a way to make the game look the best it can on the platform.  So for a few years, they tried the stylized cartoony look to take advantage of the graphical style the Wii does best.  I guess it just never caught on as they hoped, so maybe they refocused the game towards this art style to try to capture the few Wii-only diehard Madden simulation fans demanding realism.  I don't agree with that decision, but here we are.

NinSageAugust 28, 2011

Quote from: NWR_Neal

Look at the Madden 11 screens and the big hands and lanky bodies of the wide receivers. And the big shouldered linebackers. And the running backs with giant thighs. They look like cartoon characters. I dug that. In Madden 12, they might not be uber realistic, but they lost they exaggerated features.

This. This. A thousand times this!!

This is all I was asking for!! Perhaps I should have requested specifics instead of just an explanation?

Now I can compare images and NOW I can at least see where you are coming from!

I still don't think it's as big a deal as your review made it sound BUT - that is a mere difference of opinion - which we are all entitled to.

Thanks for finally clearing that up and I apologize it was such a long and windy road to get to this point!

@broodwars

If by "far from the first time" you mean "the second time" then, yes, this is the second time I've brought up Madden's graphics =P

I assumed that was clear to see, but I guess I was wrong. It does add up to a matter of preference, though. I don't think you were the person I argued with a week or so ago about realism in Madden graphics, but if you saw that, I vastly prefer to the stylized approach of 10 and 11.

NinSageAugust 28, 2011

Cool cool.

And for what it's worth, I was really excited when I first heard about the new style before Madden 10.  At first it reminded me more of my favorite football game, Tecmo Super Bowl, because it was a purposefully "fictionalized" version of the NFL. (I mean, come on, Madden doesn't really represent "real" football in terms of playcalling, etc (throw the bomb!!)).

But yea, the more I saw it I just started to feel like they weren't trying to put effort towards something special on the Wii, more so, it felt like they were just saying "well, the Wii is for kids so here's a half-assed something kids might like."

Again, just my perspective - not a gospel truth ^_^

Thanks for clearing this up, Neal!

You're entitled to your opinion, but after talking to numerous employees at Tiburon, a lot of effort has been put into these games. This isn't a half-assed game. A half-assed game is every Madden Wii game before Madden 10.

That's not my opinion. That is a fact. Madden 07 to 09 was a port of the PS2 version with motion controls. A total and complete afterthought.

Madden 10 to 12 were put into the hands of the House That Built Madden (Tiburon), and while it doesn't get the same effort as the HD versions (and why would it? Sales of the 360/PS3 versions are the highest), love goes into this game.

The fact that there is a worthwhile exclusive version of a game on Wii right now is a great thing. Look at the rest of the shit on the system right now. Madden 12 is one of the only decent third-party games out there in 2011.

badlambs626@yahoo.comAugust 28, 2011

Ok, you arguement is confusing me. I have played madden on the wii on the 09 and the 10 version. I felt the madden 10 version was cartoonish and simiply i hated it. I didnt even wanted to spend the 3 dollars a night to rent the 11 version because the madden 10 was so poor. So in compares of graphics and artwork how is 09 vs. 12? I can handle the game play but if i wanted to play a cartoon football game i would buy the backyard kids game. I have played all the maddens on ps2 and the 11 version on 360 and I like those version better than i like 10 version on wii.

NinSageAugust 28, 2011

Neal-

That's cool to know.  I'll definitely try to keep that in mind in the future.  Thanks for the info, bud!

The Peoples ChampSeptember 01, 2011

I love the new art style, toony Madden was a joke.
Gonna go  buy this on payday.

RABicleSeptember 04, 2011

I thought this was a DS game based off the screenshots...

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Madden NFL 12 Box Art

Genre Sports
Developer Tiburon (EA)
Players1 - 4
Online1 - 2

Worldwide Releases

na: Madden NFL 12
Release Aug 30, 2011
PublisherElectronic Arts
RatingEveryone

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