Madden NFL 12



Great pro football sim, now with concussion support.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

This game is a simulation of professional football, a sport that encourages team play, professionalism, athletics, and tactics. Keep in mind, though, that it is also a fairly violent contact sport, and that this game doesn't shy away from showing its violence.

Positive role models

Players take control of digital versions of real teams and NFL players. Some of these players are positive role models in the real world, while others, such as Michael Vick, aren't.

Ease of play

This game is easier to play than many other sports games. Plus, the developers have introduced various aids to make it easier and faster for novices. That said, there is still a learning curve.


Football is a full contact sport, so tackling is a big part of this game. There are many new and brutal-looking tackling animations in the 2012 edition. But the game no longer shows headfirst tackling or hits to receiver's heads. Plus, players who sustain a concussion in the game will no longer be able to return to play; when a player is sidelined, you'll hear the announcers, Gus Johnson and Chris Collinsworth, explain why they've been taken out of play.

Not applicable

None of the background songs contain profanity, and the players, coaches, and announcers do not say anything inappropriate.


As with past years, Madden NFL 12 contains in-game advertising such as stadium signs, Jumbotron logos and even sponsored portions of the game. However, aside from ads for EA Sports, the NFL, ESPN, and individual team branding, there doesn't seem to be as much advertising as in previous editions. Keep in mind, though, that we tested the game pre-release, and that advertising is often added dynamically via the Internet after games go live.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable
Privacy & safety
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know Madden NFL 12 is a pro football simulation available for multiple consoles. There isn't much inappropriate content to be concerned about except for tackles, the animations for which often appear fairly violent. But the game no longer shows headfirst tackling and players who sustain a concussion in the game are not allowed to return to play. Note that players will be exposed to advertising through field-level billboards and Jumbotrons, just as they would during a real NFL game. Parents should also be aware that this game supports online play complete with voice chat via an optional headset microphone.

What's it about?

As with past years, EA Sports' MADDEN NFL 12 was designed to deliver the most realistic professional football experience in a video game. Players can choose to play as or against all 32 teams in the NFL in authentically modeled stadiums complete with unique team mascots. There are a handful of modes to choose from, ranging from quick pick-up games to in-depth career and franchise options to side-by-side and online multiplayer matches. Even more so than in years past, broadcast-style cameras –- including a close-up \"shaky cam\" and other angles views –- add to the game's presentation. New animations and a revamped tackle system also deliver the goods. While it doesn't feel much different than last year's game, EA Sports says there are more than 100 new defensive A.I. (artificial intelligence) tweaks in this year's game to make the defending team act more like the real deal.

Is it any good?


As with most sports video franchises, some years usher in innovative new features, fresh game modes, and major graphical overhauls, and some don't. Madden NFL 12 falls in the latter camp. It's a fun and great-looking game, especially when playing against a buddy beside you, but it's doesn't look, feel, or sound much different than last year's edition. You can choose a play from the playbook, build your own play, or "Ask Madden" what to do. GameFlow (introduced last year) makes it a much faster game to play, too. The franchise mode adds many new enhancements over last year's game, with a better rookie scouting and free-agent bidding system, expanded rosters, and more. And with the Madden NFL Ultimate Team, you can earn, buy, and trade players to build your ultimate NFL team of superstars.

But again, these additions are nominal in the grand scheme of things. If you bought last year's game you can probably pass on Madden NFL 12. However, if it's been a few years since you've picked up and played a Madden game, you'll no doubt be impressed with the evolution of this legendary franchise. Note: the Xbox 360 and PS3 games are the same, but the Wii version isn't in high-definition and has fewer modes.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about maintaining a healthy, active lifestyle. If you played one of the motion-control versions of the game, do you feel as though you got a bit of a workout while playing?

  • Families can also discuss the similarities and differences between this game and real football. Do you think that EA's developers could have made the simulation even more realistic in any way?

Game details

Platforms:Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PSP, Nintendo Wii, PlayStation 2
Available online?Not available online
Developer:EA Sports
Release date:August 30, 2011
Topics:Sports and martial arts
ESRB rating:E for (No Descriptors)

This review of Madden NFL 12 was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.


Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

Great handpicked alternatives

  • Another stellar season for Sony pro baseball franchise.
  • Extraordinary soccer simulation for players of all ages.
  • Over-the-top arcade b-ball puts Obama and Palin in game.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Parent Written bySteve Hunter November 26, 2011

Great game, be aware of the sountrack......

Great game, but beware some of the sountrack. Some not so family friendly songs by Snoop Dogg and others - very rap heavy.
Kid, 10 years old November 15, 2011

love it

come on its football all ages
Teen, 13 years old Written bybladeforce55 January 5, 2012

Best Madden Yet!!!

Madden 12 is a fun football sim game! Playing a season is fun because you can draft players onto your team and you have full control. In the game play you can pick the plays or you can let the coach pick them for you and try your luck.
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Too much violence


Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Special Needs Guide