A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
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.
Violence & Scariness
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.
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None of the background songs contain profanity, and the players, coaches, and announcers do not say anything inappropriate.
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Products & Purchases
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.
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.
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.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.