A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What 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.
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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.
Talk to your kids 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?
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.