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GC Review: 'Madden NFL 12'

By BY GABE SEMENZA - GSEMENZA@VICAD.COM
Sept. 2, 2011 at 4:02 a.m.


Even if the National Football League season starts late, you're guaranteed one guilty pleasure late this summer: The release of the new Madden NFL video game.

Each year since 1990, EA Sports has released a new version of the popular football franchise. This year, developers focused on significant upgrades to presentation and graphics, as well as a new collision system, advanced defensive AI, custom playbooks and more.

That said, what can we expect?

PREGAME

EA will unveil a revamped pregame package, including authentic player entrances for all 32 teams. Diehard football fans will appreciate the details: team-specific mascots, cheerleaders and celebrations. Cowboys fans should love the Miller Light Club, which the guys jog through before each game in the new stadium.

LIGHTING

I'll spare you the technical details. Nothing says football like a discussion of linear lighting, right?

That said, "Madden NFL 12" employs technology new to it that, according to photos I've seen, makes the game appear richer, more life-like and thus more engrossing. Games will look like real HD broadcasts.

One clever touch I love: During afternoon games, the sun moves real-time across the sky and casts appropriate shadows within an open stadium. As winter in the real world

progresses, days in the video game shorten.

AUTHENTICITY

Much work seems to have been done on player proportions and physics. Everything and everyone will be true to scale and move like the real-life counterparts.

Video game Tony Romo will look more like the real Romo. Mike Vick will run like Mike Vick. And the Dallas Cowboys offensive line will fold like a wet sieve.

EQUIPMENT

Attention to detail will likely catch your eye. From quarterback flak jackets, to the green dot on helmets and even uniform wrinkles, EA populated the game with the particulars you see on Sunday.

BROADCAST PRESENTATION

EA's staffers studied with CBS Sports inside the production truck, the company reports. The fruits appear to be a more accurate broadcast.

New camera locations, virtual director logic and broadcast graphics designed by the people who create for ESPN should help to immerse gamers into the action.

I, for one, am excited about this year's upgrades. A great game experience will dull the sting of the NFL lockout, especially if it continues beyond late summer.

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