Curmudgeon Gamer
Curmudgeoning all games equally.
30 August 2011
Madden 12 for PS2 "Review" -- First Impressions
It's been nearly impossible to learn anything about Madden 12 on the PS2 other than it was going to be released and would cost $49.99. I mean, heck, had nothing on it, no preview, nothing. Most 'coverage' you did find was links to current gen console stuff, and the Wii hasn't been getting much press either.

Copy of Madden 12 PS2 in hand, I believe I now know why.

I haven't played Madden on my PS2 since 2005, having switched to the PC until that platform's series ended in 2008. I flirted with the Wii version of Madden 2011 by renting from a now-closed Blockbuster when I couldn't find any reviews of it either. It stunk. It was clearly for young kids, and there was too much emphasis on your maintenance of the goofy cartoon city in franchise mode.

Well, Madden 12 for the PS2 is exactly like Madden 2005 for the PS2. The controls are the same. The plays are the same. The graphics, if the same, strike me as less impressive. If you told me Madden 12 is Madden 2005 with updated rosters, well, I couldn't find a good reason to argue, except that, in 12, there's more shaking. Yes, shaking. The camera shakes more on "big hits" and the controller does its best to rumble me into submission.

If you want to split hairs, some of the "hints via HUD" are different and, now that I think of it, there are no obvious Old Spice Red Zone style advertisements when you get into, well, the red zone. I recall NCAA (and I thought Madden) going full-on with sponsors, and, strangely, it made the game more interesting. There's nothing like that here.

Oh, and 2005 had online gameplay, didn't it? Madden 12 on PS2 doesn't. And 2005 still had an NCAA football game partnered with it that let you import "real" college draft classes. No luck in 12.

So you're not paying $40 for updated gameplay, online matchups, or new features and minigames. It must be for updated rosters, right? Unfortunately, no. I don't care when this "went gold". EA decided that rosters current at the start of the NFL labor lockout were good enough, and the result of that decision stinks. If your users aren't going to be able to update the roster, take your time and get them right.

Exhibit A:
I'm a Redskins fan. I know them inside and out. Madden 12 has Albert Haynesworth, Donovan McNabb, Carlos Rogers, and Ma'ake Kemoeatu on the roster. Kemo, McNabb, and Haynesworth were cut, traded, and traded, respectively, on or near July 28th. Rogers was a free agent, not a Redskins player, after the end of last year, and signed with San Francisco on August 3rd. Ryan Torrain starts at running back for the Skins in Madden 12. Tim Hightower starts for the Redskins today. Hightower was added July 31st. He's not on the Madden 12 Skins roster.

Worse, one of the biggest changes when Mike Shanahan become the Redskins coach in 2010 (so when he appears in Madden 2011) was that the team hired Jim Haslett as their defensive coordinator to swap from the team's 4-3 in 2009 to a 3-4 defensive scheme last season. Madden 11 for the Wii still had the Skins in a 4-3. I thought that was slack enough, what with all the coverage the swap got on ESPN and local media.

It's been over a year now, and The Washington Post won't stop talking about how, this year, Haslett and Shanahan finally have the right personnel to run the 3-4. The two biggest additions to the personnel? Brian Cofield from the Giants and Stephen Bowen from the Cowboys, neither of whom, I don't believe, is on the Madden 12 for PS2 Redskins roster. The default Redskins defensive playbook? Still 4-3. It's like virtual Greg Blache and Vinny Cerrato never left. (That's an inside joke, I'm afraid. Blache was the d-coordinator for the 4-3 until 2009, and Cerrato's the lunkhead manager that brought in Haynesworth.)

Enough of that Exhibit. You get the point. In Madden 12 for PS2, the two biggest off-season stories of 2011 for the Redskins, McNabb and Haynesworth finally being traded, have been ignored. The default defensive scheme of the team? Also ignored, now for over a year. Personnel moves after the end of the NFL's lockout? Yep. Ignored. You essentially get 2010 rosters with a few rookies sprinkled in.

So after a quick look, it appears that the game hasn't noticeably changed from Madden 2005, except that it's lost a major feature in online play. The rosters, the only other obvious reason to buy, are essentially a year old. What are we paying $40 for again? In seven years, the game's gotten worse in several major areas. Unforgivable.

IGN's review of Madden 2005 started with the following: "Madden NFL 2005 is still Madden. That is to say, it's another superb game of football that continues Madden's long legacy as one of the best in the business." Wow, how things change. I know, if I really want to play Madden, I need to finally move to a current console where I'll find constantly updated rosters, online play, and graphics from this century. And the PS2 version is $20 less than those for the PS3 and Xbox 360. But even this knowledge doesn't excuse the cheap cash-grab Madden 12 for the PS2 seems to be.

I'll update once I get a new memory card and run through both the features and franchise mode for a while -- see if there's a poor man's Tony Bruno in there somewhere -- I'll crack out the old disc and compare to 2005, and come to better informed conclusions. But right now, I'm not optimistic.

EDIT: /sigh The disc got scratched in some game room roughhousing, so I haven't been able to update much. Why would you buy Madden 12? I think the bottom line is for the minigames, because it sure isn't the season mode. The fantasy draft into a fantasy league, Speedball style as you win your way from Newbie league up through four or five others, is neat, but a little too gamey. That is, after each win, you get points to add to your players' overall ranking, which quickly turns the game from anything approaching a simulation to, well, Speedball Deluxe. There are apparently completely made up teams with fake, super-hero like players in the later leagues.

It's worth a play or two. Without online or enough attention paid to the current season, though, Madden 12 on PS2 simply isn't what made Madden such a great game on the Genesis through, well, through the PS2. This particular bloodline is obviously headed for extinction. People who want what they've learned to expect as a game of Madden need to finally shell out for a new system.

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--ruffin at 21:49
Comment [ 9 ]

Comments on this post:

Offer still stands to lend you my PSP. Madden 12 went up on the PS Store for $40 tonight...

By Blogger jvm, at 30 August, 2011 22:19  

Does the PS2 version have the added franchise features, like larger rosters and cut down days?

Does it also have Dynamic Player Performance?

Waiting to hear on those before I consider purchasing this.


By Blogger Uncle Nathan, at 31 August, 2011 13:31  

This game sucks for ps2. I only bought it cause I saw it for xbox at walmart & was hoping they added some to the ps2 game but no its horrible, worse then 11. I made it to the superbowl in indianapolis & they said welcome to arlington,tx. This game sucks, I want my money back. Nobody buy it for ps2, it's horrible

By Blogger Aaron, at 05 October, 2011 18:07  

Uncle Nathan -- Sorry, I didn't get the comment alert, and missed what you wrote.

I'm afraid I managed to scratch the disc before playing through a franchise season, so my usefulness here is compromised a bit... I'll take it in and see if the disc resurfacing works, though I've never had any luck doing that, honestly.

@jvm -- Tempting. Tempting. Just missed a DSi for $50 this morning at cowboom, so maybe I can slide that cash somewhere else...

@Aaron -- Um, I guess I mostly agree. Time to move to the 360 or PS3.

By Blogger ruffin, at 10 October, 2011 10:20  

Choose the right pricing for the game play. The PS2 version is also worth it.

backgammon online

By Blogger cherry, at 24 November, 2011 04:19  

Great review. Thanks for sharing.

By Blogger GsmWeb, at 19 December, 2011 19:31  

I'm currently playing Madden NFL 11 on my XBOX 360 and can't wait to play the next version. Gameflow rocks!

By Blogger David Ritchson, at 28 March, 2012 10:04  

It is therefore terribly fascinating that a number of the simplest entrepreneurs have some sports in their background. It is smart as a result of business may be a rather competitive the games and sport so.

By Blogger Stref Jhon, at 24 January, 2015 06:03  

This comment has been removed by the author.

By Blogger Andy, at 07 February, 2015 21:41  

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