This year, I bought the newest installment in EA Sports’ monopolistic NFL football franchise, for the first time in nearly 8 years. Why did I do this, after such an extended avoidance? Well, a few things… First, a few amigos pondered jumping into the virtual football stadium this year. It would be a new place for us to banter; outside of the yearly military shooters. But there was also the threat of “no football” this year. The thought of it (even today) instills violent bodily convulsions! I began to contemplate how I would fill my set aside weekly football time… More video games? No, I already play anything that interests me… Competitive Lego’ing? Sounds fun, but I hear the Dutch have a Mafia that controls the Lego universe… Become a runner? Not until the zombie apocalypse!
Well thank goodness, EA put their monopoly to use, and decided (before an NFLPA agreement was made) to release ‘Madden NFL 12’; whether there were games played or not. I began to envision Madden as REAL football. Not just a virtual representation of the sport, but this year’s real NFL football season. These “real” NFL games would be played by myself, and a choice selection of fellow Madden players. Our games would be given Vegas odds… People would create fantasy teams based on our “real” teams… It would be great! Who needs those “real” people to play for us?!
All I can say after that, is it’s a good thing that the players and owners came to an agreement! That could have turned into a bad mental break situation… One only rivaled by ‘Deer Hunter’ or ‘One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest’!
NFL football was back on, and Madden was once again based on reality. And like I said, using the ever so useful Amazon Prime “Free Release Date Delivery”, I ordered ‘Madden NFL 12’. My mental health was saved! Yah! Everything was just peachy, right?! Not exactly. It’s quite obvious, that after supplying the NFL with an insane amount of cash and sexual favors, they took an extended post-coitus nap.
Where to start…? Well, why not start with the new “television-like” presentation. Yes, the idea of this is a smart one. Sports games have been trying to mimmick the look of televised sports for decades. The first time I saw ESPN in Sega Sports Football, I lost it! It was a piece of real world football, slamming right into my fictional simulation. (more on Sega Sports Football later) Sure, the camera angles, overlay graphics, and game intros are nice touches in Madden ’12; but they become null and void when these animations have frequent stutters, hitches, and glitches! Those small things (that usually get ironed out by a competent development team) kill the experience. With the exception of Week 1 of DirecTV Sunday Ticket on PS3, THOSE THINGS DON’T HAPPEN IN A REGULAR BROADCAST! A development team that wasn’t taking a post-coitus extended nap, would see these things (with their un-splooged eyes) and fix them. And do not get me started on the inaccurate, repetitive announcers, that caused me to lower their audio levels! (Thank God EA put a separate volume slider bar for those 2 morons! +1 for that!)
I don’t know why I started with that, but I should have started with the game booting up. How long does that really need to take?! After starting the game, first thing to do, is press “Start”, to skip the Inception soundtrack stealing intro video, Then…
“Press Start Button”
“Logging into EA Servers”
“Checking Online Tuning Data”
And we’re finally in. Here we’re presented with an interface that would make Stevie Jobs and Johnny Ive cry! It would take an entire “Monday Morning Designer” post to cover that mess! (just may do that)
So we’ve covered how the game software starts, and how an actual game starts. Let’s jump into gameplay. Player controls are stiffer than what you gave the NFL, in those monopoly-causing coitus sessions. To be honest, this is no surprise. Even back in the PS2 days, I always thought the EA Sports Madden controls were “stiff”. It ended up being one of the main reasons I switched to the “fluidly controlled” Sega Sports Football franchise at the time. You see, back then, EA hadn’t perfected their coital techniques well enough yet, and didn’t have the RIDICULOUS monopoly on the NFL license they do today. The NBA, MLB, and NHL didn’t give EA a similar monopoly in their sports?! WTF NFL?! EA must have provided you with A LOT of cash; and A PLETHORA of sexual favors! Good on you for cashing in ON THAT!
I could go on and on all day with the NUMEROUS poorly executed things in Madden, but I’m getting tired of thinking about it. I’ll just leave it at the most telling sign of negligence: player animations. Sure, there are some new player animations, but the vast majority of the “canned” animations I’m seeing as I play a game, I RECOGNIZE FROM ‘MADDEN 2001’! For those that don’t know, that was the FIRST Madden game to release on the PlayStation 2… IT IS ELEVEN (11) YEARS, AND TWO (2) CONSOLE GENERATIONS, OLD! I’ll bet the original animators aren’t even working at EA anymore.
Now. Anyone that knows me, knows that I wouldn’t just post an angry review for no reason. I do have a reason, and it’s a good one! I will give it in the form of two short letters below:
Dear National Football League (NFL),
Please strip EA Sports of their exclusive rights to the NFL Football label. They have shown time and time again, that they are incapable of pushing the virtual representation of your beloved sport, to new levels of realism and accuracy. They have not kept the simulated football game up to date with the latest and greatest in video game technology. Before you gave into their dollars signs and coital promises, Sega Sports and Virtual Concepts were creating a superior product. However, after you pulled their license, the general (hive-minded) public stopped buying their superior representation of your league, your game, and proceeded to fall into EA’s less-than-stellar fare. For this reason, Sega and VC do not make a football game today. However, a forward thinking company in England (ironically enough) has been developing the “Backbreaker” series of games across many platforms (from PS3 to the mobile devices), and has already proved that they can provide a superior representation of the physicality of your sport, over EA. It’s time to strip EA of their exclusivity, and open up a fair playing field. Regardless of what EA is providing you (daily coitus, insane amounts of cash, Mars property), you owe it to your fans, and yourselves, to open up the playing field to other developers; I would LOVE to see what the brilliant guys behind “MLB11: The Show” could create for NFL football! Come on NFL! Don’t you want someone to create the greatest NFL football sim we’ve ever seen…?! I (and history) have guaranteed that EA can not currently do it… or at least not until they are given some competition; a reason to try.
Dear Electronic Arts (EA),
Competition! The most American of American ideas! Let it live and breath EA! To make it personal, let’s say there was a license on military shooter games?! Guess what… Activision, and the Call of Duty series, are the Madden of that genre. But you, EA, have made a better product this year, with Battlefield 3! Imagine if you weren’t allowed to release it, and we were stuck with the same old, re-hashed Call of Duty game… Terrible, right?! Well that is what you are doing with your exclusive agreement with the NFL. Stop it! Open up the playing-field, and PROVE you are the rightful provider of the NFL football experience! If you are not open to that, you only prove your fear of someone bettering you at it. Hell, you already proved that long ago, by giving the NFL an insane amount of cash, and what must be some incredible daily sexual favors! It’s time to apply your EA Games stigma, to EA Sports.
With love and partial respect,