Senior Writer Josh Hill reviews the new EA Sports Madden 12 in an in-depth 5 part review. All major gaming modes will be explored and reviewed to the fullest extent so you know what you’re buying in Madden 12. EA Sports is in no way affiliated with Pewter Plank or Fansided. In Part 3 of 5, the FRANCHISE MODE is broken down and reviewed.
Franchise Mode in Madden 12 saves the game where it drops the ball on Superstar Mode and is back as the biggest and baddest feature in Madden. Last year’s edition was a massive misfire and when (again) combined with my experience in NBA2K11, seemed like I was getting stiffed.
Madden 12’s Franchise Mode is proof we all got snubbed of good material last year.
First off, they borrowed a lot from NBA2K11’s Association Mode (which is their franchise mode) and it shines and glitters under the Madden EA flag. On the top of the new feature list is…well everything. Madden promises to ensure you never have the same experience twice in Franchise Mode and they delivers ten-fold on that promise. You could literally spend 48 hours tooling around your team’s features and that’s in the first season alone. As you get deeper into your own fantasy world the experience goes deeper with you.
One of the features in NBA2K11 I loved was how every game had an impact on each of your players. If they didn’t get playing time, their morale went down and they’d demand a trade or a release. If a player had a good game it meant something to their overall morale and ability.
Thankfully Madden has adopted this feature for 2012. If a player is consistent (for example Aaron Rodgers) then they will have more confidence and will then be better in clutch situations such as two-minute drills or overtime games with playoff implications. If a guy has a good game, he will become streaky and be considered ‘hot’. This means his confidence goes up and everything attached
with that. If your quarterback throws five interceptions in a game, he will go cold and will become unreliable in a game.
This one feature single handedly adds an entire new dimension to Madden.
Every week the ratings for your players change. If Josh Freeman has a bad season finale, it will affect his confidence opening day the next year and vies versa.
The depth of Madden’s Franchise Mode doesn’t end there. Last year’s edition had a laughable offseason experience that I played threw once and never went to again. This year, it is completely retooled to the guy who wants to spend hours scouting, signing, cutting and crafting his franchise.
I’ll start with scouting. One feature Madden has used before is scouting player’s right before the draft to unlock information about them. In Madden 12, EA again copies NBA2K11 in that you can scout a college prospect all season long to unlock information about him.
EA also retooled the Free Agent process brilliantly. Instead of putting in an offer and waiting blindly for an acceptance like previous versions, Madden 12 invents a Free Agent bidding system where, much like so many bidding wars we saw this offseason, you get to bid and out bid other teams. It’s fast paced and high octane and a helluva lot of fun.
Another bright spot is the return of Player Roles in a new and awesome way. Unlike before where they were just badges you couldn’t do anything about and never did anything, Madden 12’s player roles make or break a player’s potential. In a new RPG element to Madden 12, most of the roles have an impact on the field during games. Plus, if a guy goes cold (like explained above) and he is a precision passer, he can potentially lose that role. New badges also include things like Playoff Performer where if Josh Freeman leads the Bucs through the playoffs and out of tough spots, he is awarded the role of Playoff Performer which enhances his value in the postseason.
Madden 12 also offers a new feature to the franchise which is Cut Days. It is what it sounds like. In the preseason (which they make matter in Franchise Mode too) you have a 75 man roster which you must cut down to opening day size. So unlike previous version where you already operate at game day volume, the roster is more realistic and fluctuates during certain points in the season. Each week you unlock new player’s ratings as you make cuts, and each week you have to make them; you’re given a certain amount of cuts to make each week of the preseason. Let me add this is a feature NBA2K11 didn’t even have so take that for what it’s worth. What it meant to me is Madden 12 actually went above and beyond what it had to, to please the fan of deep playing modes.
Everything in Madden 12’s Franchise Mode is either restored, revamped or brand spanking new. From the deep preseason additions to even something as simple as being able to trade future draft picks, Madden 12 and it’s Franchise Mode is nothing short of a spectacular wonder and an answered prayer of all the angry owners of Madden 11.
Franchise Mode Rating: 10 out of 10
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