NBA 2K12 would easily be my favorite sports game of the year if online play was stabilized and Online Association wasn't plagued by poor design decisions. Unfortunately those things - along with My Player's severe faults, put it in the same company as the other games this year. Most of them provide something unique and worthwhile but ultimately are hampered by either broken features or those that don't live up to the hype.

There is a big difference though in being "broken" and simply being an annoyance or in need of improvement. NCAA Football 12 and Madden 12 are prime examples of one and the other.

NCAA released with the highly touted addition of custom playbooks in a state that it was better to avoid using them, player tendencies flipping with edited rosters, a high number of console freezes, and Online Dynasty facing server transfer issues, not carrying over injuries week-to-week, and not working with Teambuilder squads. Then the patch came and introduced a new problem with no-huddle. That is a product that didn't meet reasonable consumer expectations as advertised features didn't function properly.

Meanwhile Madden certainly has its share of issues but they pale in comparison. Rain being too frequent for some teams in Franchise mode is understandably irksome, commentary being poor, things along those lines - but nothing to the severity that we have seen with NCAA or 2K12 this year. Madden may not be a great game but it did a good job of at least delivering on its promises and not overselling itself like the others have.

Post-release the response changes in the way the games are worked on depending on how their ship state. Patches for NCAA and 2K12 have been/will primarily be concentrated on fixing problems and delivering the product that consumers expected on release day. Patches for Madden will attempt to enhance the current product. It's a good spot for EA to be in as they can increase the good vibes heading into Madden 13 while the others are dealing with damage control and may face extra skepticism next year.
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