Considering I barely know a thing about American football other than the team Captain dies in a lot of slasher films, this game was relatively easy to pick up and have fun with. I've had a few dabbelings with last years edition but I still didn't really understand it anymore than I did then.
As EA has the rights to NFL it pretty much has no competition and I feel this some times hinders the progression of improvements to this franchise. With a few tweaks here and it's still basically the same game as last year with a few extra modes and improvements.
New to this years instalment of NFL is the use of Kinect. During games you can now shout to your players and give them directions. The voice commands can come in helpful during pre-snaps and also directing players to tackle, although I think this still needs some work as the voice commands can confuse the Kinect and it has the ability to not understand directions. When it does work it feels like a natural progress from last year and gets you far more involved with the game. I like to shout things at the screen anyway, but it's mostly incoherent babbling on the most part so I found it pretty fun, yet some times frustrating using the voice commands.
This time round bundles feel a bit more realistic. Not as many arms and legs at impossible angles, this is due to the new Infinity Engine. Which does a really good job at making the game feel more realistic. The only glitch with it seems to be when the players are lifting themselves off of a pile and do some painfully looking limb movements and then just run back to play.
Also new this year is career mode that is available on and offline which lets you play as either a player or the coach. Using the Kinect you can even map own face onto a player. As a girl this is wholly unflattering. You can then create a player in and position you feel like. Or you can pick a player that's already there. On the other side you can just pick any exciting coach. You can choose legendary players but many of these are locked until achievements are met.
If you're playing Connected Careers online (you can play off line if you want to) you can join or make you own league. Up to 32 people can take part in 30 seasons or more. To earn XP you are given objectives. I got frustrated at this as it seems like it takes forever to do. A lot of time has to be invested in this to upgrade players. You really have to want to do this. I found it a challenge to want to play this way.
Like in most sports games I found this far more enjoyable to play multi-player with my friend at my side. When playing alone I got annoyed at stopping every 5 seconds. Obviously this has nothing to do with the game, but the game of American Football itself. I don't really know the rules, what things mean and it defiantly still hasn't click with me how you kick the ball over the crossbar, but that's because I don't know the game. I'm sure if I understood it I'd be less frustrated.
But maybe it's a good things stopping to reset ever few seconds because it means I get to look at the beautiful visuals. I'm pretty sure if someone was a slight distance away, and obviously didn't see the controllers you could mistake it for an actual real life game. I got to play this on a massive TV as well so it was visually stunning.
The controls are fairly simple to master, especially for any veteran player or anyone who plays any of the other EA Sports games. I find that they are all pretty transferable. As I said before I still haven't really got how to kick the ball over the bar and what relation the wind really has. I find this in golf games as well, I have no idea why I just can't understand it. I understand physics, I just don't understand physics in sports games.
This is a good game, but it's not a game for me. I can appreciate everything EA Sports has done with the game, the Infinity Engine, the visuals and the various on and offline modes that are available. I'm just not a big American Football fan. The rules confuse me and I find the game play slow and slightly frustrating at time. For some reason I panicked quite a bit and made stupid mistakes of passing the ball to a player on the other team. If there was some blood thrown in some scenes could look a lot like a zombie game. When they all swarm in and pile on top of your players. If you're into American Football then you will be happy with the tweaks and extras but it seems as if not much gets changed each year to make it that much more special. If you're not into American Football, or sports games I can suggest other things to spend your money on