GAME NAME: Madden NFL 13
DEVELOPER(S): EA Tiburon
PUBLISHER(S): EA Sports
PLATFORM(S): PS3, PS Vita, Wii, Wii U, Xbox 360
RELEASE DATE(S): August 28, 2102
This review was completed using the PlayStation 3 version of the game.
Once you upgrade your system software, patch the game, download roster updates (that are already outdated), and put in pre-order codes (if you pre-ordered) the Madden 13 game starts off with a riveting speech from one of our generations most inspiring players the NFL has to offer, Ray Lewis. After listening to him wanting to make his mark on the NFL you are greeted to a completely revamped menu system. It’s a tad confusing at first and depending on what you like to play it might get even more confusing!
If you’re an online player or ultimate team guy the game modes jump out at you pretty quickly. The online game plays well. Not much if any lag, the system penalizes people who quit giving you coins and wins in regards to Ultimate Team. Your starter team comes with 32 contracts per card, the upgrade packs drop to 16 per card, opposed to previous years of 10 contracts per card. You also can submit feedback on players after playing a complete game with them.
If you don’t like playing online the quick play feature is another easy find that lets you pick any NFL team to go head to head in an exhibition game.
The game play once in an NFL game plays like any old Madden. Audibles are exactly the same which is a good thing or rushing to the line of scrimmage. Where things have changed is the new physics engine that was put into the game. There are kinks that need to be worked out, but this was a big upgrade and kinks were expected. What do I mean by kinks? Well, after the play is over you will see players tripping over each other in a sometimes comical fashion. Running up the middle is almost impossible now (running into the back of your offensive line produces disastrous results). Sometimes limbs are bending weird but do not produce injuries to go with the odd bends. Fumbles don’t transition well to the physics engine. It seems like the ball just warps over to the nearest player without their hand reaching out for it. For instance I had sacked a quarterback and as he went down the ball fell out but didn’t go far. I had 2 other defenders right behind that should of been able to sweep the ball up and run it in for a touchdown. However, the ball just kind of warped right back to the quarterback after the game had called it a fumble. I watched the replay and the ball literally just mystically moved back to the quarterback who at the time had a 300+ lb linemen laying on top of him with his hands and arms pinned. The physics engine isn’t all bad however, gang tackles, pile ups, breaking tackles, and jump balls look much better and play much better to realism.
Those that enjoyed playing career mode will be overjoyed to know they have put a lot of effort into that end and infact have completely taken over Franchise Mode which irritates this reviewer to no end. Madden has had a franchise mode with Fantasy Draft since I can remember and to exclude that from this year’s title is inexcusable to me. In place of the giant hole franchise mode has left behind is Coach Career Mode. This mode can be played both online and offline. If you played NFL Head Coach think if that game had a baby with the franchise feature of an older Madden title. Personally when I want to take control of a franchise I don’t want to be tied to the coach. I want to own the franchise and do what needs to be done to it. EA right now is heavily pushing this Coach Career Mode as the new franchise.
Here’s what it’s missing and here’s why fans of the Madden series are outraged.
- You cannot edit players. Example: Shawn Merriman is a defensive end in the game. You cannot turn him back into an offensive linebacker which was his native position in a 3-4.)
- You cannot play offline coach mode with more than yourself.
- You cannot simulate preseason or an entire season with 1 click or setting adjustment. Each week has to be simulated manually.
- No indication of who retires at the end of a season.
- Moving teams and giving them new jerseys or stadiums let alone upgrading a stadium are all missing.
- No Fantasy Draft.
- RPG style practice / results make this game frustrating (player improvements should come on the field of play not in how good you can run a drill).
- Free agency menu is big and clunky only showing 3 players on a screen at a time.
- Simple things like being able to see your entire schedule are buried in menus and not well organized.
- No option for being able to fire and hire coach/coordinators.
What was added to this year’s Madden?
- ESPN analysts give twitter status feedback on what’s going on in your season.
- Draft is very ESPN oriented now getting feedback and some verbal feedback on who is drafted and when.
- Weekly practices can be cashed for experience that can be used to give players bonuses.
- It’s very geared to making a legacy toward a specific player or coach.
- Redone free agency with players being more picky to who they sign too.
- Being able to have larger rosters during pre-season and having to make cuts as the preseason progresses.
- RPG style practices that result in stat bonuses for your players to “progress”.
Are these additions worth the features that are now missing? You be the judge.
With career mode they gave you the option to upload a picture of yourself through a EA website and then upload that into your Madden game so that you can be one of the players or coaches. So far the feature appears to be broken as errors kept occurring when trying to test this. How this is supposed to work is you upload a profile shot and a front face shot then put some markers on your picture to signify things like eyes, lips, cheek, and jaw bones. Well either I have a strangely shaped face that the game couldn’t make out or the feature is not working correctly. I couldn’t get it to work and I spent well over an hour trying to adjust the markers to make it work correctly with no luck. Eventually I gave up. It’s a great idea but doesn’t seem to be fully functional yet.
The game is definitely still dominated by quarterbacks with accuracy. Throw power doesn’t seem to play a major role in success for your offense. For example playing my Madden Ultimate team I had a quarterback with an overall rating of 72 with more throw power but less accuracy who couldn’t produce a single touchdown until my defense forced a turnover right by the opponent’s end zone. Meanwhile, after benching him for an overall rating 66 quarterback with far less throw power but more accuracy I am now scoring over 20 points with ease every game using the exact same playbook and players around him.
With Randy Moss back in the NFL the bomb to Moss seems to be a viable weapon again. Calvin Johnson is pretty much unstoppable as well. If you play online and the defense is pressing up on either one of these two receivers just throw him on a go route and watch the yardage or touchdowns come in plenty.
Defense AI seems to have been toned down especially in pass protection. Linebackers no longer swat down balls that should be 10 feet in the air which is something that should have been fixed years ago but at least they finally got it done. Interceptions seem to have been balanced well this year. Most years either come to many or to few but so far so good with Madden 13.
Stadiums are very beautiful and attention to detail was clearly given here. Stadiums like the Cowboys are a sight to see just as they are in real life. The new roof of the Metro dome was done very nicely as well.
The commentary is another sore spot as it often is in Madden’s history. I was never a fan of Phil Simms as a commentator and I dislike him even more in this Madden. The phrase he gives a wide receiver every time they score or make a big play is repetitious not even 24 hours after owning the game. I just wish they would stick to a crew of commentators then build up a database of sayings from previous years with new ones added in like previous Madden games with Madden in it doing the commentating.
Overall Madden 13 delivers if you love to play Online, Madden Ultimate Team, or Career Mode – but fails if you are a true franchise and fantasy drafter.
So now we want to hear what you think? Tell us your input on the title and did we hit the mark or do you have a different opinion. Let us know by commenting below!