It’s been a while since i’ve gotten in to a new Madden. Maybe it was around 4 years ago when I gave up. After playing every version of the game since it came out for the first time on consoles with the Sega Genesis Version, I hadn’t stopped buying it, until I realized that the game didn’t give me anything anymore. Gamers were never satisfied with the complexity of the game saying that it wasn’t enough of a simulation often comparing it to an arcade game. This couldn’t be farther from the truth as Madden has always stayed as close as possible to a simulation without becoming a sports version of sim city. Games are meant to be playable and fun, if you get too close to the real thing it will become boring for most people and only the hardest of the hardest core fans would enjoy it. Hence the game flow mode or ask Madden, where you don’t need to go to thousands of plays in order to get to the one you want. This let players just enjoy the game with the possibility of going back to the traditional interface and complicate yourself (if you are a sim freak). To me, the game became unplayable.
I’ve been an avid video game player for all my life, but once my responsibilities grew I started to lose some free time for my beloved gaming. I also got bored. Games have gotten too complex to learn fast enough so I can enjoy them in the little time I have. Thankfully Madden 13 seems to be a little bit friendlier without becoming an arcade game. Ever since EA won the NFL license over any other company, Madden games seem to get worse every time around. Player models don’t look real enough and even though we’ve had better technology, the old legendary NFL 2K5 by Visual Concepts still ruled as the most realistic iteration of the sports. This year Madden brings the Infinity Engine, bragging about physics and all that. Yes, it makes Madden look way better than before (not perfect though) as physics take a big role in tackling. Plays look more realistic than ever and finally Madden is not robotic anymore. Now, if you watch some videos of NFL 2k5 you’ll see that they’ve had something pretty similar that worked 7 years ago. I wonder why it took so long for EA to bring this technology to their flagship game; Fight Night had it for about 7 years, when they introduced physics in Round 2. Now, if you played this game, imagine it on a Madden game. The first Fight Night had a problems, physics were more evident when the play was over, that is, when the fighter was knocked down, he had some strange puppet like reactions with the ropes and floor. The same happens with this version of Madden, sort of. Most of the physics translate to strange interaction between the players when they are getting up and going back to the huddle. But even with its flaws its still better than ever making Madden finally look as its suppose to.
One thing that struck me as I was playing was the way quarterbacks move and throw. They had most of them motion capture their moves and gives it an authenticity that fans will be looking for. Presentation is also very tight making it one of the most accurate sports games to television broadcast video games ever.
The inclusion of TV announcers before the game as well as all the in game sequences look and feel as though you are watching a game on TV. Now, about the Gameplay, it’s still Madden. The game changes name every year but the actual way it plays feels as thought years don’t pass. If you grab the Playstation 2 version of the game you’ll probably feel the difference, but there is something in the way they make these games that always makes Madden feel like a Madden game, much like Nintendo always makes Mario games feel like Mario even if they add fancier graphics. All the gimmicks and menus you’ve grown accustomed before the play are available, but you always have the choice of just letting it all go utilizing the new quarterback moves (alleged moves I might add as it seems to me that the passing game is as good as it ever was) and running through the line of scrimmage as fluidly as possible. The running game seems to be improved though as it feels better than ever.
Defense is still sort of the weak link in the Madden franchise as its too complex to compete with the offensive gameplay. I still get confused with what I’m doing and feel as though the computer does everything for myself. Rarely do I think I provoked a fumble or made the interception, it always seems the computer did it for me.
Line of scrimmage gameplay is also subpar never comparing to the 2K series. There are many improvements in the game modes as EA has now included a very interesting new mode called Connected Careers where you can act as a coach or as a player and continue with any of them throughout your career. There is also a better interface that includes online gaming at the tip of your fingers with the inclusion of live feed and friends. Everything else that you can expect from Madden is here, and to long time fans who have given money to EA year in year out it won’t disappoint. For those like me that come back every couple of years or more, I can honestly tell you that this is probably the best version of Madden I’ve played in a while. Even if the graphical style and animation still looks cartoonish, it manages to recreate America’s passion to a level that most of us will appreciate. Gameplay is solid and has little flaws, presentation is about the best ever and the new physics system finally bring Madden to this generation of games, letting some of the robotic pre made animation system out of the way.
SCORE 8.2 out of 10.0