Madden NFL 13
The PlayStation Vita is a marvel of modern handheld technology. Even with its sluggish release. There is no denying the capabilities of the device. So when a game like Madden 13 is announced the question is not will the game be good, but how good. And how well will the developers utilize the Vita’s skill set to their advantage in creating a unique gaming experience. That was the challenge for EA Sports in bringing Madden 13 over to Sony’s news prized handheld. With FIFA Soccer EA created a good launch title for the Vita, but with Madden 13 there are simply too many mistakes and glaring issues that keep it from being the game it should have been.
Madden 13 Vita offers mobile gaming one the most popular sport franchises in video game history, so that is a plus. There is also the amazingly crisp presentation that now includes Jim Nantz and Phil Sims in the Broadcast booth. These two represent the best pair of announcers video game football has ever heard. Even with the minor repetition and bad calls on occasion, the fresh voices and chemistry of the two bring new life to the play by play.
When doing the preview of the Madden 13 Vita (based on the demo), it was refreshing to see Madden on a handheld of this caliber. However, the more I have spent with the final version the more familiar and dated the game felt - even as a first year game for the Vita. The gameplay for Madden 13 Vita is based on the game engine found in Madden 12 for the PS3. So if you were expecting the new physics engine, then you will have to wait another year. This is disappointing as the game is advertised as Madden 13, but clearly not developed on the same level as the console version - even though the Vita has the technical wherewithal to handle it.
Some of the highlights of Madden 13 Vita include using the touchscreen to create receiver routes on the fly - called smart routes. This was a lot of fun and I used it almost every pass play once I became familiar with the process. The rear touch pad is also used well on the defensive side of the ball - in changing defensive assignments. The front touchpad is used on defense to quickly pick a defensive player and make player specific defensive assignments. These all work well and were designed with ease of use in mind.
Your standard Madden game modes are all here: Exhibition, Franchise, Superstar, Online and Practice. One cool feature for the Vita is that the Vita uses the front camera to capture your picture to use in the creation of your profile when playing Superstar mode. A new mode this year is called Madden Moments Live, where you attempt to relive some of the greatest moments from the 2011 season. There are different degrees of difficulty and each one presents a different type of challenge. I enjoyed this mode quite a bit.
So what we have here is the foundation of a good to possibly great Vita title. However, too many oversights derail Madden 13 Vita from being a true title contender. For instance, every time there is a replay the EA logo appears on the screen, but it drags with such hesitation that it would have been better without. Anytime a play goes in motion or the names of the players are shown underneath the players while lining up, the names drag across the screen even slower than the above mentioned EA logo. The games runs smooth during game play but the cut scenes bog down and stutter. These three things are minor and can be overlooked as Madden being new to the Vita.
However, the next two items I found within the game really discouraged me as a Madden fan. Once I setup my Superstar career, I was drafted as a DB for the New England Patriots. The first preseason game was against the New Orleans Saints. What I notice during every single play was this - when the Saints would break the huddle the stadium was empty. That’s right, not one fan in the stands! But when the lineman would line up at the line of scrimmage, the stadium would magically fill up with 80,000 fans. This happened every play. How does this happen?
The other issue I had that showed lack of interest in detail from the developers was during the games - from Madden Moments to Exhibition - players on the sidelines at times do not have jersey numbers. It may seem like I small detail. But that was an issue back in the 1990’s on the Sega Genesis. How can we have HD graphics on a handheld device with motion sensing kicking and touchscreen smart routes, but no jersey numbers and fans that magically appear and disappear.
It was obvious this year EA decide to clearly focus their attention on the home console versions of Madden 13. That is why Madden 13 Vita was outsourced to an outside developer. Madden fans will have fun playing football on their Vita - trust me, I am one of them. But as a EA fan, I have to admit, Vita owners will feel slighted with no release of NCAA 13 and an sub par Madden 13 Vita game.
Madden 13 Vita has plenty to build upon. I just hope EA listens to the Vita owners and builds next year’s title to the full capabilities of the Vita - which would include PS3 to Vita cross playing. Madden 13 Vita will do well as the only NFL game on the Vita, it just could have been such a better quality game.
On one of my franchise drives - it was 3
down with 12 yards to go at my 48 yard line. I dropped back to pass and
the screen went completely white. Jim Nanz announced my Quarterback had
been sacked for a safety. The game screen came back with my team in the
kick off formation.
Family Friendly Factor: 95%
System: PS Vita
Publisher: EA Sports
Rating: ‘E’ - Everyone
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