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Madden NFL 13

 

 

SCORE: 94

Madden NFL 13 

 

EA Sports has done it. They have taken the Madden brand and created what is now the gold standard in sports gaming. From pick up and play to RPG style gameplay, this year’s installment of Madden on the consoles is packed full of entertainment and football action that shatters expectations.

Madden 13 was promised to bring new physics and features to the table that would change the way we play football on home consoles, and that it did...very successfully. EA through everything at us including the kitchen sink. Gamers will immediately notice the improved graphics, player models, player animations and overall improved presentation.

In Madden 13 the developers vowed to make the presentation more realistic and TV like. This includes the addition of Jim Nantz and Phil Sims in the broadcast booth. Not just lending their voices, but also their 3-D likenesses to the game. There is more than 82 hours of commentary from Jim and Phil. With more than 9,000 new lines, the play by play does not wear on you as quickly as it has in years past.

The game intros, player cutscenes, and replay overlays reflect more of a TV style approach...and it really pays off. Even when you go online there are video presentations of Trey Wingo (ESPN Anchor) providing feedback and information about online play. For those social media types, there is the option to share your game results through Facebook and Twitter. It is obvious EA took presentation seriously and the game is much better off for their efforts.

The first thing you notice when turning the game on is the complete overhaul of the menu system. This can be a bit overwhelming at first, but after a couple of minutes it all makes sense and it actually laid out really well. Gamers will notice the emphasis on online gaming, which is a natural progression based on our current state of gaming. Game modes include Exhibition (Online/Offline), Career (Online/Offline), Ultimate Team - an online trading card style game - and Gridiron Club.

The Career mode is a combination of franchise, superstar mode and an RPG style mode to give the game an immersive football gaming experience. You can choose to be a current player or coach, a legendary player or coach, or create one of the two from scratch. Using a player focuses on just that player and you only have control of what that player does in practice and games. Controlling a coach is a much more detailed experience in which you control every aspect of the football team from scouting, calling playing, playing the game, cutting players, etc. This was by far my favorite mode and one I will be playing for months to come.

But we all know the best presentation and game modes mean absolutely nothing if the gameplay isn't well done. Even with all of the great attribute we discussed above, they are just the icing on the cake, because the true greatness of Madden 13 is in the gameplay. EA introduced the new Infinity Engine for all new physics in the gameplay. This includes new player interactions such as: balance, stumbles, hurdling, bouncing off of tacklers. Due to the physics of the new Infinity Engine the possibilities of the player interactions are limitless. This is implemented by the Infinity Engine creating muscle tone and tension to create realistic impacts and prevent unrealistic animations. Also, gone are the days of receivers and defenders blindly catching passes. No longer can catches be made without the player looking at the ball (this may be my favorite “fix”). There are also new catch animations and throwing animations that bring additional realism to the game. EA promote the new Infinity Engine as one that would raise the bar on sports gaming and provide a new sense of realism, and it has done just that.

I did notice a couple of glitches with the new engine, which could be corrected next year I am certain. Once a player fell to the ground while being tackled by a linebacker, then got back up and ran to the end zone for a touchdown. There was also a fumble by the quarterback that a lineman recovered standing up. The whistle blew and the play blown dead without any defensive player touching the lineman. One other instance was after a running back was tackle for a short gain the defender stood up and the running back spun in circles on the ground twice before the replay started. I understand these are small issues, and these are the only issues I notices in hours of gaming. With the implementation of the new Infinity Engine there are bound to be a few hiccups here and there, but they were far fewer than I would have anticipated.

Another depth of realism that was improved in Madden 13 was the audio. EA brought in a professional composer to producer the theme, halftime shows, etc. Also added were the actual voices and cadences of 12 NFL quarterbacks; including Tom Brady, Eli Manning, Drew Brees and more. Gamers will also notice the use of authentic sound effects such as tackles and player chatter from NFL Films.

For the Xbox 360 owners, the Kinect can be used for capturing your photo for your career and voice commands in the game. This is a neat addition to the game, but one I did not find necessary to the overall enjoyment of the game. In the end, I did not use it.

I have been playing video games for 25 plus years. From the Intellivision to the Atari to the Nintendo all the way through to the Next Generation Consoles. I can say without hesitation the home console version of Madden 13 is by far the most impressive and realistic sports game to date. Thank you EA for taking the franchise to a new level.
- Alan

 

Graphics: 92%
Sound: 93%
Replay/Extras: 100%
Gameplay: 90%
Family Friendly Factor: 94%
System: Xbox 360/PS3
Publisher: EA Sports
R
ating:  ‘E’ - Everyone

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