Game Review: Madden NFL 13 [Xbox 360/PS3]
Madden NFL is back and kicking its way into a new season, continuing its colossal popularity. Over the past few years EA Sports has managed to create new and inventive techniques to Madden’s play style, and 13 follows in the same fashion, improving an already impressive series. Madden 13 has smartened up and become tougher with the assistance of a new physics engine.
Madden NFL 13 has been pushed in the right direction with its vastly improved gameplay. One of the key improvements to the game is the defence, which has been made to be more realistic, with the acting like real defenders. In previous Madden instalments there were a lot of issues with AI controlled players on pass coverage, and being able to catch ridiculous throws without facing in the same direction. This made it frustrating to be break through the defence in certain plays, though Madden 13 improves on this greatly, resulting in more intelligent receivers.
The Infinity engine is the biggest change to the game, and affects the players’ ability to stay balanced after being tackled. Some running backs will have better balance control than others causing various opportunities to break away and gain more yardage. After a while previous players will notice that the gameplay still has its issues, mainly with unintentional interactions. There are still times where players become clumsy and end up falling over, bumping into their own players, making them look like they have two left feet. The gameplay does flow smoothly during the in-game action but off the ball the players are a bit all over the place.
The passing has also taken some knocks. The passing just doesn’t feel intuitive in relation to the ball’s trajectory. The throwing and pressure of the ball is controlled by how much pressure you put on the pass button. The majority of the passes seem to be flaky and unpredictable at times.
Longer throws seem to glide into the arms of the receiver making it feel easier to lay off longer passes. The passing isn’t terrible and there are occurrences where it will stand out when a quarterback throws a pass, particularly a long-distance aerial toss. The quarter back receiver’s awareness has become much more easier to manoeuvre, but like the previous games, take too much time, and your quarterback will be flattened out.
Amongst some of the improvements and new additions the Xbox 360 version features the ability to use the Kinect during single player and online games. The Kinect certainly adds a much faster tactical advantage due to being able to shout of various calls for both offensive and defensive plays. The game also comes with pre-made shortcuts known as audibles: “Hike”, “spike”, “time out”, “blitz play” are just some of the words/phrases that the Kinect can recognise, which affect what’s happening on-screen in the game. The Kinect does suffer a lot with certain words due to my lovely British accent and pronunciations. It will take a few yells before the Kinect will pick you up.
Madden’s Franchise Mode has been revamped and has had a name change, now called Connected Careers. While not a huge amount has changed, there are a few added elements including your ability to earn bonus points to use for specific actions/goals that can increase your player or coach’s abilities. EA has made a bold move to connect both offline and online gameplay modes. This means you can now play your franchise season online or offline. Even though there has been a lot of added additions to this year’s franchise mode it seems EA has left out some of the basic features.
Online gameplay is spot on, with nothing too dramatic changed and connects with no issues and almost no lag, plus finding a game is easy.
Ultimate team has also returned, though more appealing and user friendly for new players to the franchise, meaning it’s easy to spend countless hours here trying to build the best team. Madden’s presentation has seen a vast improvement from the previous entries with much more emphasis to the build up of the match. Jim Nantz and Phil Simms help make it feel like you’re involved with a real NFL game, with moments where Phil Simms will over emphasise words.
Overall Madden NFL 13 has had a much needed tune up in some places, resulting in many improvements, providing a more realistic approach to the game. It still feels the same as previous Maddens, though this isn’t an issue. EA do need to make some more improvements however with passing and the franchise mode. None of the changes will blow you away, but it’s still a fantastic NFL game in the franchise.