Madden NFL 13 Review
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Madden NFL 13 is the most realistic football game to date and offers a true-to-life game day presentation. With reworked gameplay, Connected Careers, and a new physics=based engine, it's worth checking out even if you've been bored with the series lately.
- Strong new physics engine
- Connected Careers adds depth
- Enhanced gameplay presentation
- Glitchy post-play animations
- Virtually no penalties
- Some graphic hiccups
Just about every annual sports game needs that year where everything changes. EA Sports has recently focused on transforming its sports lineup--games like FIFA, Fight Night, and NHL have all had, or will have, drastic revamped installments--and this year it's Madden's turn. With the promise of improved gameplay; a new, realistic engine; a presentation more in line with Sunday game day, or night; and at long last a vastly reworked career mode, both online and offline. Madden NFL 13 was hyped to be the most realistic football game to date and offer hardcore and casual fans a superiorly connected experience. Luckily, EA Tiburon followed through with that promise, for the most part, and has given us one of the best Madden game of this generation.
There are really three main areas of improvement in Madden NFL 13: refined gameplay, revamped offline and online careers, and a realistic game day presentation. All three of these areas pulled together provide players the most authentic football experience, but all three areas also have some issues and could use some work. Luckily, none of Madden NFL 13's issues are game breakers, and most are simply cosmetic.
Those familiar with the Madden series know a new physics-based game engine is long overdue. The new Infinity Engine solves that longstanding fan request. Yes, there are new graphics, a new career mode, and other tweaks, but the Infinity Engine is Madden NFL 13's biggest area of improvement. There are no more canned animations for the quarterback throwing to a receiver, or a running back bouncing off a lineman. It's now all based on players' attributes. A receiver with strong balance will stay on his feet if a defender doesn't put enough weight behind his tackle. The result gives realistic on-field gameplay. You can really see and feel the weight behind each tackle. You'll see running backs go head first in the turf if a defender tackles their legs.
It's pretty amazing to see the subtleties in the new engine, too. For example, you don't have to get bear hug tackled to go down. A simple trip--even on your own teammate's foot--can quickly end your run. At first I found it annoying to see my running back trip up on a leveled player instead of stepping over him. But, it's probably more realistic that way. Momentum is extremely important, especially in the running game. I occasionally found the hole to sprint through, took a stutter step to avoid a tackle and was eventually brought down by a safety.
During actual gameplay, the engine is extremely effective. However, there are plenty of bugs after the play stops. You'll see players trip over each other and bend like ragdolls filled with bean bags. This is at odds with actual gameplay because EA Tiburon went to great lengths to avoid that ragdoll effect. There are also plenty of issues with players jumping around after a play. Once again, the refs are pretty much invisible to players as after a play they simply run right through the men in stripes. I also noticed on a few occasions that after scoring a touchdown my player kept running and ended up inside the actual stadium. The camera followed and zoomed randomly into the crowd. These glitches don't happen all that frequently, and it’s worth noting that the game engine works quite well during gameplay, though it has plenty of issues after a play.
There are also very, very few penalties. For a game that is supposed to mimic game day, it's extremely rare to see a yellow flag on the field, especially for pass interference. This is probably something that will be worked out in the next installment so until then, you are free to be a nuisance on the field.
Elsewhere in the gameplay department, a greatly improved passing game puts more control in the players' fingers. There are a ton of new types of pass. You are no longer restricted to passes like a lob or a bullet. Now, you can send a wide variety of passes depending on how you press the receivers' buttons. Your QB will send a fast dart on a slant while a four verticals play gives you plenty of lob options.
But the greatest part of the throwing game rests in the ... (continued on next page)