Published on August 28th, 2012 | by Mark Gibson, News Editor1
Madden NFL ’13 Review
Developer: EA Tiburon
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Platform: Xbox 360 [Reviewed] (Releasing on all consoles and PC)
Release Date: Aug. 28, 2012
Review Notes: A copy of the game was received for review purposes.
With a new year comes a new edition of the dominating football franchise simulator, Madden NFL 13. If the game could be described as one word, it would be: refreshing.
Every few years the Madden NFL namesake is put through a facelift. This year’s title got more than just a few new gimmicks and game mechanics. Last season, the theme was speed. This year, that same theme holds true with the new Infinity Engine. Gameplay is still quick, and the graphics seem to be much more fluid. While there is still the occasional player who will walk through fences and walls, the physics of the gameplay are more realistic. It also makes the slow motion replays look very crisp. You can often catch glitches in gameplay when you watch the replays, but the new engine makes this less frequent.
There are a few small mechanical changes to the gameplay that may not seem significant at first but, after a while, you will find they are quite helpful.
For example, pass leading can help in a jam when all of your receivers are covered in man coverage. It just takes a simple directional push of the right analog stick. Leading your receivers is much easier this way. The same goes for defense, as using the analog direction can make the difference between of an interception or a forced fumble.
Along with the gameplay, the Commentary got a fresh new voice with CBS Sports announcers, Jim Nantz and Phil Simms taking the helm. The whole broadcast presentation also resembles CBS Sports even though it is not directly addressed. Like any Madden game, the commentary does get old and repetitive. Sometimes, however, it is refreshing to have some new voices on the game. The one thing I noticed that I found to be quite entertaining is when Nantz and Simms start talking about a specific player in detail, something not heard before.
Rolling along with the changes, EA has scrubbed the Franchise mode and implemented a new game mode called Connected Careers. Similar to the NCAA series’ Road to Glory, you enter the role of a player or head coach and work your way through the seasons to becoming an NFL legend. Not only can you play as real NFL legends such as Joe Montana or Vince Lombardi, but there is even an option to upload a digital version of yourself into the game with the EA Sports Gameface. There is nothing more satisfying than creating a player that actually looks exactly like you. This takes the idea of the Sports RPG to a new level and makes the game more engaging.
However, Connected Careers is more than just playing through a career; it makes it more of an MMO. Your career is connected to the EA Sports online community and you can play games alongside your friends in leagues. This brings a new element to the online gameplay that Madden has been known to feature. You can even post your matchups directly to Facebook and Twitter thus giving more ways to share your victories, and defeats.
Implementing the Xbox 360 Kinect Features
At some point, I’m sure we have all yelled at our television when watching a football game. And if you are like me and yell at the screen when a game gets heated, then the new Xbox 360 Kinect voice commands won’t be far from the norm for you. It seems that a plethora of developers are testing the waters with the Kinect’s capabilities to enhance the gaming experience. This one, however, falls a little short.
It’s fun to shout out voice commands and call an audible to your offense and defense, but it loses its charm too quickly. For one, you can only have this mode activated if you are playing by yourself or against someone online. So, essentially, you are yelling at your television while you are alone. There is no advantage to yelling “hike” as opposed to pressing the “A” button.
It’s a cool idea, but needs more to it. I’m sure future versions of Madden will find more ways to use the Kinect technology, but for now we have to settle with this “let’s just test the waters” version.
The new changes blend well with the gameplay that gamers have come to know with the Madden series. Whether you are a casual or hardcore Madden player, Madden NFL 13 is fun for everyone. The Infinity Engine helps make gameplay more fluid while the Connected Careers makes online gameplay a video game version of Fantasy Football.
+ The new Infinity Engine brings more realistic gameplay
+ Connected Careers mode allows for larger and more competitive online leagues
+ Jim Nantz and Phil Simms do phenomenal job commentating
- Players still tend to walk through walls, glide on the field, and fall down unexpectedly
- Kinect Voice commands are interesting but lacking