Madden NFL 13 Got Right
- + Excellent visual presentation
- + Feels like you’re watching an NFL broadcast
- + Commentary that you won’t want to mute
- + New Connected Careers mode is a lot of fun
Madden NFL 13 Got Wrong
- - Not a whole lot different to Madden NFL 12
- - Might prove daunting to those unfamiliar with NFL
Even if you’re someone who’s not exactly football (or sports) inclined, a slew of new additions and improvements in Madden NFL 13 ensures the annual franchise’s latest offering justifies your money’s worth. However, (as is the case with the majority of sports games as of late), is it yet another example of “same s***, different year?”
If you’re connected online, it’s going to take you a few minutes to actually reach the game’s menu screen (god damn EA and Origin), as is to be expected with EA titles nowadays. Once you’re there, though, all of the game modes available are neatly tiled around the screen, and even shows how many users are currently playing online.
Madden NFL 13 certainly has a lot to offer. Ultimate Team mode returns yet again, allowing players to create their “ultimate team” with an in-game trading card system. Sounds strange, I know, but invest some time into it and you’ll find that there’s more to this game mode that meets the eye. Also returning is Madden Moments Live, where players can relive the most exciting moments from the real NFL season as they happen. Each week EA will bring the most intense scenarios of the week to your fingertips at the expense of Madden Coins, which can be earned by playing online or purchased with real-world money.
As you’ve probably realised, all I’ve talked about so far are returning game modes. So what’s new, you ask? Connected Careers is the most notable addition to Madden NFL 13, combining all the elements of Franchise, Online Franchise, Superstar mode and NFL legends into one neat gameplay option. What this means is that players can choose to begin their career as either a player or a coach, paving their own way to greatness. Whether you want to create a new player or coach and work your way up from scratch, resume the career of any current NFL player/coach or embark on a career with a rookie version of an NFL legend, Madden NFL 13’s got you covered.
The depth offered within Connected Careers is almost enough to warrant another game in itself. The central “News Center” hub simulates a list of stories as the player progresses through their career, and even possesses a fictional Twitter feed of some of the game’s most notable players and personalities. Career stats are also readily and easily available for the player to view. Players must traverse through the NFL schedule by completing the weekly “checklist”, to earn experience points to spend on their player.
There’s a variety of options to spend your points on, such as ball carrying, toughness and elusiveness. Experience can also be earned by completing weekly goals and milestones, all varying in difficulty, adding further incentive for players to stray out of their comfort zone in order to get the most of the Connected Careers experience. The new Connected Careers mode and XP system within is a breath of fresh air to the game and will provide players with tonnes of replayability.
The gameplay and audio improvements are also noteworthy – mainly the improved passing system and commentary from popular NFL broadcasters Jim Nantz and Phil Simms. Passing controls have been tweaked, allowing more accuracy than ever - your quarterback can now launch the ball onto the back shoulder of your receiver, should you so choose. EA has also implemented over 430 new catch animations and various moves for quarterbacks to avoid the passing rush.
Meanwhile, the commentary from real NFL commentators in Jim Nantz and Phil Simms won’t have you scrambling for the mute option, like a lot of other sports games. Over 82 hours of unique dialogue from the two keeps the game feeling fresh, and whilst you’ll inevitably hear the same line more than once, it’s great to hear consistent interaction and comments from Nantz and Simms during numerous on-field events.
However, as is always the case, Madden NFL 13 is not without its flaws. Aside from the new Connected Careers mode and many gameplay tweaks and additions, it’s ultimately not that much of a step up from Madden NFL 12. Whilst it’s been improved in all aspects, particularly visually and audibly, if you’re happy with last year’s offering, then stick to that. If you’re looking for an updated experience with even more to give, then Madden NFL 13 is for you.
If you’re not too familiar with the NFL, the game’s probably going to feel a little daunting, at least at first. There are a huge amount of different tactics to wrap your head around, and the control scheme will take a while to fully master. Unless you’re personally invested in the sport, you’re probably not going to be able to get the full experience out of Madden NFL 13.
The Final Verdict
Whilst Madden NFL 13 doesn’t offer a whole lot more than its predecessor, those with a keen interest in the sport will take a shining to EA’s latest offering. There’s a wide variety of modes to partake in and Connected Careers provides a unique and fun reason to keep playing the game. If you’re someone who doesn’t know a whole lot about the NFL, you inevitably won’t enjoy it as much as hardcore fans, however Madden NFL 13 is still definitely worth checking out.
By Jake Galouzis