Posted on September 1, 2012 AT 07:56pm
The Madden NFL franchise has been a behemoth in recent years, ranking high in sales, though it has been lacking in the originality and innovation departments over the last several installments. But with Madden NFL ’13, things have changed, and these changes are substantial. So substantial, in fact, that two people have been enlisted to review the game. So, please welcome the other half of this review, giving his thoughts on Madden NFL ’13 for the Playstation 3, Albert Perkins (whose thoughts will be included in italics)!
Madden has gone above and beyond this year, forgoing the traditional modes in favor of of the brand new Connected Careers mode, which basically melds the “Be A Superstar” mode with the classic and beloved “Franchise” mode. This new combination, with an emphasis on online connectivity (careers can be played online with friends, or offline), makes for a unique experience. Players can become an NFL Player (be it current pro, created player, or from a pool of NFL legends), or a Coach (with the same choices), each with one thing in mind: Be great and make it to Canton. The mode is deep with features, including an experience points system, a Legacy Score to rate Hall Of Fame worthiness, and an emphasis on social interaction.
I thought that EA Sports did a really great job with the social networking interaction. At the end of every game, you have the opportunity to publish the game to your Facebook news feed as well as on your Twitter timeline for everyone to see. In the Connected Careers Mode, fake Twitter accounts such as Skip Bayless, and Adam Schefter will comment on what is happening around the league including how your team, player, and/or coach is performing through the season. It’s a pretty fun feature. Another nice addition is the Madden Career website. EA Sports has put together a website that tracks how your team is doing, how you rank in terms of legacy with players or coaches, and keeps track of your progress towards the ultimate goal: the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Statistics again can be shared to Facebook, and Twitter for your friends to track how you’re doing. It’s clear that EA wanted to make this year’s game of Madden more social and interactive and it appears that they have done just that.
The system, while missing some of the fan favorite features (such as fantasy draft in the former “Franchise” mode being omitted, as well as fixing the incredibly broken trade system, which is a great change or a terrible one depending on player style), but the new system works very well, and runs smoothly.
Continuing with the social interaction was the inclusion of EA Sports Game Face. For the first time, gamers will be able to upload their face to EA Sports and have their actual face included in the game. The process takes all of about 15-20 minutes on your PC (depending on it’s overall speed) but once the process is complete, your jaw will hit the floor with how impressive and how close the Game Face will resemble your own face (I have included my own on the picture below). How does it transition to the game? Well, it depends. I had two experiences with Game Face and both were different. My upload seemed to give my coach’s face multiple vertical lines and degraded the way he looked. It was somewhat disappointing. However, my friend uploaded his and it was scary with how perfect it resembled his face on the game. So mixed reviews on the Game Face transition to the actual game, but it definitely shows great promise and is a welcome addition to the game.
Gameplay is incredibly improved as well, with less lag and stuttering than in previous versions, smooth movements, and a commitment to challenging the player. While the home run play is still attainable, both passing and running against AI was a bit more difficult. This is true in all modes, including the “Madden Ultimate Team” mode, the franchise’s hybrid of fantasy football team and trading card game. Collections in the mode are a bit more interesting this year, focusing less of teams and draft classes and more on stats, which makes collecting player difficult to varying degrees, but much more interesting.
As far as online play on the Xbox 360 goes, it was standard Madden. With a strong connection speed, slowdowns and drops are less frequent, but still happen, and while not as apparent as in other versions, the game still takes a few moments longer than a normal game against the AI would. Nothing too frustrating, but something that does take some getting used to, especially for those used to online modes.
Online play on the PlayStation 3 isn’t perfect. Playing a couple games with a close friend of mine I did see a lot of refreshing and clipping issues during play. This has been a problem in Madden for years and although it doesn’t ruin the experience of gameplay, it does however slow things down. It’s imperative to have a fast connection when playing online with Madden 13. With 22 players moving at the same time along with other gameplay animations (fans, coaches on the sidelines, officials) it can prove to be too much if your connection speed isn’t efficient.
Summary: Madden has really stepped it up this year, however, and it shows in every facet of the game, from the new modes to the game-changing Infinity Engine. While this isn’t the same franchise fans are used to, innovation (or lack thereof) has been the biggest complaint from fans about the games, and this year, EA Sports listened, delivering a new and unique experience featuring some of the greats the game has ever had. Many are calling it the greatest installment in years, and this is a pretty accurate statement. Madden NFL ’13 is a fun, new and innovative experience, and one that fans should really enjoy.
Summary: While not perfect, Madden NFL 13′ is the best Madden I’ve played in years. It’s the complete package and has what every casual NFL fan is looking for in a football video game. It looks like a television broadcast, it sounds like a television broadcast- heck, it even entertains like a television broadcast! The graphics have vastly improved, the AI is smarter, and the gameplay is sharp. With those improvements there are a couple fall backs. At times, the score and the down/yardage headline disappears at the top of the screen when selecting a play. The fantasy draft mode being removed was a downer for a lot of people, and the online lag can be bothersome for some if you don’t have a sufficient connection speed. But overall, this year’s iteration of Madden NFL is one that should not be missed especially if you’ve skipped the last few years. Do yourself a favor and pick this one up. You will thank us later.
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