Madden NFL 13 Review for PlayStation 3

Electronic Arts expands their annual U.S. pro football video game with several new features while raising the replay value to new levels in their latest football simulation game Madden NFL 13.

The Hype

Developed around the powerful, all-new Infinity game engine, Madden NFL 13 delivers a more engrossing, complete and realistic gridiron experience than any game before it. Key game features include: graphical presentation reminiscent of national television broadcasts, gameplay improvements such as a new pass-ready system, improved play action, and the all-new read and react defensive AI system, Madden social/play functionality, multiplayer support online and offline, and the ability to build the ultimate franchise as a coach, an NFL superstar, or yourself.

With Physics You Can Feel, Madden NFL 13 delivers next generation gameplay today.  The all-new Infinity Engine delivers real-time physics, ensuring no two plays will ever LOOK or FEEL the same.  Madden NFL 13 revolutionizes the way sports video game career modes are played with Connected Careers—a completely new and fully connected universe defined by deep gameplay, unique storylines and social integration.  With cutting-edge Infinity Engine technology, revolutionary Connected Careers and a complete audio and visual overhaul that delivers best in class presentation, Madden NFL 13 is undoubtedly the greatest entry in the franchise’s celebrated history.

The Reality

Electronic Arts expands their gridiron video game with several new features while raising the replay value to new levels in their latest football simulation game Madden NFL 13. Just when you cannot fathom any other game element in this stalwart series, the EA Tiburon developers come up with some great elements, additions, and enhancements that eventually spread to every facet of the game.

With Calvin Johnson on the cover, Madden NFL 13 provides plenty of pomp and circumstance for a deeply detailed experience yet stays still simple enough for beginning players. Online roster updates, related game modes, and downloadable content keep this dynamic football frenzy moving while access expands beyond the console through social media, mobile devices, or the web. Players can even check out the virtual Twitter feeds. Various league play experiences also expand even more for commissioners who start their own league. Players can also join leagues and start their own player, coach or both.

Players have plenty to do and the realistic experience comes through nicely in the visuals. The players look sharp with the Nike uniforms (all types of new and classic with more unlockable when actually released) and so does the playing field with enhanced filed degradation and impressive lighting effects.

The new Infinity graphic engine uses realistic player interactions, balances/stumbles, and muscle tension. Smooth graphics continue to round the hard-edged faces and features into realistic figures though some faces (e.g. Matthew Stafford) still look a little blotchy. The ball mechanics impress, especially during deflections, so players can often grab loose balls in the air, which look fantastic on the instant replays. The simultaneous tackles look great while the control scheme now matches the control scheme in EA’s NCAA Football games.

The cinematic camera elements enhance the visual experience so much that players can have as much fun watching the game as playing it. In-game advertising ranging and access to online fantasy football teams through the main menu interface. Games offer halftime statistics, but no halftime show.

Got six PlayStation 3 controllers? The multiplayer mode supports two to six players with online play options for two to three players in cooperative and two to six players in competitive. Players can also save up to 10 highlights (including camera angle options) per game and share game summaries on Facebook or Twitter (option available after game completion). The in-game manual has the basics, but needs a search option.

Players need to experience the important training elements in the practice sessions. Players can get better through testing, practice and several other game modes that build experience and skill levels. Advanced players can even grab some cash and prizes in competitive Madden matches at

The passing game contains several improvements, especially the eight sack avoidance actions and direct pass placements with the left control stick including passing into open space and over-the-shoulder pass placement. Other enhancements include the shovel pass and quarterback cadences recorded from Aaron Rodgers, Tim Tebow (yes, there are “Tebowing” options in this game), Michael Vick, Ben Roethlisberger, Peyton Manning, Eli Manning and many others.

Many other enhancements save time and eliminate unnecessary distractions/actions. Pass pump fakes (L1 button) are automatic when players call a fake play. Quarterbacks now drop back automatically when play starts. Players can cancel play action roll outs using the R2 button.

Receivers display more than 430 catch animations reflecting their availability and readiness to catch the ball, namely colored icons changing from gray color and turning their head towards the quarterback. A few detailed animations were out of place (e.g. receiver hands do not match evenly with the ball), but the overall realism and on-field physics matched the engrossing graphics. Defense actions also reflect more realism with disguised coverage schemes and improved AI actions.

The new connected careers mode is the “first true sports role playing game (RPG)” by combining the previous franchise (online and offline) and superstar modes together into one place. Create or join a league as a coach or player or mix both. The coach experience follows an itemized checklist on a weekly schedule involving practices, trades, and roster cuts while the player experience includes selectable styles, backstories, and goals.

Players earn XP points for most activities that all include total XP point goals along with weekly, season and milestone goals like making the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Experimentation, point/gameplay rewards, and flexibility offer many options here while boosting the replay value to an all-time high. For example, players can also “retire” remain in connected careers league under CPU control so another league user can try him out.

The legacy score lets players compare their performance against famous coaches and players. I immediately went straight for Bill Belicheck from New England to create a coach, but found “Chad Masters” instead though his legacy score was still a high 4000. John Madden appears as a playable legendary coach, but it would have been nice to see him in the game more even though he does not announce anymore.

Now in their fourth iteration, the Madden ultimate teams center on earned/purchasable virtual cards including 30 rookie cards, reserves, and legendary players. Cards can be earned with XP points, purchased with actual money, or automatically as a “loyalty reward” by accessing records of your past EA NFL games. Players begin with a free starter pack then pick a captain for their main cache while adding a reserve cache for extra cards for possible trade and/or auction.

The well-varied goals including new solo challenges for preseason, regular season and postseason. Players get discounted prices for bundled card packs purchased with actual money. Key packs, only earned by accomplishing certain achievements (complete team collection, finish regular season solo challenge, etc.), will also contain one random and unique key card (38 total). Key cards can also be traded or auctioned. In a PlayStation 3 exclusive, players can earn an ultimate team pack when they play online through the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita version.

The Madden NFL Gridiron Club offers news, hints, help and consistent updates and new content include the Madden Moment scenarios, which lets players reenact segments of famous game time situations. For example, in end of the game “Tebow [Over]time!” scenario all seemed lost after losing possession with an interception then missing a field goal, but then two interceptions and a last second field goal made the whole experience exhilarating. Players always have a chance in these scenarios, so keep fighting until the end (no penalty for failure).

Developers incorporate the new music theme from composer Colin O’Malley (NCAA Football 11, Tomb Raider Underworld) into each unique game presentation and the complimentary music (all instrumental) enhances the experience. CBS television sports announces Jim Nanz & Phil Simms handle the commentary and play calls complete with 9000 dialogue lines.

Players can get even more packs by participating in EA SPORTS™ Season Ticket program, which also gives early access to Madden NFL 13 on Friday, August 24, 2012 (6:00pm EST) before the game’s retail release on August 28. The first included Madden NFL 13 benefit is one Legendary and 24 Pro Madden packs – one per week for 24 consecutive weeks (for use in Madden Ultimate Team). A one-year subscription is available now for $24.99. The second year of the program expands more than $100 of paid downloadable content (DLC) across the five participating franchises – Madden NFL, NHL®, FIFA Soccer, Tiger Woods PGA TOUR®  and NCAA® Football. This program also offers a 20 percent discount on any additional paid downloadable content purchased for the five participating titles.

Installation only requires 135 MB of hard space. No Playstation Move capabilities while the Xbox 360 with Kinect version features special pre-snap adjustments, audibles, and voice commands. Also available on Nintendo Wii and the handheld PlayStation Vita with a Wii U version coming soon that will feature touchscreen capabilities for playbook displays, preliminary adjustments, and hot routes.

Electronic Arts’ Madden NFL 13 continues the grand tradition of this obsession called football with another successful, creative remediation of the NFL experience. A highly enjoyable football experience with enough entertainment to get even the most casual fan hyped up for this NFL season and beyond.

Review: Madden NFL 13

Where to Buy: and stores everywhere on August 28th

Price: $59.99

What I Like:  Several updates/enhancements from last year’s version, online connectivity with mobile/social media, improved player movements, realistic game elements, high replay value, varied commentary that rarely repeats, blend of modern and legendary players, camera angle options, stadium/environment authenticity, Madden Moment scenarios, statistics blend well with earned points/game elements

What Needs Improvement: More John Madden, player animations (as always), additional PlayStation Move capabilities

Source: Copy provided by publisher

Categories: Gaming, Reviews

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