Game Review: Madden NFL 2013
Pros:Superb realism, fun with friends
If any American Football game is going to smash the European market, it’s this one. Aidan plays Madden NFL 13 on the PS3 and comes away pretty impressed.
Pad us up and throw us the ball, we’re ready for the big game. Whether or not you’re built for American football, after the introductory scene of Madden NFL 2013 plays out, your blood will be pumping and you’ll be itching to get into the fray.
American football suffers a bit over here in Europe. It’s not the most popular game and sometimes it can feel like a release to nothing. In previous years of Madden games, we can’t say we’ve been overly impressed. Because we’ve never been in love with the real game, the franchise started on the back foot, but if you take that away and start with an open mind, from the first crunching tackle one thing is clear: this game is far superior to all the Madden sims before it.
The graphics are crisper, cleaner and more lifelike than any of the preceding Madden games, but gamers should expect that year on year anyway if the developers want us to part with our hard-earned cash. This year, it’s the gameplay that – across the EA Sports series- has received a major jolt. The core of this update is the Infinity engine which EA have trumped as a huge change.
It’s quite clear they are shouting it loudly for a reason. Its physics provide the most realistic tackles, bounces, ricochets, jumps and bumps that we have encountered in an NFL sim. Each tackle is different, each hit looks like a bone breaker. The crashing sounds at the line of scrimmage evoke memories of watching the Superbowl in a packed pub. Timing your throws is everything, peripheral vision is key as you scan the screen for a runner who has cleared the slew of heavy tackles. One second too quick and you won’t reach it, one second too slow and your quarter-back is lying on the ground like Luis Suarez looking for a penalty (except in your game there will be actual contact).
Inarguably, the gameplay is immersive. Ultimate Team is the full game mode: build a fantasy team, trade players, and build your team of NFL legends from the past and present as you make your play for the NFL title. Solo challenges allow you to play a series of challenges based on real-life NFL events.
Be it Career, Fantasy Football or Madden Moments Live, there is a multitude of playing options to keep you busy, which while playing with friends or playing out a full career mode is satisfying and fun. Amazingly, it is the online mode that’s the least fun. First of all, playing online yields a huge amount of American opponents, who not only know the game better than you, but also have a surreal peripheral vision allowing them to pick out runs and passes with a sublime success rate. This fact alone renders most online games pointless, as you struggle to gain a foothold. Another annoyance is the length of time spent choosing the best play by your opponent, making the games stretch on to almost unenjoyable lengths.
However, these online niggles will be only blips for the average player, and those who get quite good could indeed enjoy the challenge laid down by online play. The saving grace for Madden is that the offline modes are so complete and fun that you may never need to venture online to enjoy the game. The immersive gameplay will reel in even the most novice of players, with its amazingly realistic collisions, catches and general gameplay. If any Madden game was going to break the market, it’s this one. Just don’t play online unless you are a) quite good or b) want to repeat the feeling of watching Germany crush Ireland ad infinitum.