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Game Review: Madden NFL 2013

Posted October 22, 2012 by Aidan Cuffe in Sport


Ramp Rating


Platform: , , ,
PEGI Rating:
Release Date: August 28th 2012


Superb realism, fun with friends


Online mode

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.

by Aidan Cuffe
Full Article

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.

About the Author

Aidan Cuffe

  • http://twitter.com/kevmclean Kev

    Calvin Johnson’s face on the cover is a twisted depiction of confusion and fear. It is almost like, off-screen, someone has hiked him a baby carrying a grenade.

    • http://www.lisamcinerney.com Lisa McInerney

      That might be why there’s a hint of paternal concern there, too.

      • http://twitter.com/kevmclean Kev

        Deargerds, you’re right! “ERMAHGERD MER BERHBEH!!” His tone being constricted by his mouthguard, of course.

  • http://twitter.com/ToeMcD Tony McDermot

    As a person who has never, ever, ever enjoyed playing games online (the odd eccentric MMO aside) I’m delighted by this review. I pretty much never play FIFA online as I don’t have 100million hours after school to sink into learning the skill sets, and I haven’t played a Madden game since 07.

    Might have to pick this up.

    • http://www.goldenplec.com Aidan (Goldenplec)

      I actually am one of those people who finds FIFA decent online from playing all the previous years, and I manage to do OK, but I do agree that there are some players that are just insanely good.

      Unfortunately very few online games don’t suffer with this, playing Call Of Duty online yields some very rough games unless you get a nice panel of players around the same level as yourself. Players need to be grouped by ability where possible to make online more fun. Until this kind of stuff starts happening as default, people will struggle to get a foothold in any game online until they become unemployed good.

  • http://twitter.com/simontuohy simontuohy

    Nice review. I have played it quiet a few times online and indeed won sometimes. The key is you need to learn plays. You need to know where every player is going to be running. and thus can check where the space is quickly. Likewise you learn to recognise what Defence the others are using and adapt to that. But it takes the time investment to learn.

    • http://www.goldenplec.com Aidan (Goldenplec)

      Agree, unfortunately time isn’t on your side when writing reviews, but it certainly seemed tough playing online, perhaps it’s just my own personal peripheral vision but I seem to zone in on one or two runs and look for them to come free and cannot adapt to see the others before being ransacked by the opposition.

      I reckon with time I could improve my ability to spot these but the American opposition make it seem effortless!

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