Madden NFL 13 Review for PlayStation 3 (PS3)

Madden NFL 13 Review for PlayStation 3 (PS3)

Madden The Gathering

I’m going to go ahead and get something out of the way right now: I do not play yearly sports games every year. To put it more simply, I do not rush out to buy the latest new franchise title to compare how many hairs Aaron Rodgers has on his chin from year to year. This doesn’t mean, however, that I don’t want to play each and every yearly incarnation in the many sports titles I love.

The thing about yearly sports titles is that everyone wants them. They are like a collective trading card game; whenever a new set comes out, even if the new feature is only something small and trivial, people have to have it. Like a gambling obsession, the Madden series always has something up its sleeve to make you want more. Hell, without Madden, I doubt so many people would be into the Fantasy Football league. After all, Madden gives you an opportunity to craft your fantasies of football like no one else.

Madden NFL 13 Screenshot

With this year’s entry, there’s something new and revolutionary for the franchise, and to the sports game formula in general. I am talking about the Connected Career, or, as I have dubbed it, Madden: The Gathering.

It’s your lovable career mode as you know it, except now it comes with a depth that rivals the formula of yesterday’s RPGs. With Connected Career, you will play through the career of chosen created player or coach, or you can take over the life of a current NFL player or coach, or, my personal favorite, some of the league’s most legendary players and coaches (Jerry Rice and Vince Lombardi, to name a couple).

Madden NFL 13 Screenshot

The leagues you will be able to play in are user-created, with up to 32 people online and offline participating in your own football empire. I can’t get into everything about the captivating Connected Career, but I can say this: It made the decision clear that this is the Madden for me.

What would an RPG-styled game be without XP? Well Madden has is in spades! No matter what you choose (created player or coach, existing or legendary) each has a number of goals that reward you with XP to advance your character to becoming the best in the league. Of course, there are lifetime goals (like pass yards), but there are also various other things for which you are rewarded XP. Like practices, for example. These practice sessions allow you to play out a scenario such as the score being tied at the half and you having to come out on top by the end of the game (or practice session).

Madden NFL 13 Screenshot

If you are the coach, utilizing the XP points becomes a delicate thing. Instead of just advancing all of your favorites, you can use the XP to scout and fill out your rosters, talk retiring players out of retiring, and give you an extra advantage on signing free agents. The XP can even assist in getting the inside track info about draft picks before anyone else. The layers of the XP utilization make this aspect of the game ten times more interesting to someone like myself, and that’s saying something since I never even liked it before.

Of course, the end goal of the new Connected Career is to reach the Hall of Fame. Everyone wants to see their players or coaches placed high in the Hall of Fame, and now with Legacy score you have the opportunity to see how you rank among other players in the Hall of Fame to end that fabled question of who is better than whom.

Even though I am infected with the aspects of the Connected Career, the one thing I didn’t get an opportunity to check out—though I’m eager to do so—is the Retiring system. Now, Madden actually welcomes retiring players and coaches. For example if you get tired of one person’s career, you can retire them and start anew with someone else. The best thing about this is that the current player or coaches “retired” like this stay in circulation, meaning someone else could grab that player or coach and bring them out of retirement if they wish. The very idea of retiring and then returning to the game adds a sense of the way the NFL has been over the past few years.

Madden NFL 13 Screenshot

While I feel like I could talk more about the Connected Career, it is probably best for you to just dive in for yourself and see all of the new fantastic things awaiting you in your new journey to league infamy.

Besides the new mode, there have been a few other notable adjustments to the game. For example, the speed of the game feels fresh and upbeat. This may be due to my lack of playing the franchise for a couple of years, but it feels very solid and inviting nonetheless. Giving you more control over the passing game also increases the enjoyment of the game. Sure, we won’t see any of the old red-zone-to-red-zone Hail Mary passes to score a touchdown, but the precision added is definitely welcome, even though it can take a little getting used to.

There are also a few new animations helping to ensure believability of the game. Sure, there is still the occasional Madden screw-up where the ball is clearly not caught but placed into the receiver’s hands, but all in all, this year is a continued improvement on the series. And just like the graphics each year get a stroke or two better, the sounds and sportscasting continue to improve as well. The dialogue is strong and the execution is spot-on. Even though, much like all randomized tracks, eventually you hear the same things being said over and over. This does get annoying, but nowhere near as annoying as before.

Madden NFL 13 may not be the answer to why you still pick up the same old franchises year after year, but there’s no denying that it’s amazing fun. So whether you’re a vet looking to dive headfirst into the Connected Career, a moderate yearly player anxious to play the game you know and love, or the fresh Madden NFL fan dying to get started somewhere, this is your Madden.

With each year it becomes harder to see the enhancements, but trademark mishaps assure you it is still Madden.E 4.0 Control
Gameplay feels fluid and motion-oriented. 4.5 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Excellent sportscasting and authentic sounds have become staples of the franchise. 4.3 Play Value
Tons to do, just like in any traditional Madden title. 4.5 Overall Rating – Must Buy
Not an average. See Rating legend below for a final score breakdown.

Review Rating Legend
0.1 – 1.9 = Avoid 2.5 – 2.9 = Average 3.5 – 3.9 = Good 4.5 – 4.9 = Must Buy
2.0 – 2.4 = Poor 3.0 – 3.4 = Fair 4.0 – 4.4 = Great 5.0 = The Best

Game Features:

  • With Physics You Can Feel, Madden NFL 13 delivers Next Generation gameplay today. Powered by the all-new Infinity Engine, true player impact and authentic momentum transfer ensure that no two plays ever look or feel the same.
  • Live the NFL dream – whenever you want, wherever you want in a fully interactive, social, and connected online experience. Create your personal legacy or relive an all-time legend’s as you build the ultimate franchise as a coach, an NFL superstar, or yourself. Manage your team from your console, the web, or mobile phone in a 24/7 world as NFL insiders and experts analyze, praise, and criticize every move along the way.
  • Madden NFL 13 Ultimate Team is a free-to-play game mode that perfectly combines Madden NFL Football, fantasy football, and player trading cards.
  • Madden NFL 13 delivers a superb audio experience that faithfully replicates NFL Sundays with CBS Sports’ Jim Nantz and Phil Simms calling the action, QB cadences, authentic sound effects and actual on-field player chatter, all provided by NFL Films, and a fully-scored orchestral theme that conveys the emotion and excitement of professional football.
  • With a completely redesigned passing game including new a new pass-ready system and improved play action, and the all-new read and react defensive AI system that features the most intelligent pass defense to date, Madden NFL 13 achieves greater realism on the virtual gridiron on both sides of the ball.
  • Madden NFL 13 delivers world-class presentation with an all-new living front end, dynamic in-game transitions, a live ticker, and drastically improved usability. Every game has the feel of a nationally televised broadcast with CBS Sports commentators Jim Nantz and Phil Simms calling the action from the virtual 3D booth.
  • A whole new way to experience Madden against your friends – anytime, anywhere.

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