Apparently NFL is a bit of a big deal over in the old U. S of A. Towering television audiences, legendary rivalries and all the showmanship you expect from the land of the free, the sport is riding a crest of increased popularity that has become just about bigger than Texas.
The biggest, brightest and boldest of American sports deserves the cockiest, most confident of video game adaptions. EA might have just delivered a game that can replicate the Hollywood-style look and feel of the NFL so well that even the most sports-phobic person couldn’t help but be impressed.
Make no mistake about it though, Madden 13, and the sport that it represents is complicated. Outside looking in, some of the rules, the concepts and the elements that make up American Football seem almost quaint in comparison to the ever evolving rugby code from which it was originally branched off from.
But Madden 13 doesn’t require you to have any major knowledge of linebackers, or even know if a quarterback belongs on the field on in your local KFC; no Madden 13 is designed for EVERYONE. From the Fantasy-Football playing trainspotter, right down to the the complete NFL virgin, there’s something for everyone in the most complete NFL package yet.
The theme this year is connection. A theme that runs through a majority of EA games but is more prevalent than ever in their sporting franchises. Just like the Fifa Football Club, Madden encourages gamers to sign up and sign on to a global playing field of millions; compete against their friends and total strangers to create a more social game.
This can get a bit on the irritating side though, as a lot of the features in this version of Madden force players to go online in order to use them. Those gamers without an online connection really are only getting half (at most) of the whole experience, but in the modern internet world, EA is banking on that percentage of gamers to be miniscule.
Plus this is a game aimed squarely at the soul of Americans. From the presentation, to the announcers, to the sponsors that litter the game; this is American product through and through. By replicating the broadcast quality of the actual NFL, Madden does something that even the pinnacle of sports game, Fifa 12, hasn’t managed to master, it get’s you inside.
Inside the huddle, inside the players heads, inside the coaches. With the connected world and the stunning gameday presentation, things are so seamless that someone who might not know better may just assume you’re watching a game instead of playing it.
The connected world of Madden 13 means that the options the game presents you to play it are mind-blowing. Almost every position (including coach), can be taken from rookie to hall-of-famer across an entire generation of players, this means the potential for years worth of play for the dedicated and a lolly scramble of options for everyone else.
At times the sheer amount of things to do can be overwhelming, much like learning the ins-and-out of the game can be overwhelming for newcomers as well. But Madden 13 is very good at hand-holding new players and pointing them in the right direction to ease them into the game and the world that makes up the connected careers.
Madden 13 uses a new physics engine this time around called the infinity engine. Borrowing more than a little from Fifa’s Impact Engine, the Madden version means that plays and players behave much more lifelike then ever before. Sometimes this means seeing some truly unbelievable hits and bone-crunching tackles, but also means that some of the times things just look weird.
The Infinity Engine will surely be sharpened for next year’s version, but for now is a good new feature that adds, rather than subtracts from the overall package.
EA now has one of the most consistent and compelling stables in all of video gaming. With NHL, Fifa and now Madden regularly becoming even more perfect with each passing iteration, they have now created a dynasty on current-gen consoles. With Madden NFL 13, there’s never been a better time to throw on the virtual cleats and try your hand on the gridiron, you never know, you might just like it.
Developer: EA Sports