VG Review: Madden 13
by David Lam (@DLam16)
2012 is a big year for EA Sports. With the highly-anticipated release of this year’s NBA Live and NHL games, EA Sports has much to live up to with Madden 13. As a Madden and NFL fan, I look forward to this franchise’s release each season, paralleling it with the NFL season. New games have their pros and cons, so let us break down Madden 13:
The folks at EA Sports have always strived to make Madden’s presentation as close to what you see on television as possible. This year, one of the major changes comes from the commentary team. Last year, EA brought in fan-favorite Gus Johnson, but also made fans bear with Cris Collinsworth. The issue with last year’s commentary was the fact that it was not fluid and fans were tired of the same recycled lines from Collinsworth year after year. There is only so much one person can bear to hear about how “tight ends are pacifiers for quarterbacks.”
This year, fans will be treated to the NFL on CBS color commentary duo of Phil Simms and Jim Natz. One of the things I liked most about this new change is that fans will be able to see both Simms and Natz in the booth prior to the start of the game. Going deeper into this aspect, both Simms’ and Natz’s pregame dialogues are synced with their mouth movements. This little feature reminds me a lot of how NFL 2k5 had Chris Berman hyping up gamers prior to kickoff.
When I watch football on television, I like to be entertained and educated at the same time, which is why the commentators are there, to provide insight to fans. One of the reasons I enjoyed Madden this year is because of how intelligent the commentary is. Though not as electric or enthusiastic as Gus Johnson when a big play happens, Natz and Sims do a great job keeping the commentary going without boring gamers.
ESPN Integration and HDR Lighting
Madden has been known for their purchase and partnership with ESPN, yet, this year I hardly see any integration of the worldwide sports network. This is a key feature that I felt should not have been left out. While it is something I would like to see Madden take more advantage of (like their NCAA counterpart), the CBS presentation style setup is enjoyable.
EA Sports adds in their new HDR lighting feature into Madden 13. With this integration, the graphics look much better, but where it shines the most is in instant replays and cut scenes. The HDR function really makes things pop, making players and their environment look extremely life-like.
Create your own player, play as a current player, play as a former legend, create a coach, play as a current coach, play as a former legendary coach, Madden 13 gives you the ability to play through the career(s) of whomever you want this year.
While the average gamer will say there is not much improvement for each year’s new Madden game, a true Madden or NFL fan will say the opposite. Madden 13 looks and feels like a completely revamped game compared to its predecessor. A new in-game feature EA Sports introduced for Madden 13 is their “total control passing.” This new feature was designed for gamers to be able and make passes that are more precise and accurate to receivers. While this is a cool, do not expect it to make Tim Tebow into Peyton Manning. Also, with Kinect you now have the ability to call plays using your voice.
The newest and most hyped up aspect of this year’s game is the physics engine. Madden producers added this engine in order to help end predetermined animations (i.e tackles, catches, etc.–predetermining how a play would end). Something I must say about this new feature is that it is not overrated. The physics engine runs extremely well with the new animations, and determines whether a player will be able to get that last inch of yard for a first down or if the defense will make a goal line stand on fourth down to save themselves from defeat. Given this is the first year EA incorporated this system into Madden, it still has things that can be fixed, but fans cannot expect pure perfection from the get-go.
With each new release, EA Sports proclaims, “This is the best Madden yet!” While not perfect, it is still very good and worth purchasing. With a new presentation rehaul, major changes to game play, and new game modes, EA has set the expectation bar very high for anything else they’ll release in years to come.
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars