Fantasy Drafts In Sports Games – Are We Really Missing That Much?

Now that the reviews are pouring in from publications and regular users all over the internet, we are looking at the comments that many of our readers are leaving.  Many of these comments are focused towards the lack of a Fantasy Draft or roster editing before starting Franchise Mode (what is now called Connected Careers).  For those of you that don’t know what Fantasy Drafts are, we will break it down for you now.

Fantasy Drafts essentially take every player off of every team and put them into a pool in which you will pick any of those player for your team of choice.  Every other team will follow suit in this 53-Round draft.  This has been in Madden for over a decade – until now.

The developers of Madden 13 have decided to remove the Fantasy Draft (as well as some other roster editing abilities for career modes).  While there are serious questions about roster editing, it is puzzling why so many people are angry about Fantasy Drafts from the aspect of longevity in career modes.  It isn’t because someone can’t have a long-lasting career mode with a fantasy draft, but more along the lines of trying to figure out how much of a challenge it is to build a team in a Fantasy Draft – in Madden no less.

When I was between the ages of 12 and 14 I was a big fan of being able to trade players between teams and make my own ‘all star’ or ‘fantasy’ team in Triple Play Baseball on Playstation One.  I would build a team to play against my friends and their ‘fantasy’ team in exhibition games.  Outside of that, I also built a team in the fantasy draft in Madden, years later.  When you could bring this fantasy drafted team into a Franchise Mode it made some people think that it would be the best thing that ever happened to the mode. 

While it seems there are a few people out there that prefer to run an offline franchise or online league with a fantasy draft – I have yet to personally finish a season with a fantasy team in any sports game (especially Madden).  There are a few reasons behind this, at least from my point of view. 

·         If you build a team of dominating all stars – where is the challenge?

·         Doing a fantasy draft for career modes often results in the user taking younger players with higher speed ratings (speed has always been the most important rating in Madden)

·         Knowing which players are on other teams involves going into the player management screen and scrolling through the players. 

·         Longevity of a fantasy drafted team in a career mode is something I have  yet to see go more than two seasons. 

That said, it remains that fantasy draft is gone with the wind and many people are stuck wondering why.  This is one of the more confusing situations that is happening across the board in Madden 13.  Between roster editing and importing draft classes and superstars from NCAA Football – a lot of users are left wondering if there is any part of career modes that will be left to their own customization or personal preferences.

The fact that EA Tiburon has tried to do something so vast with Connected Careers should make most people happy to see some sort of attempt to change from the same old and dry franchise and superstar modes. 

Where do you stand on fantasy drafts and other customization?  Are you among the group of people that hates everything about the changes or are you part of the faction that are happy to see some sort of originality, even at the initial cost of user customization?

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Madden 13 Sliders – Connected Career (Offline) v1.0

It is time for Madden 13… Here are some sliders to help you find your best settings.

Here is the first set of sliders for Madden 13 on Connected Career Mode (Offline)

*If these are too easy for you we will be releasing All-Madden Sliders soon!

Option Setting
Salary Cap ON
Skill Level ALL PRO
Quarter Length 12 Minutes
Acc Clock 15 Seconds
Game Speed Slow
Player Progress Weekly
Coach Firing ON
Game Play Tuning ON
Injury ON
Pre-Existing Injury ON
Trade Deadline ON
Trade Type Enable All
Auto Strafe OFF
Auto Sprint OFF
ALL CPU SETTINGS OFF
SLIDERS HUM/CPU
QB ACC 35/65
PASS BLOCKING 25/70
WR CATCH 55/55
BROKEN TACKLES 35/55
RUN BLOCKING 35/85
FUMBLES 25/60
PASS DEF REACT 50/50
INTERCEPTIONS 30/50
PASS RUSHING 10/45
RUSH DEF REACT 10/50
BLOCK SHEDDING 25/50
TACKLING 25/50
FG POWER 50
FG ACCURACY 45
PUNT POWER 50
PUNT ACCURACY 95
KO POWER 50
INJURIES 60
FATIGUE 60
MIN SPD THRESH 60
PENALTIES
OFFSIDES 85
FALSE START 57
HOLDING 50
FACE MASK 53
DPI 100
OPI 100
PUNT CATCH INT 100
CLIPPING 50
INT GROUND 85
RGH PASSER 51
RGH KICKER 94

Madden 13 – The Midnight Release Review

Looking for some last minute advice to help you make that release day or midnight launch decision for Madden 13?

Here it is –

You should buy this game if:

  1. You are a Madden fan
  2. You liked NFL Head Coach
  3. You want deep online leagues
  4. You want deeper offline career modes

You shouldn’t buy this game if:

  1. You prefer open player editing for career modes
  2. You prefer fantasy drafts
  3. You prefer to have Franchise Mode with people on the same console
  4. You don’t believe in performance on the field being a factor in progression or building XP

The Midnight Release Review – (yes, we have multiple reviews – more feedback and evolving reviews are better than one you read in a crappy magazine or website that doesn’t look at the game over an extended period of time)

The current grades for Madden 13 in terms of scholastic levels would be a B- or in the typical (just as subjective) ‘number’ grade it would be around an 8.3 out of 10.

The justifications for a review and score start with what was deducted and why.

Gameplay – The Infinity Engine

The Infinity Engine makes the game ‘look’ better in terms of players on the field having a wider range of motion and trying to trick your eye into not seeing the canned animations that are still there, but are more hidden due to the ‘rag doll’ effects of the new engine.  You will see players flopping and falling all over the place at times and on occasion it will make you laugh (at one point Eli Manning took a knee to end the half against my Browns and as my defense pushed through the line – the kneeling Manning looked like he got hit by a truck… no penalty was called.)

It still plays like Madden 12 if you discount the flailing.  As we stated in our earlier review of the game, it seems at times like players are running at eachother with numb arms at their sides and jumping into opposing players (and sometimes their own teammates).  If you try and picture the players up close drooling with lazy eyes it will make the game a bit more entertaining – at least for a few seconds.  (If you are saying or thinking “You’re wrong for that.”  I might be, but you can’t say I’m not honest.)

Customization – No Editing Players for Career Mode

This has been one of the most commented topics here on NTTV.  It is a fact that Madden 13 is extremely limited on editing players and rosters for career modes.  While EA has stated that they are considering the option of maybe patching this into the game, you shouldn’t hold your breath or grasp for hope and change when it comes to this – the bottom line is that EA Tiburon pushed this game in a new direction and had to leave some things behind to do that.  Customization is one of the things that I would think could be more of an on/off option but apparently they don’t see it that way and maybe my assumption is over-simplified.  (Programming isn’t often a matter of ‘turning something on or off‘.)  You can still edit players in exhibition mode but it won’t carry over to CCM (for now).

To go along with customization, you also won’t have the ability to run a fantasy draft for your connected careers.  It is unfortunate and somewhat confusing if you consider the fact that it doesn’t involve editing players and you can trade and pick up free agents in CCM.  My best guess is that it would screw up a lot of the commentary, storylines and twitter feeds if someone suddenly had a team with Peyton Manning, Trent Richardson and Ray Lewis.

Playing CCM With Friends On the Same Console

Perhaps the second most infuriating issue with our readers is the fact that you can’t have a league where you are competing with a friend, sibling or roommate on the same console.  This is one of the most confusing issues I have come across.  It really doesn’t make a lot of sense if you consider the fact that people have had this ability for years.  It follows the same lines of logic as player editing, but really – this is flat out ridiculous.  If you consider the release date of Madden you will see that it often coincides with the start of college classes and students returning to campus.  This is where most of my sports league gaming with friends happened back in the day and now it is gone.  To this, all I can say is that I hope you held on to Madden 12.

The Reasons You Should Buy This Game Today

Now that we have given you the reasons why this game had the deductions, we will further enlighten you with the reasons why this is one of the best Madden games ever released.  We have already given a couple reasons why this game is awesome.  If you want a few more reasons to buy Madden – here you go.

The Deepest Career Mode Ever

Madden has had a tough time over the past few years trying to push a better franchise mode.  Madden 12 was decent but it lacked logical CPU teams and it also lacked intelligent contractual negotiations.  This year they have gone above and beyond what they had in the past and that is the primary reason I chose to get this game with the Season Ticket… I had to see Connected Careers with my own eyes.

You will see storylines from college recruits that have had violations, injuries and even breakout seasons.  They will climb and fall on the draft boards and you will feel the pressure to find the diamonds in the rough and avoid the potential busts.  The scouting in this game will make you think more than Madden 12 did with simply picking a player and getting information given to you.  You will have to pay for information and if you want more specific scores you will have to pay more.

Players will want to negotiate extensions of their contracts through the year and you will have to make decent offers when you are given the chance, otherwise they will stop negotiating and test free agency.  It is yet another small detail that makes it stand far above Maddens of the past.  To go along with this new contract approach you will have to start determining how you want to build your team.  If you are creating a new coach and want to change the schemes and mindset of your team it will take time for you to find the right players and personnel that fit what you want to do.

If you decide to be a player you will have other things to worry about – namely, your player’s storyline and how he will progress throughout his career.  You will have to earn XP and put it into the right areas if you want to become a superstar in terms of OVR ratings and such.  The bottom line is that your performance will dictate almost everything.  If you come in and stink it up, it might be a quick career for your version of JaMarcus Russell.

Progression Is Based On Performance and Development Ability

Making your players better whether it is as a coach or as a single player will depend on two things.  You have to perform well on the practice field and in game situations when you get the chance.  Some people are obnoxiously pissed about this for some reason, thinking that ‘potential’ should be the sole factor in how a player progresses.  This is a common misconception that people make when they want to determine whether a game is being realistic (hopefully you can see the irony there).  If someone works a job and busts their hump to make their quotas and they go above and beyond whether they have good potential doesn’t matter.  The same goes for people or players (see JaMarcus Russell, Vince Young, Todd Marinovich, Vernon Gholston, the list goes on and on) that have all the talent and potential in the world and it goes to a waste due to laziness, purple drank or factors beyond their control).  This is why the development rating is so important.

Development will determine how much and how fast a player can gain XP.  If you want to increase this trait you will have to pay for it with, you guessed it – XP.  It isn’t like running for 500 yards every game on Rookie Difficulty will make it easier to get a player to some sort of inflated rating.  Well, in that extreme case – it might.  Either way, it will cost you 50,000 XP just to take someone from the ‘Quick’ Development Trait to ‘Superstar’.  If you consider the fact that it could take you an entire season (or two) to get that many points it suddenly becomes clear that some players might only progress to the mid-80s for an OVR, but the best part is that you will have groomed them on your own (if you want).  If you prefer the hands-off approach you can also set player progression to automatic and let them grow as the CPU sees fit.

The Infinity Engine

Yes, this was one of our downsides, but the fact of the matter is that this game looks so much better with players that move due to reaction to other people and objects.  That is after-all what physics pretty much revolves around.  You will see players moving in a slightly more realistic fashion (especially if you play with game speed set to slow or very slow).  You will also notice that momentum is a bit more prevalent in this game and you won’t be able to stop and move on a dime.  It will be more like stopping and moving on a… quarter.

That said – the game still plays like Madden.  You can move players without some sort of strange delay like on 2K football or something like that, so don’t get scared off when people talk about momentum and real time physics.  Also, you will notice that the big hits in Madden 13 look and feel bigger than any Madden during this console generation.  A lot of this has to do with the infinity engine and how the players react to different speeds of play and how they are positioned.

We will have more coverage of Madden 13 over the next days, weeks and months.  Hopefully this more detailed review will help you decide whether or not to go out and spend the $60 on Madden today or this week.

As always – Happy Gaming!

Madden 13 – What Makes This Game Amazing (Part 1)

We have been focusing a lot of attention on some of the primary gameplay and AI interactions in Madden 13 over the last 24 hours.  Now it is time for a couple quick reasons for you to look at Madden from the stand point of it simply being a great experience.

Don’t Skip The Intro Video

The first thing you usually do in a sports game is skip the introduction.  Usually it is some sort of random highlight collection from the sport you are waiting to play digitally.  You won’t want to skip over the one in Madden 13 when you first boot it up and maybe not ever.  It is that good and with that said, here it is for your enjoyment.

Connected Careers Storylines Don’t Just Involve Current NFL Players

As I started into the regular season with my Browns Coaching Connected Career I decided right away that Brandon Weeden wouldn’t be the starter for the long term and set my sights on the #1 Prospect out of Weeden’s alma mater – Oklahoma State’s Stephen Diaz.  I was excited about the prospect of going after what some were calling the next Andrew Luck, but then something happened when I advanced to Week 4.  There was a headline that said “Violation Issues” and I was thinking that I had misread the headline.  I hadn’t misread anything and now all of a sudden Diaz was no longer on scouting list and I was left wondering what the hell I could do to get the scouting points back that I had spent on him. 

It was a great feeling from the perspective of having a real living league…  for the first time ever you will really have some stories to pay attention to in Madden and trust me, you will want to make sure you diversify your scouting points to multiple players.  Just in case someone has an issue with violations.

Madden 13 Review – CPU AI and Decision Making

Sports games are always going to be destined for flack from the hardcore fanbase of each sport they represent.  It is the nature of the beast in many ways – today we will be taking a look at ‘the beast’ behind Madden 13 and the CPU AI and Decision Making (esp. Play Calling).

In Madden, the AI can either be non-existent or omniscient. There isn’t much of a middle ground and we hope to fix it the best we can with sliders. Otherwise you might face an AI that will simple say “No.”

Sliders Need To Be Adjusted

Playing Madden 13 on All Pro difficulty (second hardest to All-Madden) one of the first things you will notice is how easy it is to stop the CPU running game while you play defense.  It is really a combination of issues that starts with the problems with OLine and DLine interactions (aka- Blocking).  I was able to stop LeSean McCoy for a majority of the game with only a couple decent screen passes and one impressive 20 yard scamper.  Outside of that, it was easy to stop the CPU’s running attack.  I suggest moving the Human Sliders for Run Defense down to 35 or 40 if you wish to have a more realistic experience.  I will be working on an initial slider set in the near future, but it is something that must be done incrementally because one game doesn’t exhibit what will ‘always’ hold true.

Regarding CPU talent on offense, after playing the Bengals it was apparent that the CPU Passing Accuracy needed to be increased greatly as Andy Dalton struggled greatly through most of the game.  Once we got to the end of the game he somehow used his Ginger Ninja powers to complete a couple passes and lead an amazing drive.  Moving CPU Pass Accuracy to 75 and then reducing the Human and CPU Interception sliders to 35 should be a good start.

Comeback AI – The Reason You Have Broken Controllers

During my game against the Bengals I was enjoying a great defensive battle for almost the entire game.  I was holding a 17-9 lead with under 3 minutes left.  Andy Dalton had completed only 9 of 28 passes and was intercepted four times in the game.  He was terrible.  Then, almost as if the Peyton Manning DirectTV fairy came down and sprinkled ginger ninja pixie dust in his digital jock strap he came out of no where to complete crazy passes to Brandon Tate and his other targets with ease.  Not only was it strange that he was so accurate, but my defensive backs (who had played a great game up until this point) suddenly almost stopped playing and let a Bengals receiver get wide open 40+ yards down field.  The game came down to the Bengals attempting a 2-Point conversion – which is where our last section will take over.

CPU Decision Making – If your coach sucks in real life, just assume he is a cyborg programmed with EA’s Madden Play Calling Logic.

The Bengals, like the Eagles – had a hard time running against my Browns team all game long.  Then, finally when they scored their first touchdown and were within reach of tying the game because of a sudden magical ability to pass the ball – they decided to run it up the middle.

I stuffed the attempt and then recovered the ensuing onside kick.  It wasn’t the worst playcalling, but it goes to show that some of the logic that you would like to see in sports games is still missing.  This isn’t only in Madden either – you can see it in almost every baseball game as well as basketball games that put in confusing line-ups at the end of a game.

Madden 13 is a solid game, but it still suffers from some of the same issues that have become a legacy with this game.  We are hopeful to see some of these things alleviated through tuner updates and slider settings.  Stay tuned for our slider set in the coming week.  Keep in mind that the sliders will change throughout the year.

Madden 13 – Initial Review (Gameplay and Connected Careers Coach Mode)

It plays like Madden.  Don’t come into Madden 13 and expect the new infinity engine to blow your mind with some sort of interaction that would make you mistake it for real-life.  It won’t do that – yet, but it is on the right path.

GAMEPLAY

Madden 13 feels a lot like Madden 12 in regards to overall player movement and feel.  You will notice a bit more momentum for players as you try to change directions in Madden 13, but it isn’t enough to make anyone notice.  EA has always had to keep the crisp controls in Madden for people that want immediate player movement rather than some sort of true momentum (like 2K football) – again, Madden 13 still feels like Madden from the ‘controlling players’ perspective.

The infinity engine is obviously in a very early stage in its retail life as Madden 13 is the first game it has come out for.  There are still some weird looking rag-doll effects that happen on occasion and it often seems like players don’t really have arms as they just collide into eachother for an apparent tackle.  This is something that I expected with the new physics engine this year and I will let some of it slide, but there needs to be a bit of clean-up in the upcoming patch.

In terms of in-game injuries you will most likely want to turn the injury slider up to around 60 as it gives you just enough to make it realistic and keep you on your toes (I lost Brandon Weeden to a dislocated knee in Week 1 but also managed to smack DeSean Jackson and break his ribs for a nice 2 Week absense).  You will notice that many of these injuries don’t really follow the physics, so keep in mind that many of them are random.

It is still relatively easy to stop the CPU running game as they just seem over-matched at the line and a little too easy to bring down if they do get past the line of scrimmage.  The CPU passing game is better than Madden 12 but it could use some help from an AI logic perspective as the CPU still throws short passes when it needs 8+ yards, etc.

Penalties are still a crapshoot.  It seems that EA doesn’t really know how to implement them in the game without them either being too touchy or non-existent.  Roughing the Passer (when turned up to 65) will give you some of the worst Roughing the Passer flags ever.  Outside of that you will also rarely see pass interference, offsides or false starts.

CONNECTED CAREERS (COACH MODE)

Coach Mode feels a lot like NFL Head Coach.  If you never played Head Coach you should simply think of it as a much deeper Franchise Mode that gives you a more personal feel for the game.  Some of the trade logic is still a little wonky as I was able to Trade Colt McCoy and a 4th Rd Pick to the Raiders for Terrelle Pryor.  Whether that was an even trade or not I don’t know but it felt suspect when they accepted it.

Another nice touch is putting players on the Trade Block.  You will see offers on the front page of your tasks and get to weigh the options you have as far as trades go.  When it comes down to logic with the CPU there aren’t nearly as many strange cuts during the pre-season and you will see some surprises by the time you get halfway through the pre-season as far as who gets cut from CPU teams.

Scouting for the draft is a much more intricate experience as you will really need to develop a knowledge of the players rather than picking them randomly throughout the year.  You have a certain amount of points and depending on what type of information you want on the designated player it could cost you a bit of points.  This is by far one of the more interesting and fun aspects of Madden’s Connected Careers (Coach Mode).

THE EARLY VERDICT

This is probably the biggest jump Madden has made in the past seven years.  The Infinity Engine is nice enough, but where this game really gets its mojo is in Connected Careers and the depth that hasn’t been in a Madden game – maybe ever.

This game falls just short of a ‘must buy’ at this moment but if the correct fixes are put in for a patch it will be a serious contender for best sports game of the year.

By The Numbers

Gameplay – 7.5/10 – There is still a lot to be desired from the infinity engine as you will see in some of our videos.  The game still plays much like its predecessors in almost every regard, but it is still lacking in player interactions.  This is something that must be addressed in Madden 14.  On top of direct gameplay and controller interaction – it is vital that penalties get overhauled as well.

CCM (Coach) – 9/10 – Almost everything you could want in this mode.  The only thing that is really missing?… player morale.  While players will refuse to sign a contract with your team there still isn’t a decent interaction going on between the players and coaches.  You will however be pleased with the depth in this mode as it truly opens up player development with the XP System and then the new draft interface… it is safe to say that you will be happy if you love Franchise Mode and decide to buy Madden 13.

 

OVERALL – 8.5/10 

There are still many facets of this game that we need to look at more in-depth, but it is a safe bet that if you need a football fix this year and you love the NFL – get this game.  It is hands down, the best Madden ever, but that doesn’t mean we don’t expect more.  I could easily see this game finishing close to 9/10 if it proves to be a somewhat enjoyable experience online.

Keep checking back with NoobTubeTV for more updates on Madden 13!

Madden 13 Review Coming Soon

As it happens, EA Sports is allowing XBox Live and Playstation Network users to play their sports games early.  It is in this spirit that we are going to try and help you decide whether or not to buy or pre-order Madden 13.  You will still have ample time to make an informed decision before the game is released on August 28.

To call it a review is a misnomer – we will be featuring a series of reviews over the next few days that will cover everything from gameplay to specific modes and even the online experience.  If you have any questions or requests please post them in our comments section or hit us up on Twitter – @NoobTubeTV. 

Stay tuned to NoobTubeTV for reviews and updates on everything Madden 13 over the next few days.

For a full run-down of how we review games please check out our R.E.A.L.© Reviews  section for a description.

Click The Picture Below to Pre-Order Madden 13 from Amazon!

All Madden 13 Player Ratings (On-Disc Roster)

EA Sports has released the full roster of players and their ratings for Madden 13.  Some players like Terrell Owens, Jeff Demps  and Josh Gordon are missing (among others) strictly because their signings and other moves weren’t available before Madden 13 was finalized for release.

You will have to download the updated roster if you want these other players on your game.

CLICK HERE FOR THE RATINGS!  (Make sure you can open Excel files, as this is in spreadsheet form)

If you want to find a certain player without scrolling – use the “CTRL+F” command to bring up the ‘Find’ Function and type in the name you are looking for.

Happy Gaming!

Sim Sports Gaming Vs. Casual Sports Gaming (Remember The Titans)

We have been focusing on Madden 13 and football gaming quite a bit over the last few months.  One of our more recent articles was about the complete subjectivity in what makes someone a “Sim” sports gamer.  After considering my own personal views and then looking at my own advise to the NTTV community (…have a good time and play the game however the hell you want to…) I was left to wonder what the other people within the sports gaming community thought about this rather trivial but somehow vital prescription for how games should play and be played.

The ultimate showdown between the Casual Sports Gamer and The ‘Sim’ Nazi… Where do you stand?

it was at that point that I came across this post on operationsports.com from community member, Big FN Deal

…I will suggest this again, for all the good it will likely do. We are all aware that the game is not tuned for optimal realism, it is tuned for a “fun”/realism balance. So they should release two separate optional tuner sets, one “balanced” for casual Madden play, the other for the “hardcore” tuned for optimal realism. …” (click the link for the full post)

What made my mind explode was the mention of the word ‘FUN’. In case you don’t remember what that is; it was that thing you used to do when you were younger and playing games that made you laugh and enjoy the moment because you were just having a good time.  You wanted to smile your way through whatever happened and breath in that fresh air of innocence.

Then something happened… you can’t pin-point it, but chances are good that it happened when you started playing high school sports and the coaches started screaming at you and you thought every moment was live or die.  You stopped wanting to have fun and just wanted raw, unadulterated, anger inducing competition.  You stopped smiling.  You stopped playing the game for fun.  It became a chore to even go home and relax with a game of Madden football because there is NO WAY someone can rocket catch in real life!

The Definitive Movie Reference

This clip can be viewed from a two sports gamer perspectives/comparisons…

1- Casual Gamers That Play For Fun (The Players) VS. Sim Gamers That Play Strictly For Realism (Coach Boone)

or

2- Madden Fanboys (The Players) VS. 2K Fanboys (Coach Boone)

Hopefully you are laughing at this point, because you are supposed to be… if you are angry, that is okay too.  Just remember to think back to when you used to have fun.  Once upon a time when there was no such thing as a ‘patch’ for the 100-Yard pass in Tecmo Super Bowl.

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