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!

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14 thoughts on “Madden 13 – Initial Review (Gameplay and Connected Careers Coach Mode)

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  1. Best honest review. I also read that Connected Careers as far as the coach side of it, doesnt really draw you in. Like is it deep enough that you feel like your in own football world? Is their continuty in the commentary about your seasons as they progress? Without that, I can’t see myself buying it. only renting.

  2. I have only played about 5 weeks into the season. The commentary during the game doesn’t really seem to follow a player like you seem to want it to – however – I must say that I feel like I am in my own football world with all of the news updates and twitter.

    I believe you and I have the same dreams for where we want this mode to be and to eventually end up (dynamic commentary being one of the big ones). I think you would love this game and renting it might be a great idea. Otherwise, I would say try to find it used.

  3. I’m still just super disappointed that the ability to have 2 teams in a franchise (or even 2 players playing one team together) is gone. My roommate and I play through ncaa with two created players then import ourselves into the draft on the same team and then dominate madden together while drinking alot, and now if we decide to do that we need two consoles, two copies, and have to play separate teams online just to be able to compete with each other inside the same apartment. I’m really excited about the new CCM mode though and the depth/rpg-like aspects it seems to offer and will probably still buy it with the hopes it will tide me over until madden 14 (where this will hopefully be fixed)

    1. I totally understand where you are coming from with the disappointment. Personally, I am enjoying this Madden more than any I have ever played. However, if you are looking for something to play with friends on the same console you might want to stick with Madden 12 with our updated rosters.

  4. Very nice review. I’m still on the fence but think I am leaning toward getting it if I can get some long distance pals to get it as well. I love the idea of playing as one player and the others can play as the entire team(coach) if they want. Me, I’ve been playing FB games since 1994 and 2k5 is still my all time fav , I need something more…but this one has a good chance to dethrown because of the way it gets people to play together. But I know what solo and online Dynasty is, and it is old news. I hope it works out with Connected Careers. I am curious to know if the commentary when playing as a created person only if you feel like you are apart of the game. In past Maddens it was like you were by yourself when it came to audio and presentation. Made you feel alienated and boring…hard to explain. 🙂

  5. the gameplay is much improved but that NEEDS to be fixed. My favorite thing is to adjust some of the nfl players to the was I see them, but mostly to create a few of my friends and I and put them on the free agency list and see what teams pick them up and how they do throughout the franchise

  6. Under “My Madden” in the main menu you can creat guys and put them on teams…but that might just be for exhibition. Maybe you could start a career as your buddy and then reitire from him and create another guy…not sure if the prvious guy remains or just disappears…I think it would be cool if he remained.

  7. wish I could take the game back, I like to spectate in franchise mode, I could care less about game play, this game ruined my year, it offers me nothing I like.

  8. Comments by a casual madden player:

    I’m very disappointed in the new franchise mode. I’m not a Madden “stick jockey” who likes to be the QB…I’m terrible at picking the receivers during games and make no bones about it. I liked to play with “coach” mode when playing in the career franchise mode to let the QBs do their job on the field after I selected the plays. So now in connected careers you MUST play as the QB and select the receivers on every play in regular games, and to make things even better if you want your coach not to fall behind the power curve compared to the other coaches you also must play practice games where, you guessed it, you must play as the QB yet again.

    In my view the whole connected careers coach mode is something of a death march of practices and has lost practically all of its strategic management appeal. My first weekend of it I found myself slogging through it just to see if the experience would improve…. I’ve yet to reach that aha moment where I start to have fun…

    I don’t mind the functional changes in all of the other areas… Yes they are different, but not essentially so, and playing the game on the field is not changed significantly. However with no “coach” mode option available in career mode the game comes across as is not much more than enforced Madden boot camp…

    After trying really really hard to like this game, I must say my experience this is a is one weekend and done game, The Stick jockeys have taken over. If you are like me and don’t want to have to control the QB on every down, stay with Madden 12, don’t waste your money. The career mode in this game has been re-focused on the hardcore stick jockeys…casual players need not apply..

  9. Thanks Jacob 1234, this is exactly the kind of info I needed and will save my £40. Madden 12 started out a little whack too, but various updates later and I was finally able to stop playing 11, although 11 still has the most outstanding vibe and atmosphere. Spectate for me is the best part of Madden, apart from being able to pick multiple teams in Franchise mode (which made getting the players you really wanted on your main team real easy). It’s the only thing I hate about Fifa. When in manager mode, One should not have to play every bloomin game. It should be all about tactics and strategy and being able to watch games when you want to and play if you feel like it. Unless there’s a patch to allow editing and spectate. I’m waiting on 14 when they realise the error of their ways. Flexibility is fundamental. Play if you want to. Watch if you want to. Shape the game as required. That’s how you maximise revenue.

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