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!

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7 thoughts on “Madden 13 – The Midnight Release Review

Add yours

  1. Still cant believe there isnt a football game I can play with my buddy at the house on the same console!! absolutley ridiculous…how can EA sports get away with this kind of nonsense year after year, I hope they dont have a chance in hell to hold on to those rights once the contract is up. (FINGERS CROSSED)

  2. I have purchased Madden every year for more years than I would like to admit and I’m one who really enjoyed the franchise mode. If you are a player who has enjoyed the previous franchise modes then I cannot stress enough how upsetting this version of Madden is. In all the madden games I have bought I have always felt I got my moneys worth but sadly I believe this game will just be collecting dust while I play Madden 12 and hope EA makes a decent franchise mode next year. If you just usually play the online mode then I think you will likely enjoy this game.

  3. Cant believe madden sold out to online game play, It took a lot away from the real fans who deeply enjoy franchise modes. Now I can’t even bring my custom rosters into connected careers. Madden was on the right track last year with letting you edit players ( Football fans know that madden is suspect when it comes to player ratings and player equipment accessories I.E Peyton Hillis, Phelix Jones) because you can make your franchise mode very realistic.

  4. So, you CAN still edit players and create players, but only in exhibition right? I am a HUGE Exhibition player, call me “lame” or whatever you want to but, I just like playing exhibition mode more than anything, to each his own right? I play my dynasty mode in NCAA FB, but in Madden, it’s never been about a dynasty/franchise thing to me. I just like getting on there when I have friends over, play a quick game of exhibition or play an exhibition tournament or something. If I found out that you can still edit rosters and create players in the exhibition mode, I am still going to buy this game and be 100% happy with it because that’s all I ever do is create a player, fix up his gear, change the gear of some of my favorite players to what I like, and then play nothing but exhibition mode with my team. I wouldn’t even care if attributes couldn’t be edited in exhibition, but I just don’t see EA cutting off editing and creating players in the exhibition only mode. That’s all I want to know. So, if I buy the game, turn it on, can I still go to My Madden or whatever from the main menu, edit some gear on the guys on the team I play with, create a player, edit his gear and stuff, and then play with them in exhibition mode? Thanks for your response in advance.

  5. Connect careers would have been a good idea for superstar mode and online. But franchise mode has always been the meat and potatoes of madden in my opinion. Why? Because of the complete control you have over your own interpretation of the NFL. No matter if you were a die hard madden player or a just for fun player you could enjoy it the way u wanted to enjoy it. If u wanted your favorite player on a different team u could do it. If u wanted to make a player as talented as LT right out the gate u could. If u wanted to move your team to a different city or make your own team for your city u could do it. Bottom line no matter how you prefered to play to have fun u were pretty much able to do it. Connect Careers killed all of that. Now u are limited to what CC offers. If this is what the future in madden looks like. This will be my last madden game I buy and I am a true og since madden 92. And I am just one person but I am sure I am not the only one that feels this way.

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