Madden 15 – How To Keep CFM Fresh Until The Next Release

As much as I find it easy to troll EA and Tiburon for their annual cloneware – Madden 15 was the best Madden to date.  That said, it still gets to me that they don’t update rosters after the Super Bowl.  This has left many users to create roster updates and even add newly drafted players to teams in order to replicate what is happening in the league as far as rosters go.

madden-nfl-15-screen-19png-e0e9e8

If you have followed NoobTubeTV over the last few years you will know that I almost exclusively play Offline Connected Franchise Mode.  Moreover, you will know that I almost always use my Cleveland Browns.  Even after finding the perfect sliders and gameplay tweaks CFM will get rather boring after a few seasons.

It is incredibly easy to build up a team into a juggernaut.  You simply need to invest in players that are between 20-26 years old that fit your play-style and keep them to minimum contracts until they are 30.  It is a widely known fact that EA has told Madden gamers that players will start to decline once they hit that age threshold.  Knowing how easy it is to relatively deal with the age issues of players and dominate with your team after a season or two of development it won’t be much of a shock to hear about people trading Madden in while they can still get some decent credit for it or simply leave it on the shelf to collect dust.  Here are a few tips on how to keep your CFM fresh.

  1. Max Contacts – Figure out your favorite players on Offense and Defense and make them fixtures on your team for the rest of their career.  In my case I had to choose between Josh Gordon and Johnny Manziel.  Both players were 99 OVR by the time I got to the 2016 season and I decided to sign Johnny for the biggest amount of money and years (I believe it was 7 years, $140 million).  This will help make your salary cap management a bit tougher as you choose who to build your team around.
  2. Don’t Scout Draft Prospects – It really is this simple.  Don’t scout a single prospect during the season and you will quickly realize that what was once an incredibly easy draft process is more like real-life.  It will become more of a lottery system for your team and you won’t be able to find those ‘not so hidden’ gems in later rounds.
  3. Give The CPU More In Trades – It seems that trade logic in sports games has decided to take a nose-dive in realism.  NBA 2K actually has a trade difficulty slider (Madden needs this in the worst way!).  Do not shirk the CPU for their Draft Picks or certain players you know are franchise quality.
  4. One Draft Pick Per Round (At most) – It is far too easy (as stated in #3) to load up on 10-15 draft picks every season.  Make it a personal rule that you will not have more than one pick per round for every draft.  This will prevent you from pwning the draft year-in, year-out.  Madden has some of the dumbest draft logic in all of sports gaming, so don’t act like you really have to worry about the CPU.
  5. Coach Mode – This is something I have yet to do myself.  Simply call the plays for your team, snap the ball and let the AI take care of the rest.  This will make you look at your players in a different light and might even change the way you build your team.

Madden 15 – The Most Pivotal Madden To Date

As we get closer to the release of Madden 15 it is becoming evident that the PS4/XBone version of the title might be the best evidence of what to expect in the coming console generation as far as Madden games are concerned.

Dick Sherman Doing What He Does Best... Opening his big mouth.
Dick Sherman Doing What He Does Best… Opening his big mouth.

With the 360/PS3 versions of Madden 06 through 09 basically being a throw-away after EA obtained the exclusive license to produce and distribute NFL games it seemed like we’d see real changes once Madden 10 arrived.  Thankfully, we did see some pretty nice changes through the effort of Ian Cummings and company.  A couple years later, Cummings was gone and Madden fell back into the rut of limited progress.

Madden 25 was a solid title that still suffered from the played out animations and terrible AI in many areas of the game.  It became evident that some sort of real change was necessary.  The last time Madden saw any sort of direction to make it a truly ground-breaking experience was in Madden 2005 with the hit stick and a focus on defense.  It helped to limit what Madden had started to become with the advent of tournament style play that nearly gutted the simulation style that Madden NFL was always supposed to be.

Madden 15 is finally bringing back what has been missing for almost ten years.  The focus on defense (even with the obnoxious Dick Sherman on the cover) is something that is more welcome than most simulation football fans can say.  Couple that with the news that wind in the game has been fixed and will even move the aiming direction during field goals, new catch animations, better variety in QB throwing, etc.  You actually might see a game worth getting excited about.

Why is Madden 15 the most pivotal version of Madden to date?

Because with the new additions and polish put on the PS4/XBone it seems like the Madden developers are finally trying to make it into a real simulation of NFL Football.

As for how realistic the Connected Franchise Mode might be?  We will have to wait and see.  Keep checking back on NoobTubeTV.com as there will be further updates and reactions to a very busy August-December in gaming.

Madden 25 – Choosing A Team In Connected Franchise Mode

Now that we are about six weeks into the NFL Regular Season there are many surprises in the league as far as performance and records go.  There are already many teams vying for the #1 pick in the 2014 NFL Draft while others are suddenly looking like they think they can make a surprise playoff run.  Here is a list of some teams you might want to consider using in Connected Franchise Mode with some ideas of how to build them to success.

Obviously Bad Teams

JagsThe Jaguars are among the worst teams in the NFL and we knew this before the season started.  Given the fact that their Quarterback situation is almost laughable.  When running this team it might be wise to create a new owner as well (unless you want to be the Wario look-a-like Shahid ‘Shao’ Khan.  Also, taking it upon yourself to look into trading Maurice Jones-Drew for a potential draft pick might be something to consider if throwing away the season is on your possibility list.  Another action to consider for a fun storyline would be signing Tim Tebow and trying to save the franchise in Jacksonville.  Otherwise, moving the team to Los Angeles might be the absolute best idea… even if EA doesn’t do much to make it worthwhile to move a team other than strictly in being in a new city.

BucsTampa Bay is in desperate need for an overhaul in how their team is run.  If that means you go through a season with Greg Schiano leading the way with his faux-military take no prisoners style or possibly just creating yourself as an intelligent player’s coach – the choice is yours.  With the departure of Josh Freeman there is a possible storyline to go with in using rookie QB, Mike Glennon and having him lead the Bucs to success.  Otherwise, you might want to start looking into the potential for getting someone in the draft or free agency.  You will have a decent base of skill players to use with Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams at WR on top of having the ‘muscle hamster’ Doug Martin at HB.  Tampa Bay isn’t a terrible team, but they could use some serious help and changes – starting at the top.

Surprisingly Bad Teams

SteelersThis team has been a perennial contender for the last decade and they are starting to show their age… not to mention some serious holes in personnel.  When they lost their starting Center in Pouncey it looked bad.  Now that the season has started and they have no real answer at HB, WR, OL, LB or DB it is looking like they might need more work than anyone ever thought.  Maybe it is because they play in what used to be a two-team division and they are simply falling behind the other teams.  Either way it goes, the Steelers are a team that could potentially use a huge front office change and maybe a new face for the franchise if Big Ben proves to be declining as much as he seems to be.  Do yourself a favor and revamp the O-Line before you do anything.  Try to sign a true #1 WR and hope that the defense can pick it up.  The potential for a fun rebuild is there in using the Steelers – and suddenly it isn’t so surprising.

GmenThe Giants are in trouble.  This is a team that just a few years ago won two Super Bowls.  Now they are looking similar to the Steelers in almost every way.  The Giants have started to look like an aging team and Eli Manning is starting to look like the player he was early in his career throwing INTs like they are going out of style.  This compounded by the fact that they are a team without a true HB threat.  Bringing back Brandon Jacobs was surprising after he had been released by the team rather recently.  Their defense was once one of the most feared in the league and now it has more holes than a block of swiss cheese.  Taking over ownership of this team could be a lot of fun if you want to get rid of Manning and start fresh.  Although, that could be a long road ahead.

 

Surprisingly Decent Teams

BrownsCleveland is a team that looked like they were destined to go 0-16 after two weeks and suddenly they are tied for first place in the AFC North.  While they are a team on the rise, they are also a team without a true answer at QB or HB.  While Josh Gordon seems to be a legitimate threat to be a Top-10 WR in the league and Jordan Cameron is one of the better TEs this season the Browns need some serious help in offensive skill positions.  On defense, the Browns are among the best in the NFL and this is largely due to the aggressive approach they have taken under Defensive Coordinator, Ray Horton.  You might want to look into getting some help for Joe Haden on the other side of the field at #2 CB.  Otherwise, this is a team that simply needs a couple pieces before they become a true contender.

ChiefsKansas City is starting to look like a serious contender with new coach, Andy Reid.  If you were to take this team to a 5-0 record in your first season in Madden it suddenly isn’t too far-fetched.  However, this doesn’t mean that they are a perfect team that doesn’t need any help.  They have some good pieces to play with in Jamaal Charles, Dwayne Bowe and even Alex Smith at QB.  This goes with a defense that is rather dangerous and can hold their own against virtually any team in the league.  It could be fun to take over the Chiefs and make some moves to make this a team to compete with the Broncos for the AFC West.

Madden 25 Connected Franchise Mode – Don’t Settle For Anything!

After Madden 25 announced a recent Gamestop promo for ‘Connected Franchise Mode’ and an article surfaced on Bleacher Report talking about the supposedly tweaked Connected Careers Mode; there seems to be a lot of work for us to do in order to make Madden better instead of simply allowing EA Tiburon to give us old features and call them ‘new’.

There is a poll on the Brian Mazique article asking if editing rosters, fantasy drafts and controlling every team are enough to make you completely satisfied.  These aren’t new features!  Madden 12 had every single ‘feature’ they are trying to re-implement into a mode that essentially disallowed them.  While these features are a must and will only add more depth to the game they by no means should satiate your desire for a better football game.

Reyna BOOM

Some of the (many) additions Franchise Mode needs in order to mimic the real NFL are below:

  • Player Morale – Player morale was in Madden 2005 and has been in the NBA 2K series for years.  If there is one thing that Madden lacks in terms of bringing life into the players it is morale and mood when it comes to the actual players.
  • Free Agent/UDFA Signings – Madden seems to think that free agency is something that allows a team to go and simply sign anyone they want if they aren’t on a team.  After this weekend’s draft there were many players that were picked up just seconds after it was over.  These players don’t simply go to the first time that calls, they weigh their options and choose.  Some players have no desire to play for a team that has too much depth or a team that simply doesn’t win.  Madden needs to make this more realistic and that starts with a more true-to-life free agency.
  • Storylines – The addition of storylines for some of the draft prospects in Madden 13 was awesome.  It was a nice way to give some of the players in the draft a personal touch.  The downfall is that their stories all seemed to stop once they were drafted.  The commentary doesn’t follow any of them and the updates on the ‘news feed’ seem to leave any of those stories high and dry.  Continuity is something that Madden’s career modes always seem to lack and while it will take some work to fully implement – it will be worth it.
  • Fan Bases – Some teams sell out almost every game.  Some stadiums are lucky to be at 50% capacity.  Somehow, almost every game in Madden is a sell out according to the stands.  While some games have low attendance due to weather it doesn’t seem to matter what is going on in a given city for a game to be sold out.  I can promise you one thing, if the Browns ever host an AFC Championship Game and it is snowing like crazy… the stands will be FULL.  On the other hand, if the Bengals are playing a game in the middle of the season at home and they are 2-7, they will be lucky to have any ‘fans’ show up.  The NFL is nothing without the fans and that needs to be made apparent in Franchise Mode.
  • Team Movement – While this poses some sort of strange issues with licensing, etc. there were some serious shortcomings when Madden allowed you to move a team to a new city.  Outside of the issues listed in the fan base section, you couldn’t keep the team logo and there wasn’t any real support for the gamer to create a team in a new city because the commentary was terrible and franchise mode lost its luster.  If you look at the fact that many teams are looking to move to new cities because of stadium issues or simply for more money it is something that will be happening soon and should be given the proper attention in the game.
  • Injuries – Madden finally put in some sort of real-time physics last year with the Infinity Engine.  The downfall was evident in many areas but injuries are one of the most obvious.  As much as the NFL wants to censor Madden and try to convince people that it isn’t a violent sport – football is a violent sport and that is why we like it!  Real time injuries need to be in the game and big hits need to matter.  It makes no sense for my 6’4″ 260lb MLB to have a random injury when he crushes Joe Flacco or Mike Vick in the backfield and they get up like nothing happened.  Fix the injury system… please.
  • Player Progression – While I have always been a proponent of performance based progression I do not like how Madden 13 allowed the user to simply accumulate points by stats and put them where ever we wanted to in each player.  Abilities should progress as the player uses them and performs them.  How can a strength rating go up randomly or just because we decide we want it to?  Follow the lead of MLB The Show and let the user have the option to determine what areas players will work on in a given week or set it to auto and let the coaching tendencies determine it.
  • Player Value – After Joe Flacco won the Super Bowl he got a healthy contract renewal.  I drafted a QB in my Browns CCM, Mark Mallett… He has thrown for over 4500 yards and 35 TDs in his first three seasons.  He then won a Super Bowl in 2015 and is up for a new contract offer from our front office.  His OVR is 84 but his abilities have been growing with his performance.  His contract demands?… 5 Years, $4.6 Million per year.  There is no thinking about this from my perspective – Mallett is never going to ask for the money he deserves and that is sad.  Players with great speed or players we like using are typically going for crazy statistics in our Franchise Mode.  We should have to pay a premium price to keep them around if that is the case.  Player value shouldn’t be determined by OVR but by performance and that should make it harder for teams to sign players they want to abuse the other teams with and keep them forever.

We will continue our efforts to make Madden a better game and you shouldn’t let EA get away with calling old parts of the game ‘new features’.  What are your thoughts?  What is Madden missing the most in Franchise Mode?

Trying To Bring Life Back Into Madden 13 – Updating Rosters

Now that off-season free agency has started and many of the stars have realigned throughout the NFL (with plenty of time left for more movement) there are many Madden fans left wondering why they should bother playing the game now that EA’s roster updates have been over for a month.

Your Madden 13 isn't quite dead yet.
Your Madden 13 isn’t quite dead yet.

I am happy to announce that there is a simple home remedy that I will be undertaking as we get closer to the draft – updating rosters manually.  This is a substantial undertaking as Madden isn’t always the most end-user friendly game for roster editing.  I did a similar service for Madden 12.  While the XBox 360 is horrible for simple save transfers, here is a link to the NTTV post back in August that should help you out.

The rosters will be updated to the best of my ability to follow along with the busy free agent season.  There will need to be some testing for how these might work in CCM.  If you would like to assist with any roster moves please leave comments or like us on Facebook and post your suggestions!

If anyone would like these updates to be done for Madden 13 on PS3 you might have to donate a game to the cause as I have a PS3 but do not have Madden 13 for the console.

The Best of The Worst – Teams to Turn Around In Sports Gaming

Now that we are well over half-way through the NFL season and the NBA season has already put some fans in the mind of ‘maybe next year’ there are quite a few teams to choose from when it comes to wanting a challenge or simply some sort of revival story to build a team around in a sports game.

Madden 13 –

Kansas City – Romeo Crennel has made Brady Quinn the starting QB in KC.  Can you take this team of terribad from laughing stock to the playoffs?  You will have plenty of youth to build around such as Eric Berry, Jamaal Charles, Dwayne Bowe and even Glenn Dorsey.  Your first goal should be finding a decent QB to help this team achieve greatness.

Cleveland – The Browns are a perennial sad sack.  While this is a team that has consistently under-performed there are multiple ways for you to take Cleveland to the next level.  There are a lot of great young players on this team, but you will need to make a quick decision on whether to keep Brandon Weeden or move on in one of the upcoming drafts.

Arizona – Once again, you are getting ready to take a team that needs a QB answer (and fast)… see a theme here?  The Cardinals have a couple decent players to build around, but you will have to take your time and figure out how to answer some tough questions – including whether or not you want to keep Larry Fitzgerald around if you don’t have a QB to throw him the ball.  That could result in a lot of decent trade offers if you decide to put him on the trade  block as well.  While it may sound crazy, it is something to consider.

New York Jets – The Jets are a mess.  One of the best things that could happen to this team is to get rid of their QBs… all of them.  Then make a few decisions about how you want to build this franchise from the ground up.  There are some players like Stephen Hill at WR that could be nice projects to build around, but then you have players like Darrelle Revis, Santonio Holmes and Shonn Greene that could be moved for draft picks so that you can build a team made to last rather than a team built to make headlines for publicity stunts (see Tim Tebow).

Jacksonville – More than just a team that has no real talent, they are constantly a threat to be moved to Los Angeles.  Since EA Tiburon took the option to move your team to another city out of the game (they enjoy taking features away) you have to make moves and stay in Jacksonville to make this team better.  If you win three games in your first season you can consider it a somewhat successful year.  Get a new QB, trade away MJD and do your best to find some talent for this team that seems to be the biggest laughing stock of the NFL.

Carolina – The Panthers are one of the few teams on this list that have a QB in Cam Newton.  On the other hand, they have a lot of other places on their team that need vast improvement.  While they have a great MLB in Luke Kuechly they are pretty much limited to having just those players to build around.  Make use of the trade block and build this team around future picks that you can get from trading away players like DeAngelo Williams, Steve Smith, Jonathan Stewart, Chris Gamble and any other player you can do without.

Dallas – Talk about a team that makes you scratch your head.  The Cowboys are consistently picked to be a playoff team but in the end it is their egotistical owner that really makes the worst decisions for the future of this team.  Make a new story for the Cowboys that will allow them to make smart personnel decisions.  This means getting rid of the most overrated QB in the NFL – Tony Romo.  Also, you may want to consider getting what you can for DeMarcus Ware.

Oakland – The first step in this team growing was the death of the Crypt Keeper, Al Davis.  The next step is building this franchise to be more than glorified Speed Ratings.  Make a decision on how you want to build the offense and defense – that means possibly taking a chance on Terrelle Pryor or going in a totally new direction.  Then start building the defense into something to be feared like it was in the 1970s.

 

NBA 2K13 –

Cleveland – The Cavs are a young team that has a cornerstone in Kyrie Irving but that isn’t enough as they need to work on getting this talent to be more than potential prospects.  They need to grow up fast and that could mean a lot of work for you in Association Mode.

Washington – The Wizards are laughingly bad.  Sure, John Wall is amazing – but really they are flatout awful.  Get ready to trade a lot of your best players like Okafor just to get some prospects.

Detroit – Only a few years ago the Pistons were powerful and feared.  Now they are hilarious to watch on the court.  They look more like a team getting ready to face the Globetrotters than an NBA team at times.  This is a team built around unwanted journeymen and bad trades.  It will take you a few seasons to turn them around – but it will be worth it.

Sacramento – Considering the fact that the Maloofs are looking to move this team to Las Vegas, you can tell that they are in need for some improvement.  The Kings were once one of the best teams in the west, but now they are often forgotten when people talk about NBA teams.  I forget they exist half of the time.  I call them the Wizards of the west.

New Orleans – This team got the equivalent of a bailout from the NBA.  Chris Paul said bye-bye and now they are being built around the unibrow of Anthony Davis.  New Orleans needs more than yet another Kentucky product with an IQ less than his scoring average to turn this team around.

Orlando – Dwight Howard is gone.  This move was similar to that of LeBron James leaving Cleveland.  How will you bring the magic back to Orlando?

 

MLB 12 –

Cleveland – Talk about a team with a chance to make big strides with a new manager.  Terry Francona is the new skipper and you will have to make a few moves to bring some pitching and power to this lineup.

Houston – Do something… anything.  Even if it means creating a steroid infused Roger Clemens to come back and pitch this team to at least 20 wins.  It is a bad time to be an Astros fan, but now that they are moving to the American League it could make for a fun journey… albeit – a long and tough one.

Colorado – They made an incredible run a few years ago, but this team needs pitching in the worst way.  Take it upon yourself to manage the thin air and find a way to make Denver cheer for a team not called the Broncos.

Miami – They just fired Ozzie Guillen and now they are selling off their players.  This is a team that will take a lot of patience to build into more than a one-year wonder.  Do it the right way and you will have something to be proud of in the end.

Pittsburgh – This team was on the cusp of making the playoffs in 2012.  Take the power in the steel city and bring this team back to their past glory.  They have a great ballpark and with players like McCutchen to build around it could be a lot of fun.

Oakland – One of my favorite movies of the last few years was Moneyball.  Billy Beane took a chance in using stats and fantasy baseball type of projections to build his team.  Take it to the next step and help them win it all.

Seattle – My favorite player of all-time is Ken Griffey Jr.  When I saw him go back to Seattle to finish his career it was bitter-sweet.  I would love to see this team be more than just a great pitcher like Felix Henandez – they need better players and that starts with you making the moves to bring the talent back to Seattle.

NHL 13 –

Who cares?  The NHL season is dead and the sport of hockey on its way out of almost every person’s consciousness.

Pick any team you want – but the best of the worst would be the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Building A Team In Madden 13 – More Than Just ‘Overall’ Ratings

Now that Madden 13 finally has the patches needed to make it a truly complete game we can start talking more about how to approach different modes.  In the case of Connected Careers Mode there are numerous ways to approach how to build your team as a coach.

Building your team starts with getting the right pieces in place.

I started a career with the Kansas City Chiefs and somehow took them to a Super Bowl victory with Romeo Crennel in my single player Online Franchise ‘Romeo’s Thinkin’ Arbys’.  After winning the big game in my first season I wanted to move on with a new coach in a new (and more challenging) situation.  Naturally, I went with the Browns and started my first off-season by trying to get players to fulfill stop-gap roles for my first season.  Then finally, I got to the draft… aka – the best part of building your team.

Drafting Your Team

It is more than simply taking the best-available player.

You need to consider what your team truly needs when you start drafting players.  This includes scouting during the season as well.  As a coach, you will need to pay close attention to the contract statuses of your players and how they are performing for you.  Taking a Quarterback when you really need a Defensive End or Linebacker could make your team suffer.  In this same breath, you should also compare the players by their ratings and their size.

Also, if you want a cheap way to scout for players that will be highly rated on your team, make sure you spend the 25 scouting points on ‘Scheme’.  This will be something you can use as you go through the year to set up your potential draft picks.

Free Agency

Over the course of my current CCM I have come across a few free agents that intrigued me.  The best pick-up I have made is WR, Leonard Hankerson for the Browns in 2013.  He came in as a replacement for my injured rookie WR and ended up leading the team in receiving yards, TDs and got himself a huge contract in the off-season.  Keep your eyes open for players that perform well when playiing for you.  Sometimes a player might not be ‘a good fit’ but he could end up becoming exactly what you need to turn things around.

Release Failed Project Players

One of the hardest things to do in sports games is to part with players that you either like in real-life or simply want to develop in the game.  Some of them just don’t pan out or under-perform over the course of time.  You have to make those tough decisions and understand that the betterment of your team is the long-term goal.

Pick A Starter… and stick with him

One of the parts of CCM in Madden 13 is progressing players based on their performance on the field.  Make it your mission to look at the goals being set for all of your starters and try to develop your players through that system.

Madden 13’s Biggest Gameplay Problems

Chances are good that Urlacher will get injured when he crushes AP… why? Because Madden 13’s injuries are broken… or random at best.

Madden 13 has a lot of potential to be one of the best Madden games every made – if not the best.  However, there are still some things that are occurring that make for a rather annoying experience.  Here are a few –

CPU Play Calling – While this isn’t truly ‘gameplay’ it is something that you have to deal with every single moment of a single player game.  It seems as if the CPU Coaching Staff was programmed to mimic Pat Shurmur.  Why is it that on 3rd and long the CPU will almost always pick either a running play or a passing play with routes that are 3-5 yards short of what is needed for a first down?  The CPU play calling AI has always been bad in Madden, but this kills the experience when you are playing in a tight game and they seemingly throw in the towel.

The CPU Running Game Doesn’t Exist – No matter what you do in Connected Careers, it is almost impossible to face the CPU without dominating their runningbacks.  This is an issue that involves bad blocking and seemingly immobile runningbacks.  It is a constant struggle to feel like you have having a legitimate experience when you end up crushing the opposition every time they try to run the ball.

Human Pass Rush Is Unstoppable – I am currently playing a single player online CCM with the Browns.  Jabaal Sheard has 23 sacks through 12 games.  Chances are good that he will finish the season with over 30 sacks and this is without ever controlling him.  The funny thing is that I picked up Shawne Merriman in the pre-season to play RE (opposite of LE, Sheard) and he has zero sacks.  Sure, he is constantly facing the opponent’s best blocker, but to have ZERO sacks is almost laughable.

Left Ends Are Beasts – For some reason EA Tiburon has had a major problem programming the blocking in Madden.  This was something that was pushed strongly for by the community for Madden 13 in the new Infinity Engine.  It never made it into the final build and the interactions between lineman are still showing this lacking development.  If you have a somewhat decent Defensive Left End – prepare to dominate and set records almost every year.

WR Drops Are Infuriating – In one game I counted over 14 drops by my receivers.  This was a major issue in the demo and seems to still be a major issue in the game.  While these dropped passes might not keep you from defeating a seemingly stupid CPU AI Opponent, they can ruin your experience as you are being artificially prevented from having great games (even if they aren’t ‘sim’ with your receivers).  You can move the WR Catch slider but you shouldn’t have to do this.

Injuries Are Random and Silly – After crushing Mike Vick in week one with D’Qwell Jackson it was Jackson, not the injury-prone Vick that ended up on the injury report with a torn achilles.  What makes it better is that his foot never really hit the ground as he made the tackle.  Vick on the other hand was twisted up like a pretzel and was smashed into the ground.  He got up… Jackson didn’t.  Please, for the love of all things football – fix the injury system in Madden!

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.