Madden 13 – Connected Careers Might Make Madden 13 Worth A Purchase

Just in case you are still on the fence about whether or not to buy Madden 13, you should consider it one of the safer sports titles to bet on this year.  The problem that most people face when it comes to buying a sports game is that they are usually just a roster update with some sort of half-cocked mode enhancement like ‘Mascot Mode’ (see NCAA Football).  Madden 13’s Connected Careers could be the mode that finally turns the game into a new direction… maybe even the right one.

When you retire as a real player (Tebow or RG3) they won’t be out of the league you will just not control them anymore.

A Brief History

While Madden has a tendency to suffer from playing like a glorified arcade game in the guise of a simulation football title, it also has the benefit of consistency in gameplay.  In other words – we usually know what to expect when it comes to Madden and how it will play.  Player movement is something that hasn’t really changed in Madden since the PS2/XBox generation – especially when compared to titles that were competing with Madden.  On the flipside – Career modes have suffered in Madden for years.

Madden 12 saw one of the biggest jumps in quality of Franchise Mode since Madden 05 (arguably the best Madden to date).  This mode still lacked any real sort of ‘stand-alone’ quality that would keep the end-user from wanting to take control of editing players or simply controlling all 32 teams in order to make the mode feel more organic – ironic, but true.

A New Hope

Connected Careers is designed to bring Franchise Mode and Superstar Mode (where you control a specific player) together as one.  You will be able to control a player or a team (as the Coach).  Some gamers are going to relish the chance to play as a specific player.  However, the real depth is going to come from being a Coach.

One of the more annoying parts of Madden 11 and 12’s Franchise Mode was the concept of ‘Potential’ ratings for players.  What made this so frustrating was that you could take a player like Derek Anderson and make him into (statistically) the best QB in the league but his OVR (and therefore, his value) would not increase.  Imagine Kurt Warner winning the Super Bowl with the Rams but never considered to be ‘great’ – that is what the potential rating did to Franchise Mode… it took away the feel that your players were any good unless they had a great potential rating.

This year, Potential Rating is gone.  You have to earn XP for each player like in a Role Playing Game.  So, if you want to make Brady Quinn or Derek Anderson your starting QB and develop them into a 99 OVR player – you can.  The crux… you have to earn it.   There are going to be some fun developments when people start making Connected Careers ‘their own’.

What To Watch For

As Madden 13 gets closer, there will be more details coming out of the woodwork.  The real details that people will notice are the glitches in the game after it comes out.  There are bound to be some things that happen in Madden 13 that make people cry foul and say that the game is broken.  It happens every year and this year won’t be any different – Madden 13 will have some things that need to be patched (fixed via an update).

Connected Careers will probably have some things that need to be tweaked and the one thing to hope for is that when these issues pop up you won’t have to restart your CCM.  Keep your eyes and ears open, your hopes up and you expectations grounded.  Madden 13 is almost here.

Does Madden Matter Anymore?

Over the past two decades it has been a fixture in sports gaming.  On occasion it has even been hailed as one of the best games of the year in that genre.  However, the Madden Franchise has fallen on hard times as of late and it looks more like Tiki Barber trying to make a comeback rather than Brett Favre making a Super Bowl run after his 2nd retirement.  Either way it goes and however you view the analogy –  Madden is getting worse every year.  Only a few weeks ago we were looking at Madden 13 as the rebirth of a franchise after a long drought.  Now it seems as if it has lost its luster and even its marketing steam.

The NFL season is set to start in just over two months and Madden is slated to come out in the middle of Pre-Season games.  How on earth can it be that this game doesn’t have a single commercial in wide circulation or even some sort of hypemobile rolling through forums drumming up blind support?

While it isn’t terribly surprising to see a sports title come out and grab the core audience, it is rather shocking to see the publisher pretty much throw in the marketing towel this early/ late in the game’s development cycle.  With high profile titles such as Halo 4 and Call of Duty coming out within a few months of Madden, it is going to be interesting to see how EA’s sales for their football games perform without any real concerted effort at this point.

Madden has its core of fanboys out there that live up to the stereotypes of sports gamers with false bravado and a sharp case of ego-stroking football knowledge that should place them at the sidelines of any local youth football game screaming at children as they try to live out dreams they never should have had in the first place.  These gamers tend to ruin the online experience as they exploit the poor animation and AI system in order to rank up the leaderboards or win some sort of digital league.

The typical Madden Online/Tournament gamer.

The rest of the Madden fans out there don’t even play online.  They want a game that focuses on Franchise Mode/Connected Careers and some sort of longevity to keep them coming back.  Sadly, it looked like a promising year for this group of fans until EA dropped bombshell after bombshell crushing the dreams of franchise fanantics (yours truly, included).  It seems that the time has come to call EA on their bluff.  They have been bluffing for almost seven years now and there are still people out there folding under the pressure to buy this game on release day.

Are you buying Madden this year?  Are you avoiding it like the plague?… Or, are you simply going to wait it out a little while and see what the reviews look like?