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).
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.
As soon as you start playing a sports game – whether it is the tip-off, first pitch, face-off or even kick-off… it is never a true simulation and it will never be.
With the release of Madden 13 in only one week there are a lot of people huffing and puffing around the sports gaming forums about whether or not Madden 13 is a true simulation or (in many other cases) pouting in digital print that it doesn’t represent the game as they would like to see it on a video game.
I am not here to take sides. If this were a war I would be the guy in Switzerland that is right on the border watching the idiotic fighting and on occasion maybe taking a few shots at either side if I get bored. So, before you come clamoring at my comments section saying something like the visitor we had in early July. Basically we are in a situation where there is no right answer to this multi-faceted question(?) or demand(?) – How can a company create a perfect simulation sports game?
To answer in short… they can’t. At least in this regard they can’t create a game that is perfect in the eyes of everyone (or anyone). As soon as you join a sports gaming forum or community you will see quite a few fanboys for certain games and then you will see the end of the spectrum that devote their sports gaming life to lobbying for certain features, animations, uniform colors, equipment and every other tiny detail to be the way they want it to be. It isn’t a question of if they are right or wrong; it is a notion of their opinions holding any water at all.
Undoubtedly, you will eventually also start telling people in the community about a great game you played with the Cavs and you beat the Miami Heat; or how you want the Super Bowl with the Browns or the National Championship with Western Michigan and how you had a fantastic experience. The response you will get almost every single time…
“Sounds like you need to up the difficulty or change your sliders! No way in hell the Browns will win the Super Bowl!”
On occasion, I have even been guilty of making such comments or posting such news about my own career mode. Either way it goes, the bottom line is that one man’s great time in gaming is another man’s slap in the face to all things ‘simulation’ or “SIM” as the community likes to call it.
What Is ‘Sim’?
There are multiple levels in which you can subjectively build your own criteria for what makes your experience feel like a ‘true simulation’ (for some reason I am picturing myself as the pretentious Dr. Frasier Crane when I say that).
We will start with some basics for football (American Football)
– Kick or punt on 4th down when out of field goal range
– Don’t run the same play more than (insert quantity here) times
– Don’t sub players out of position for speed purposes
– Don’t make trades that ‘wound never happen’ (we will cover this later in more detail)
– Don’t nano blitz
Now that we have our brief list of guidelines for how to play the game in a more simulated fashion we should be ok, right?
Wrong! Because if you don’t have your sliders set up ‘right’ you won’t have the optimum experience with challenging opponents in the CPU. We won’t go into the sliders – just know that there are groups of gaming intellectuals out there that smell and caress them like a fine wine that must be nurtured and built into perfection. The moral of this brief trip into the social world of sports gaming is that it is full of opinion, conjecture and a bunch of gym class heroes that might have played division 3 college football with Uncle Rico… and they want you to love and respect their opinions.
Don’t Sign That Free Agent – It Isn’t ‘Sim’
As soon as you start a career in Madden 13 as a coach you will probably want to look at the Free Agents available. However, you should probably keep in mind that if you are a Browns fan like me and you want to target someone like Shaun Merriman or Plaxico Burress you shouldn’t tell your fellow ‘sim’ nazis on the forums.
“They would never sign with your team in real life!” is usually the response you will get.
The rebuttal should be (but not on the forums – that is how you get banned from their Empire Club) –
“No… really? Who knew that the Browns would also hire ME to COACH THEIR TEAM and then make trades, sign players and even draft new players next season – STFU!?”
The point is that once you take control of anything in the game, whether it is as a coach or a player on the field and you are making decisions that influence the game it is officially a form of entertainment. Don’t let someone else ruin your entertainment on forums. You wouldn’t go to a movie and put up with some know-it-all behind you pointing out how Jason Bourne’s form of martial arts isn’t true ju jitsu. You would either ignore him or tell him to shut his mouth. This approach should be taken with ‘sim’ nazis as well. Although, I highly suggest that you either ignore them or be polite if you want to stay in the community.
The Bottom Line
I am here to tell you to have a good time and play the game however the hell you want to. If you want some help or guidance on either the finer points of the game or maybe you even want to know what my settings or opinion is on settings, let me know through our comments section, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or send us a message on our Facebook Page.
We are only a few days from the release of NCAA 13 and just over a month from Madden 13. That being said, you can almost smell the football in the air. Unfortunately, you can also smell the elitist sports gamers over the internet. Readying their little fingers to type angry messages in response to your excited Franchise Mode Connected Career performance updates that may or may not include winning a Super Bowl with the Cleveland Browns in 2013.
Usually your success with a ‘weaker’ team is going to be attributed to your Slider Settings. These wonderful additions to sports games have been around for awhile. They are meant to act as a way for you (the end user) to tune the gameplay in order for you to either make the game play like your opinion of simulation (or Arcade – which Madden is usually a fine example of every year). It then becomes a war of words and Slider Settings in the messageboards and sports gaming communities.
Your typical interaction with a slider nazi could sound (read) like this.
You – I just won the Super Bowl with the Browns! It was amazing! We managed to sweep the AFC North behind the amazing play of Trent Richardson (led the league in rushing and TDs) and our under-rated defense! We beat the Cowboys 24-10 as Brandon Weeden connected with Josh Cribbs on a screen pass that ended up sealing the deal late in the game!
Responding (Hater) Slider Nazi – You obviously have to change your sliders! There is no way the Browns will EVER win a Super Bowl, let alone this year. You need to make sure your run blocking is tuned down if Trent Richardson is leading the league as a rookie. Not to mention the fact that the Browns are terrible… wow. big props to you on beating the weak CPU to a pulp. Did you have the difficulty set to Rookie?
There are two ways to look at this conversation and neither of them is necessarily wrong.
1 – If you enjoy your game, no one should be able to tell you how to enjoy it otherwise. If you truly have a good time winning the Super Bowl with ANY team, let alone a team like the Browns, Cavaliers, Kansas City Royals, Western Michigan or Columbus Blue Jackets… more power to you.
2 – There is something to be said for a game giving you a challenge. While the reactions of many sports gamers (such as the example above) are blown out of proportion, you should often consider if your sliders are providing you with the best challenge while still being fair to both sides. I have played 18 Collective Seasons in Madden 12’s Franchise Mode with teams such as the Browns, Bears and Jaguars. I won a few Super Bowls with the Browns and decided I wanted a new challenge so I switched teams and tweaked my sliders. It was three seasons before I won a Super Bowl with the Bears and the Jaguars team I inherited after leaving the Bears is going to be rough to work with.