Madden 13 Review – CPU AI and Decision Making

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).

In Madden, the AI can either be non-existent or omniscient. There isn’t much of a middle ground and we hope to fix it the best we can with sliders. Otherwise you might face an AI that will simple say “No.”

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.

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There Is Some Purity When It Comes To Being A Noob – Never Let It Go

No matter what type of hobby or interest we have taken up at any point – we have always been noobs somewhere along the line.  Gaming is no different in this regard and some people like to demonize the idea of having a new player on their team as if it is something that will forever change their online persona.  Their Win/Loss ratio or Kill/Death ration might suffer because  a teammate is new to the game.  That is probably the most common complaint about noobs online.

Everyone has asked, “How do you throw grenades?” at some point or another.

Outside of the fact that people don’t want to have a noob on their team, there are also those that don’t like how noobs play the game.  In some cases like Call of Duty, Halo or any other First Person Shooter (FPS) there are certain ‘tactics’ that frustrate more seasoned players.  Some of these are (but not limited to) – camping, using ‘over-powered’ weapons and of-course weapons like the NoobTube.

Then you have games like Madden and NCAA Football that almost completely rely on the all powerful speed rating.  All you need are a couple WRs that have 99 SPD matched up against slower defenders and the game is over in the first quarter.  Granted, these games are more susceptible to exploits because of game design flaws or simply lacking ability to effectively counter the ‘go deep’ approach.  The fact of the matter is that if you are new to a game and you are learning the ropes you should take comfort in knowing that everyone has been there before.  But shooter games are really the bigger target for what a noob or the teammate of a noob goes through and Call of Duty games are probably the most popular.

Call of Duty is a blazingly fast game that really revolves around twitchy movements and dedication to learning the nuances of the game itself.  Once you learn the basics, it becomes a relatively easy game to play.  You aren’t guaranteed to be the best in the world if you play all the time; but like anything else – you will get better.

Which is why one of the biggest problems with non-noobs (especially those in Call of Duty) are some of the worst when it comes to being respectful to new players.  The idea of ‘Prestiging’ is something that happened in Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare.  Basically, you are able to level up in Call of Duty and obtain new weapons and other equipment as a result of your time invested.  Now with Modern Warfare 3 there are 20 levels of prestiging and it has started to give some gamers out there a bit of a superiority complex.  They feel that anyone that hasn’t prestiged simply is not as skilled or knowledgeable of the game as they are.  Really, all prestiging means is that people have put in more time than others.  You can play Call of Duty for 8 hours a day three days a week and reach the top prestige level – even if you are terrible.

The catch is that you will get better because you are playing the game more and more.  Don’t think for a moment that because you are new to a game and struggling that you will never get it.  The people you are playing against were in that same place at some point or another – stick it out and get better at your favorite games.  Just don’t forget that when you get to the point where you aren’t a noob that there are thousands of other gamers out there that are in your old shoes and they need your help and advice… not vulgar language or sophomoric behavior.

Da Bears Madden 12 Franchise Mode – Season 2 Highlights and Recap

As much as we like to talk about what we wish EA would put into Franchise Mode for Madden 13.  As much as we might even complain about the silly nature of some of the things that happen in Madden 12…  This game is almost addicting to the point that Madden 2005 was and that is a good thing if they continue to build from this solid base.

That said, this is how Season 2 panned out.

Amos High was drafted by the Bears in the first round out of Georgia Tech.  He was highly rated but still managed to fall to the Bears after they traded down.  That would prove to be their best decision yet…  Amos High went on a tear in the second half of the 2012 season and finished with 1900+ yards and 15 TDs rushing.  He would then bring home Offensive Rookie of the Year and League MVP (with RB of the Year as well).

To go along with this amazing season – Jay Cutler won QB of the Year, Mike Williams won WR of the year and Henry Melton won DLineman of the Year!

The Bears have tremendous talent on their team and are built to win and contend for the Super Bowl.  The question isn’t if they can get there, because this is the second straight year they were within one game of the Super Bowl.  Both years we have seen Lovie Smith’s team get outclassed late in the game and that isn’t a good sign for the Chicago’s Head Coach.  It is widely speculated that 2013 might be his last if they don’t break this trend.

We will be posting recaps of the Draft and some of the off-season moves as well.

Some of the needs going into 2013 are –

  1. #1 TE
  2. #2 CB
  3. #1 LG
  4. Future MLB (Urlacher is on the decline, but will retire a Chicago Bear…. No Question About That)
  5. Future RE (Julius Peppers is starting to age, albeit while still getting double-digit sacks at 33 years old, but the Bears need to be honest with themselves)
  6. #1 RG

Stay Tuned!  Updates Are Coming!