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.

Madden 13 Demo Should Be Released On August 14

*IT IS OFFICIAL!!! August 14! – LINK

It is the hope and expectation of many gamers and Madden NFL fans that the demo will be released next Tuesday, August 14.  Keep in mind that the demos are usually earlier builds of the game you hope to buy.  Also, you should take time with the demo in order to learn how to play the game and develop a feel for the new Infinity Engine.

No word on the teams you will get to use… Our guess is that the Giants will be one of them. Unless of course they want to show off the new Hall of Fame Stadium with a game between the Cardinals and Saints?

Either way it goes and however EA decides to release the demo of Madden, it should be known that this game is starting to pick up some steam and a lot of football fans’ hopes.  The new addition of Connected Careers has brought some people to the point where they think EA finally ‘gets it’.  This won’t be a part of the demo but you can hope and pray that it is worth your $60.  On the other hand, there are a lot of people in the hardcore community that are already annoyed with many decisions about Madden 13 from the developer perspective.  The primary issue revolves around the fact that the infinity engine is only going to effect tackles rather than every other facet of the game.  Hopefully we can expect these improvements in Madden 14, but don’t hold your breath.

Madden 13 Must Improve Draft Presentation and Franchise Mode

Ask any NFL fan about their favorite team’s draft and you will get some sort of response.

As a Browns fan I will give you all you need to hear and more. First, we needed to fix our offense with better receivers and someone to take over after Hillis’ departure.

The Trent Richardson pick was a good one at the time and still is; however, to give up the picks we did in order to get him I would have thought that we would be super smart about the ones we had left.

Then we took a 28 year old QB, Brandon Weeden at #22.  In a league where you are looked at as old when you are 30 it is strange to see that as a pick with any sort of gainful longevity.  Yet, even that pick wasn’t too terrible in the scheme of things.  It was followed up with Mitchell Schwartz from Cal, a big and mean O-Lineman.

Then we took John Hughes!  Yeah, you read right… 16 Candles, Pretty In Pink and St. Elmo’s  Fire on the Cuyahoga JOHN HUGHES!… Actually, it is some sort of D-Lineman that is going to be a back-up for our talented middle D-Lineman Rubin and Taylor.  I was confused by this pick to say the least… then my confusion turned to anger when I saw the other players taken after we traded down and move around in the draft to get a guy that wasn’t even projected to get picked in the draft on many experts’ boards.

That said…

Ever since Madden came out on the 360/PS3 generation of consoles it has had growing pains that have led many football gamers to get banned from forums for venting their anger (which will never happen on our boards, assuming you support your opinion without major profanity— which with Madden can be hard at times).  The worst part about Madden for years had been Franchise Mode and bugs in Franchise Mode.  That said, there are three major events for NFL fans:

  1. The NFL Draft
  2. Kickoff Week
  3. The Super Bowl

Improving The Draft (What’s Missing?)

There is a reason why the NFL Draft is #1 on that list.  It gives people faith that for a moment, their team is going to get better.  They might find their ‘Tom Brady’ or ‘Peyton Manning’.  There are some players that coming out of college are looked at as ‘sure things’ like Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III and then you have big risks on guys like Vontaze Burfict (went to the halfway-house, AKA the Cincinnati Bengals after going undrafted) who have major character issues.

People go nuts for the draft and it is something that is often talked about more than the Super Bowl.  Simply because it is something that every team has a chance to do and do well.

Madden has no personality or atmosphere for the Draft.  It is difficult to see what other teams are doing in your Franchise Mode.  One example is when a team trades up or down in the draft there is usually some sort of reaction by commentators (which also don’t exist in Madden’s Franchise Mode for the Draft) – in Madden you are greeted with a notice that a trade took place and which picks were involved… and then nothing… No highlight of who was so important that the team moved up to get them.  You are also not going to see which players teams select during the draft because the Drafted Player Ticker resets after every pick, rendering it impossible to see how the draft is going or who is coming off the board in any sort of fluid manner.

If the Cowboys were to take a punter with the first pick in the draft you would probably see riots and hear commentators berate the management (Jerry Jones) of the Cowboys…. Not in Madden, take whoever you want because no one cares.  Perhaps that is the real personality of Madden’s Franchise Mode – No one cares… and frankly, why should they?

Not to mention it is hard to really have any sense of immersion in a league that seems to exist without any sort of news feed that is easily accessible to let you know that certain players are under-performing.  Then again, that is the hideous beauty of Madden’s Franchise Mode.

Minus the lacking atmosphere, here is a list of just some of the things that are missing from creating a true Franchise Mode experience worth paying $60 for every. single. year…:

  1. Player Morale and Personality – Players have no personality.  Some teams are simply not desirable to play for, yet… that never comes into play with Madden, just sign the players without any real attention  to what type of coach, owner or city they want to play in.  Are they just about money are they loyal to loyal fans?… That doesn’t matter in Madden.
  2. Player Performance – This doesn’t matter from multiple levels in Franchise Mode.  As far as the much vaunted online roster updates go, apparently a player is better on a week by week basis.  However, when it comes to any sort of adjustment to a player after he throws for 500 yards and 6 TDs twice in three weeks, there is no such update to his throwing abilities or his much over-hyped OVR (Overall) Rating.
  3. Player Value – This rating doesn’t exist in Madden at all.  This means that when you have a player that runs for 2000 yards two years in a row and then wants to be traded elsewhere you might not be able to get what you should for him because his OVR is 80 due to a low AWR (Awareness) Rating, even if he has 98 SPD, 97 JKE, 95 SPN, etc.  The system of value for performance is a constant battle between gamers that state performance means little when potential is all that matters.  My response is that performance is MEASUREABLE and potential will NEVER be.

This list will be expanded over the course of the next few months and years as Madden is sure to continue to grow and regress in quality and features.  The first step for any game mode like Franchise Mode is ATMOSPHERE and IMMERSION and that should start with the most important day  (weekend) of the NFL Year – The NFL Draft.