Review: ’Madden NFL 13’ a Bold Revamp of Franchise
EA Sports has rolled the dice on a major overhaul of its best-selling "Madden NFL" football franchise this season - and most of its gambles have paid off.
"Madden NFL 13" (for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, $59.95) swapped out the booth announcers, switched to a more classic presentation, overhauled the menu system and crafted a comprehensive Connected Career mode.
But the most notable change is a new physics engine that dramatically varies the hits and avoids the repetitive sequences of previous years. The real-time action is way more exciting than in previous years, as players bounce off each other with force and stumble over on-field pileups.
The Infinity Engine is far from perfect, resulting at times in bent-back arms, overly dramatic flailing and enough neck snaps to keep a team neurologist running tests around the clock. But most of the animations hold their realism in slow motion. Introducing real physics into collisions is a huge change for the Madden franchise, and the developers are sure to refine it in future installments.
One of the major offensive changes this season is the addition of receiver awareness. A quarterback now must wait for a receiver to be ready (as indicated by his icon changing from grayed-out to color) before making a throw. That’s a big improvement, since quickly throwing a 10-yard pass to a wide-out running a deep route should not result in a completion.
Xbox 360 players can now use the Kinect microphone to control some of the action. To be able to simply call out "Audible, Deep Pass" when you see the defense stacked against the run or yell "Blitz" on defense is much easier than scrambling with buttons.
After modeling its presentation style in previous years around Fox Sports and ESPN broadcasts, "Madden NFL 13" has opted for a more subdued CBS-style approach, replacing rock and hip-hop tunes with orchestral scores and putting Jim Nantz and Phil Simms in the booth.