Release Date: August 28th, 2012
Developer: HB Studios, Tiburon
Platform: [Reviewed: Vita] PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Rated: E for Everyone
Madden NFL is back in the palm of your hands, this year being the first time released for the PlayStation Vita. We’ve come to love and welcome the annual release of Madden in all of its glory, but being the first major launch title for coming holiday, can Madden keep the hype just as alive as the annual major platform releases?
Madden NFL 13 may not run on the Infinity Engine but it definitely has the power of Madden 12 bleeding through its little chip.
Presentation is solid. You’re welcomed in by Madden NFL 13 announcers. When the cameras move over into the fields you instantly notice, “damn these graphics are good!” I can’t remember playing a PSP version of Madden where the lights from the stadium reflected off the player’s helmet. Players and coaches also have very detailed renders. Not all players, Robert Griffin III for example, will have their likeness in the game.
The gameplay on the field is quite the experience on the Vita. You’ll have to adjust yourself to the handheld version if you’re used to playing on major platforms such as XBOX 360 or PlayStation 3. While running plays, players perform great animations.
The tackle breaking system is by far one of the most innovating. There were plays when you just knew your RB or HB was going to hit the turf from being hit, only watch as they catch their balance and move yards closer to the end zone. It’s those kind of animations that make Madden show their specific and dynamic changes over the years.
When on offense the touch screen proves to be innovative. Quick tab your left bumper and redraw any player route. Not only does your player run the route, Jim and Phil catches on to your audible. EA did an amazing job, making sure that mechanics for rerouting plays via touch screen would work as intended.
There are plenty of referee interactions in Madden NFL 13. They’ve stepped in at least 2-3 times per quarter from what I’ve counted, mainly when you make those close catches near the sidelines or far within the end zone. I must admit though, when it happened I was on the edge of my seat as I awaited confirmation on certain plays.
Commentary by Jim Nantz and Phil Simms is possibly the greatest chemistry I’ve ever heard from ANY previous EA title. They call play-by-play equally as well as any live television broadcast.
The game modes offered in Madden NFL 13 is Play Now; throwing you straight into the action, Online;which gives you live competition, then there’s also another bracket called Game Modes. The choices within Game Modes is the bread and butter of all solo play.
You can relive Madden moments, embark Franchise Mode or be an NFL Superstar. Becoming an NFL Superstar requires a lot of dedication and hard work, but thanks to EA, you’re pushed a bit ahead. First, you’ll create your NFL Player to your satisfaction. Next your Vita will prompt you to take a snapshot within a silhouette. This picture will be a part of the lineup for teams. So if you’re QB, you’ll see the team logo, number, your name and most importantly, your portrait.
Choosing your team is optional between being drafted and selecting your own team. Once on a team you’ll go the motion of working your way up to stardom. Plenty of practice drills and last-minute gameplay moments is where it all begins. You could best refer it to an NCAA Road to Glory, just skipping ahead of the college years.
During the season depending on your position, Gameflow determines your plays and routes. Unfortunately, there’s a lack of commentary.
Madden, however, does have a few flaws. Choppiness throughout particular parts or gameplay or Super Bowl celebrations, bodies flicker in and out excessively, and the crowd when – zoomed in – are far beyond pixelated. You may at first just notice players and the coach on the sideline, but If you look behind them for a second, there’s plenty of block figures in the bleachers. Lastly, every player has four shadows; three shadows too many.
These small things don’t destroy the overall gameplay of Madden NFL 13. In fact, you’ll be too drawn into the play action to even complain. I will say that the console to Vita transition takes a bit getting used to, but it’s worth it in the end to take a high quality version of Madden on the road.
Overall Rating: 4.25/5