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Madden 13 Early Hours Impressions

I have had a retail copy of Madden 13 for about a week now and while my time has been limited of late I have managed to play about 10-12 games and fiddle a little with the Connected Career mode.

So, below are some rapid fire style impressions, certainly not a “review” as I’m not ready to write that yet.

My impressions thus far are based solely on All-Pro level, no slider adjustments.

  • It looks fine. I am rarely one to go all crazy about graphics and this one looks fine. Looks like Madden.
  • There are a shocking number of new animations and as a result it plays like a different game; this Infinity Engine change is evident the minute you start playing. You can hit receivers literally in stride. It looks, in that regard, more like football than any Madden game, ever. There is no more Magic Bullet physics when passing. Everything looks and behaves pretty darn accurately. I haven’t seen anything physics related that looked like a clear case of “videogame” physics. Not saying there aren’t some issues but I haven’t seen any.
  • I love that receivers can get jammed on the line and the better ones can escape the jam and get wide open as a result.
  • In fact, the passing game as a whole I really enjoy. Dropped passes, passes thrown into tight coverage that before were auto-incompletions as passes would bounce off hands, helmets, whatever. You can really thread the needle now.
  • The run game, as a user, isn’t bad. The runners feel a little tiff but it’s still entertaining and the blocking feels extremely well done.
  • The issue, thus far, is the CPU. The CPU run logic is not good. I see far too many cases when a RB gets caught on a lineman or has a CLEAR lane and instead weaves into its own man for no gain. I do not FEAR a good RB right now —
    even playing as Cleveland. And Cleveland hasn’t had a good run defense since the first Clinton administration. Again, this is without slider tweaks but on base All-Pro, not so much.
  • I played a week 1 game against Philly and the Eagles had a total of 112 yards of offense as Cleveland won 20-0. At NO TIME did I feel threatened by Philly’s offense. Again…playing as Cleveland, that should simply never happen or it should be crazy rare. So much of this stems from both weird playcalling and bad running lane logic.
  • When I want to choose a play why can’t I see the down and distance? If i choose gameflow and change my mind and backj out..I can no longer see it.
  • No more Collinsworth. Win.
  • Looking for realistic penalties? Keep looking. Nothing to see here.
  • Connected Career shows ENORMOUS potential. This has Josh Looman’s fingerprints all over it. It looks incredibly deep and I hope there are no killer bugs the deeper I go because after the pre-season and a couple of weeks of the regular season I am loving this stuff. Only problem? It SCREAMS PC interface. There is a LOT to look at in this mode and therefore there’s a tom of screens and sub screens. I need a mouse, a keyboard and an excel-style interface. Some people don’t mind this stuff but I despise doing this level of management on a console. But the RPG style design is so cool it might just be worth it. You can get sucked into this mode for hours, seriously. It’s clearly been designed by a football fan. If you liked what NFL Head Coach was trying to do, well, here you go.

So, thus far, I like it. It’s rough im spots,; it’s not the revolutionary step that NHL took a few years back with shot stick, but it’s a direction the franchise needed to go as the old engine was…damn old. Question is, do you want to pay $60 for potential? When it works Madden 13 is a blast but when the CPU looks like the Bad News Bears of the makes it hard to get into.

I can see online franchises being ridiculously fun with the Connected Careers in full effect. If I had the time to do that these days it would be an auto buy because most of the issues I see are AI related.