It’s definitely been a while since I got to play a new Madden game. In case you are not aware, I am a huge fan of the Madden franchise. I’ve played almost every one of the titles since 2002 and they were all rock solid. I’ll admit that Madden 2010 may have slipped a little, but it was still a blast. 2011 and 2012 were also enjoyable experiences so I was all set to grab this one. I didn’t realize that it had already dropped to 6 dollars so it was a steal! Madden 2015 just came out so I’m sure that this game’s online days are numbered. That being said, I’m really glad that I finally got to try the online experience because it is amazing! This is easily the best Madden title for the PS3!
I also know that I need to make this one last because I likely won’t be getting one of the newer Madden games anytime soon! There is no Madden 2014 because they decided to come out with the special Madden 25 package. I’m looking forward to playing it, but it’s still going for 25! I love these games, but I always wait for the price drops since they’re so frequent. I wouldn’t expect to see another Madden review on this site for even a year, but maybe I’ll surprise you guys and get one of the few titles that I missed for Christmas!
Back to the game! Madden 2013 uses a lot of elements from the past games while changing things up. I know that everyone has already heard the stories and some are still upset that EA refuses to change the formula with any drastic measures. There’s no need to change a system that is already great and EA still does provide a unique experience each time. In this game, the defense is probably the most notable change, but the whole game is really impacted. Is it in a good way? It depends on the effect. I won’t really explain the rules because I’m sure that you are familiar with the NFL. If not, it’s an easy game to figure out.
One of the ways that Madden seems to have changed is how fiercely the cornerbacks will go after the ball. It is essentially impossible to throw a deep ball anymore. You can still do it of course, but you’ll be forced to watch your receiver get shoved out of the way as the cornerback snags it for a pick 6. Sometimes, your receiver will just stand there and wait for the football while the cornerback jumps up for the steal. They can jump extremely high by the way and they aren’t opposed to catching the ball with one hand in a rather fancy athletic movement. One way to stop this is to quickly take control of your receiver and turn around to grab the ball. Of course, this is a Lot trickier than it sounds and it requires perfect precision on your part. More often than not, this won’t work. Once in a while, your player will actually catch the ball, but you’ll have already thrown a lot of interceptions by that point.
It’s great for the defense and I’ve always enjoyed getting an interception. It’s pretty thrilling and it’s one of my favorite plays along with kickoff/punt returns. On the flipside, it makes you hesitate to throw the football. You’ll find yourself relying on basic screen passes and other short throws because you can’t risk going downfield. Throwing it into the centerfield for your tight end is usually a decently safe throw, but I miss the days where I felt comfortable throwing to any part of the field. You can definitely forget about slants unless your receiver is in a great position. So, this is definitely a mixed bag.
One area where the game really excels at is how realistic the hits are. It’s great to see your player get tackled or to record a sack on your own. You really feel the hit and it’s usually interesting to see how your player will go down. Sometimes the game will even revert to slow motion although that could just be the frame rate hitting the ball. This is more like the Football that we’re used too!
The graphics for the game are always pretty solid and that doesn’t change in this installment. You can clearly see all of the players and every option available on the field. You’ll never find yourself squinting to see something and the field looks as real as ever. I definitely have no complaints with the game on this front and the commentary is also good. There are some obvious mistakes like when they say that there are 15 minutes left when only 6 are on the clock. Some of the lines can get a little old when you hear them so often, but I actually enjoy it. It really makes the game feel professional and it means that I won’t have to listen to any (awful imo) music like in some of the other titles. Remember NFL Street? Great game, but the music was pretty terrible. I’m not a fan of EA’s music so the commentary means that the music has to go away. I don’t think it plays at all during the games anymore and that’s fine by me!
The game does have one annoying cutscene that plays after every timeout. If you call a timeout, your opponent’s player will meet up with one of the staff for a drink of water. The trainer will get him the water and the player always stops the guy from leaving so that he can get a second drink. This happens every single time and it gets old rather quickly. The character models are constantly chewing as well although I believe that it’s supposed to depict them talking to each other. Trust me, you’ll wish that it wasn’t there after a while!
If this game had one big weakness, it would be how they’ve made every action a lot more complicated. Gone are the days where you only needed to worry about running and where to throw the ball. Now there are so many buttons to press! You have to remember to hit a button so that you don’t fumble, there’s a button to sprint as per usual, but you can also tilt one of the joysticks to bring your head down and charge. There are like three different ways to juke and you really need the hit stick on the defensive side or the opponent will just break your tackles. I don’t think the game really needs to be this complex. It wouldn’t be so bad either if your player wouldn’t fumble all the time. Never run right into the opponent player without pressing something or you’re almost guaranteed to fumble. So much for my wild charges into the crowd eh?
Franchise mode is long gone and now we have the Connected Careers mode. It’s essentially the same thing so it’s all good. You can play as the Coach or as the players. I only use the latter of course and you can even add yourself to the game through Gameface. The EA account is actually pretty handy since it really does a good job of recording your online stats. The online ranked battles are really where the action is at. It’s almost hard to go back to the classic offline battles when you can fight such talented players online. (Almost is the key word! Regular matches are still a blast.) My current record is 5-4 as of this writing and I already scored over 150 points, which netted me the first few online trophies. The highest one is at 600 points and that is likely where I would stop online gaming for this title. It’s a blast, but I have so many other games where I need to accomplish that I wouldn’t have time for it anymore. The offline world is another story since there are more trophies to get there.
The trophies are pretty fair for the most part, but I think that EA is asking too much for the offline ones. You would basically have to play over 10-20 seasons if you wanted to snag them all unless they expect you to start simulating all of them. There are many workarounds to grab a lot of the trophies, but adjusting sliders and such, but that doesn’t seem right. Thus, I am doomed to have a relatively low trophy% in this title, but I’ll still do my best to snag as many of them as I can. At least there are more trophies to be collected in this one than in the previous Madden titles!
I almost don’t even need to bring up the replay value. The trophies alone can last for weeks or even months. This Madden also has quite a few different modes to play. You can relive famous moments in NFL history and try to complete each of them. The Connected Careers mode can go on for as many seasons as you want and you can play it from the coach’s point of view or from the player’s. The replay value to this game is essentially endless and the servers are actually still up so you can have fun online or offline. The game is really a bargain at 6 dollars and it would have been well worth the original 60 dollars if I had bought it then too. It just goes against my buying code to do that. I only go that far for Smash Bros at this point in time.
Finally, it’s worth noting that EA has done a good job to really make the games feel alive. On the main menu, you can actually see the scores for the current NFL 2014 Pre Season games. Not to mention that there are Facebook and Twitter options inside of the game so that you can post your scores and stats throughout the season. Everything is completely up to date, which is pretty fun. You won’t lose touch with the real world by playing this game and their Origin system helps you to link your account through all of their titles. EA may have a very bad reputation with the average person at the moment, but one can’t deny that their games are great!
Overall, This is an excellent Madden game. As mentioned earlier, I would say that it easily clobbers Madden 08-12. It’s tough to take on the Gamecube ones, but this is easily one of the best installments. I do believe that the game has gotten a little too complicated in some areas, but you can still choose to simplify things based on your playstyle. I got used to it after a game or two and the only troubles that I’m having now are with the audibles. It’s hardly something that will really cost you a game since audibles are pretty rare. I highly recommend getting this game and you’ll have fun for dozens of hours. Madden is one of the only games that can compete with the new Super Smash Bros for how much time you can pour into it! It’s going to be tough for Madden 25 or the new Madden 15 to keep up with this one!