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The Madden games have arguably gotten worse and worse as time has gone on this console generation, gradually dipping lower in lower with the critics. Last year’s entry was one of the worst in the franchise’s history from my viewpoint, so Tiburon had a lot to do over the off-season to reel me back in.

One step at a time. That’s how you should right your wrongs before moving past them and that’s exactly what Tiburon did. From the excellently revamped presentation with over 82 hours of commentary from CBS’s very own Nantz and Simms, to the reworked passing game and AI of before, I was impressed by the amount of work put into the game in just under a year so the game could hit its targeted August release date.


Righting the wrongs

This year, the game once again made great strides to rework its presentation system to make every game look and feel like it actually is on TV. Tiburon decided to bring in CBS’s most liked commentary crew of Kim Natz and Phil Simms to become the new anchors of Madden to both narrate and appear in over 200 cut scenes that take place between plays, before games, and so on.

But perhaps the biggest change to this year’s madden is the new Infinity engine that the game runs on, which adds physics to a Madden game for the first time. The engine makes every little hit count and enact different from the one before it.

If you’ve thought you’d seen it all in past Madden games where developers had to individually incorporate thousands of different ways for player to be tackled, think again, because now they don’t have to do any work. There is practically an infinite way for players to go down to the ground in pain. Whether that will be on their own or by another player is in your hands.

But the new engine isn’t without its flaws however and it make take a few games to begin to appreciate it since this isn’t the same Madden game you’ve played before. Running into your own lineman on a hand-off play to the running back will result in you falling over and “tweet,” the play is over.

But the system will really work on your nerves when you see plays blown dead because of linemen controlled by the computer on your team stumble over one another or a receiver tripping mid route over a defender’s leg.

In the end though, the game just looks and feels right. It feels like the real deal. Seeing a player hurdle over someone for the first time, than struggle to regain his balance and trip and fall forward another few yards was a cool site to see in a Madden game. Or watching players stumble out-of-bounds is definitely a nice touch of flare as well.


Reworking the ways to play

Connected Careers is a fantastic mode to now jump into that introduces an XP system in your franchise’s both online and off to upgrade your team’s players and coaches, and improves the former Superstar mode, adding the ability to call your own plays for once!

The XP system will let you progress your players in the areas of your choosing, while you can also increase their skill through natural player progression as well with good performance in not only games, but practice as well. But if you don’t feel like jumping into all of this more technical stuff and just want to get to the nitty-gritty of playing football, then you can let the CPU automatically tweak these stats for you.

Tiburon also rewrote the scouting and free agency systems in the game, which were quite frankly horrible when compared with last year’s game to now. Player’s can now individually choose which attributes and traits they want in a player when scouting for them.

The system is constantly dynamically working in the background, changing things around and incorporating numerous variables that will jumble up the already jumbled formula that may kick your scouted player off your listed due to an injury or character concerns.

Retired players might even come out of retirement from past Madden games! In one of my play-throughs, quarterback Kurt Warner came back out of retirement.

Another hit out of the park from Tiburon with Madden 13 was the new passing game system. With a heavy resemblance to that of the changes made in this year’s NCAA, Madden’s new passing game opens up the field to QB’s and allows them to throw where they want to throw.

Former restrictions that may not have known about didn’t allow QB’s to throw the ball to certain parts of the field. Those have now been removed and the ball can be thrown practically anywhere you want it to go. Probably the most iconic fix in the passing game was that of which addressed the super-jumping linebackers of the past few Madden games. No longer can they jump ten feet into the air to block one of your perfectly thrown passes!

Closing Comments

Madden 13 is a great football game and probably one of the most polished Madden games ever released. Granted that the Infinity engine isn’t always perfect, it’s still a lot better than it is bad. But the problem with Madden 13 is that EA Tiburon was too busy fixing its mistakes from last year’s installment, which left them little time to incorporate any exciting new changes to the game besides the new engine. All in all though, this is finally a Madden game worth getting.

Score: 4/5

Replay Value: High