Madden 13 Demo Review: Prepare to be Wowed


EA has released the demo for Madden 13, one of the year’s most anticipated, and so far it’s getting a passing grade.

A forewarning: if you have a Playstation 3, you won’t be able to get the demo until after 5pm ET, as that’s when the Playstation Network releases their demos. For once, if you have one,  having an XBox has finally paid off.

As for the demo — holy football orgasm Batman.

Although it’s just the demo, it’s a tasty and tantalizing sample to what we will be getting on August 28th. First off, you can play full five minute quarters and this isn’t some barebones run through, absent of the flash and pizzaz.

There is a new announcing crew this year, as CBS play-by-play dup Jim Nantz and Phil Sims replace Gus Johnson and Chris Collinsworth.

Last year, in my review for Madden 12, I referred and compared the game to SK Sports NBA2K11, a game that finally pleased me as a sports video game fan. From the depth of the game, to the presentation, that game blew me away like no sports game had. Sure Madden had great graphics, but the presentation was laughable and pathetic to those who value the realistic nature of replicating Sunday’s.

The game opens with animation of the star players with the backdrop of the Madden and NFL logo. We then get our usual opening but absent is the tunnel intro from last year’s version. Instead, Madden as finally done the most obvious thing in replicating Sunday’s: they’ve replicated a television broadcast.

I’ve been waiting for them to do this for years!

I don’t know about the rest of the Madden world but I’m a stickler for presentation and I’ve always known I was playing a video game in the past. Not there’s anything wrong with that but I’ve always thought Madden should make the goal to be as realistic as possible. They’ve conquered the graphics and now they’re mastering presentation.

As for how the new “engine” works, it’s pretty slick.

Everything is realistic and not in the way people have used that description before. Pile ups are more realistic, collision detection is intense and everything just feels more authentic. Even the way the players get up after getting tackled it smooth and life-like.

If you’ve played NCAA 13, you’ll be pretty familiar with how this game works. In my review of that game, I was hoping they ported over the game engine to Madden 13 and it appears they have.

You can control your offensive line blocks for gaining touch yardage or to open up holes for your running back to run through. The Total Passing Control is just like in NCAA 13 where you need to set and throw, and throwing on the run will effect the pass realistically. An improvement on past years is the accurate ability to lead receivers.

And so far, there have been no heroic, phantom leaps by linebackers making unrealistically insane knockdowns of passes in the open.

The best part of this game: there is more to come. This is just the little hole we tore in the Christmas present to peek and see what we got. And what we got is something amazing. There are some kinks that need to be worked out in some aspects of the tackling animation, and the difficulty settings may be something that need to be gotten used to (lots of dropped passes the higher the setting is set).

But this game is going to be a game changer and Madden needs one after so-so installments in the franchise over the past decade. Madden needs a boost to regain the top spot in terms of best sports games available to the public.

So far, Madden 13 looks to be that game.

Things to Look for in the Final Version

Just a few bullet point features that will decide whether the game will be as good as can be. These aren’t available in the demo but they need to be top-notch in order to not cancel out the amazing stuff we’ve seen thus far.

  • Franchise Mode
  • This is why people buy Madden. They want a deep, realistic experience of owning a franchise and leading their favorite team to the Super Bowl year after year on the building blocks they placed.
  • Super Star Mode
  • This has been a feature that either needs to be massively improved or needs to die. With how awful it’s been in recent years, either option wouldn’t bother me.