games / Reviews

Madden 13 Xbox 360 Review

August 25, 2012 | Posted by Dan Watson

Madden has been a staple in the gaming industry for over twenty years. What started out as a game that almost bankrupted EA has become an annual classic and best seller. No matter who the gamer is, they have played Madden at least once. This series is probably one of the most recognizable titles next to Mario, Sonic, and a few others.

For the past decade, many have argued that Madden had become stale and even developed their own name for games that were just roster updates, Madden Syndrome. Well, this year is different. There is no more Madden Syndrome with this game. The game play feels different, the visuals are much improved, and the overall feel for the game is much better and streamlined. This game is much different in many areas.

Before I get entirely into the game, I first want to say that my first impression of the game was biased. I am a lifelong Madden player and never complained about the roster update that everyone seemed to believe. It is a football game that offered many modes and challenges and had changed over time. There isn’t much you can do to a game of football to make it a new and updated game every year. So, at first I was very much against this game, and then I thought of all of those people out there that had wanted change and are now receiving it. This game does add a lot more than previous installments. Let’s take a look at the game in parts and summarize it all in the end.


At first I was thrown off by the visuals. Things seemed brighter and less like the traditional Madden series I had grown up with. The facial features of the players are amazing. The guys look very much like their real-life counter parts. The menu visuals are just as good. Each of the options is easy to read, bold letters, and easy to figure out.

To add to the visual representation, the hits look so real. The guys get hit hard and you can see just how real the hits have gotten. The same can be said about the juking, side-stepping, and hurdling in the game. It is no longer just a quick movement that doesn’t show how it would look in real life, now the guys are moving and slowed down for a short second while they recover. Visually, this game has taken major steps forwards.


If there was one area this Madden title stepped back, it would be here. One of the things I have grown accustomed to looking for when a Madden title comes out is a solid soundtrack. Now we have general NFL music. I was disappointed here as I really do like the good mix of different genres coming together for the Madden series. Sadly, we just have the general music and stadium sounds.

The in game sound is much improved though. The crowd almost becomes deafening with how loud it can get. The sound of two players slamming into each other is even greatly enhanced. I couldn’t imagine these sounds getting any better than they already are.

Game Play

This is where you all wanted change. EA gave us that change this year. The games are faster and more streamlined in that instead of taking an hour to play a five minute quarter game, it normally takes about thirty to thirty five minutes against an AI opponent and about forty five against a human opponent that picks their own plays. So, the first major change was shorter games.

Then the general gameplay is much different in how it plays. The game to me felt more like All-Pro Football where the players were somewhat faster but not unrealistic. The games just feel smoother when playing instead of a constant stop and go. Also, you won’t see players jumping ten feet in the air to bat the ball down or any strange situations like that. The in game physics are also improved. Players can no longer run through others or somehow make leaping tackles. The game is so realistic that while playing as Adrian Peterson, I took a draw play up the middle, I tried to run behind my blocker but instead ran into my blocker who knocked my down. This makes the game feel so much more realistic as opposed to previous installments where you would be able to run around untouched.

I have yet to find a play that is a guaranteed first down or touchdown each time. Previously in Madden installments, you would have a seam route that would allow your wide receiver to catch the ball without a problem. There isn’t a glitched play like that this time around.

Instead of having your traditional dynasty mode and superstar player mode, you know have connected careers. This is an online or offline career mode that allows you to create a player or coach and play with goals attached to the games. The game allows you and up to thirty two friends to play. If you leave town for a bit or cannot be reliable in playing, you can set your character to vacation mode and allow your friends to continue playing while you are away. The goal is to get to the Hall of Fame before them, but the bragging rights that go along with it always help. If you are looking for a traditional dynasty mode, play as a coach as you get all the options you would in a dynasty.

This year they brought back the Madden Ultimate Team mode. What is so great about this year’s edition is that players select a “captain” card which is a high profile player. This player is part of your team so to start with you are not just playing with a team of scrubs that no one has heard of. Also, previous Madden 12 collections have earned you packs as well. So, this weekend, get some of those collections done and you will have a few packs waiting for you on Tuesday.

Also included in this edition is Kinect functionality. The Kinect function plays very smoothly with this game and I didn’t experience many issues with it. If you are an achievement hunter like I am, there is only one achievement for Kinect controls so you do not have to worry too much if you do not have Kinect.

The 411

In the end, I really like where this game has gone. It has surprised me and like I said, won me over. Initially, I hated change, but this change grew on me quickly. The game play is amazing and having faster games that aren’t an hour each time really makes playing more fun. The connected career mode adds a bit more to the bragging rights of Madden and allows you and your friends to compete on your own schedule for the most part. If you are looking for a football game to pick up this year, Madden is it.

Graphics9.0Amazing visuals make this game even better than before411 Elite Award
Gameplay9.0Faster games and smoother gameplay with plenty of options 
Sound7.0Lack of a soundtrack really hurts but the general in game sounds are great 
Lasting Appeal9.0Connected Careers is the new way to game with friends in the sports genre 
Fun Factor 9.5No more glitched plays and faster games creates a great game for everyone 
Overall9.0   [  Amazing ]  legend

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Dan Watson
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