Madden NFL 13 Screenshot 2 Tuesday saw the demo release of one of the most anticipated sports games of this year; Madden NFL 13. So what’s new in this year’s release? Read on to find out….

In an unusual move for an EA Sports title, the demo gives you a full game with 5 minute quarters and a choice of 2 match ups: New York Giants at San Francisco 49ers (giving you a chance to play as the 2011 Superbowl champions, The Giants. Or one of the most improved teams of last year, the 49ers) or you can play Seattle Seahawks at Washington Redskins (giving you a chance to play with an under rated offense and big free agent signing Matt Flynn as the Seahawks, or the number 2 overall draft pick Robert Griffin III or RG3 as he’s become affectionately known with the Washington Redskins).

First Impressions

We all know first impressions count right? I mean we all judge people just by looking at them rather than getting to know them, and we do the same thing with video games to a certain extent.

First impression of Madden NFL 13 is very good! The menus all look very slick and smooth, and that slickness doesn’t end as soon as you start a game either, as right from the moment your football game starts you’re treated to an introduction akin to what you see on Sunday night football before the game starts with key players on each team given a kind of “player to watch” intro. You’re then treated to an appearance by the new commentary duo of Jim Nantz and Phil Simms talking about the upcoming game and the difficulties of traveling etc. All of this gives the game a kind of TV and therefore much more realistic appearance.

Graphics

Now, I’m aware that graphics don’t make games any better or worse, but they sure do help pull you into the game world that the developers are trying to create, and Madden NFL 13 has much improved graphics over previous incarnations of the game. Everything looks brighter and better, the only slight downside for me is that the grass doesn’t look particularly realistic, but that’s really just a small price to pay.

Commentary

Madden NFL 13 Screenshot 1

Madden NFL 13 - Jim Nantz and Phil Simms

Much like graphics, commentary isn’t overly important in a sports game, but it does help, especially if it’s a sports game you’ll be playing a lot of. In the past, Madden NFL games have had the commentary duo of Gus Johnson and Cris Collinsworth, with Gus doing the play by play commentary and Collinsworth with the technical analysis, but all in all, it never really worked very well, mostly because it just sounded choppy and they would carry on talking about a fumble that happened 3 plays ago even after you just broke off a huge 90 yard TD run. And it just sounded like they were sat in a recording booth and completely uninterested in what was going on on the field. Well those days are all but over. As I mentioned earlier, the commentary is handled now by the CBS commentary duo of Jim Nantz and Phil Simms, and they do a fantastic job of calling the game! It actually sounds like they’re watching the game, even mentioning things like injuries picked up during the game and whether that injured player will be making his way back into the game.

Gameplay

Onto the most important aspect of any game, how it plays. Well, EA Sports announced a few months ago that Madden 13 was going to have a whole new game engine called “The Infinity Engine” and I am pleased to say that it lives up to expectations! It feels like you’re watching real football on the TV. None of the animations feel canned in any way, the momentum of the players really gets taken into account when tackling or trying to break tackles, and the play is never over until your player goes down, as anything can and does happen. Just like real football, don’t give up, you never know what’s going to happen.

The blocking on run plays has (for the most part anyway) finally been fixed! It works! Your tight end will no longer just stand there and watch your running back run past him while he stands there admiring the scenery which was so often the case in Madden 12. It’s now very possible to hit the hole that the play is designed to open up and run through it without getting sucked into a tackle.

Madden NFL 13 Screenshot 3

Madden NFL 13 360/PS3 Screenshot

The pass blocking from your offensive line also seems pretty solid too, and you’re now able to double team those elite pass rushers to further aid your Quarterback and ensure he doesn’t get sacked. Now when you throw the ball, the receivers and cornerbacks/safeties will fight for the ball, adding a much needed boost of realism into the game. Also, you now need to make sure your receivers are looking at the ball before you throw it, otherwise it will likely result in a dropped pass or interception and is a fantastic and welcome addition, as all too often in Madden 12 you could just throw the ball up there for your receiver to catch and he would catch the ball over his shoulder without ever even looking at where the football was.

So, all in all Madden NFL 13 is looking like the best Madden game ever released and I’ve only played a small sample of it! I can’t wait to play the full version and take my team of choice to Superbowl victory!

Madden NFL 13 is due for release on August 28th in the USA and August 31st in Europe and will be available for PS3, Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii and Playstation Vita.