Here I go again. Another year and another review of Madden. Since the Sega Genesis days I’ve spent my hard earned money every year for the new Madden (except for the one year where I bought the greatness that was NFL 2K5). Why? Well that’s because I’m a huge fan of the NFL, and now Madden is the only video game in town where the league still exists. Once I start playing a game I shut out the world around me,  and my mind focuses in only on the action on the screen. Nothing is going to stop me from making that big touchdown pass, getting the all important sack or game changing interception, or winning the Super Bowl. Yes, Madden is that big of a deal.

Now coming into this season something came over me. For the first time in over a decade I wasn’t interested in purchasing the new Madden. Call it blasphemy, but I’m really serious. In last year’s review I was a little disappointed with the game due to shitty commentary and a lack of new features to make the game more “real!” Basically I once again felt like I had a $60 roster update. At E3 I was disappointed with the terrible lag with the Joe Montana check collecting play calling Kinect presentation. I was ready to give up, but part of me said not to, so I bought the game and I’m glad that I did. So let me term this as “EA Sports: Better Than Any Madden Game!”

So where do I begin? Well let’s start with the presentation and commentary. Gone is the boring and broken play by play call of Gus Johnson and Cris Collinsworth who are replaced by Jim Nantz and Phil Simms from CBS Sports. The number one commentary crew on CBS bring more than just new blood. Their calling style is fun and fresh and their interaction works so well with the action taking place on the screen. The CBS style of presentation is also noticed throughout the game with the scoreboard, opening intro, camera angles, and starting lineups presented by Papa John’s who keep telling me about a free pizza, but never seem to send me one. What’s up with that?

The biggest change comes with what was once known as Franchise mode. Well, it no longer exists. Then again neither does Superstar mode either. They’ve now been combined to form Connected Careers. Playing either online or offline I created my own player with Kinect and went through the grueling season gaining wotking mu way up the depth chart and gaining valuable XP. I really enjoyed this mode even though I could only control myself. Of course I can also choose an existing player as well. Coaching was also an available option allowing me to call the shots as well as control the players on the field which makes this option as close to the old Franchise mode as I can get. Honestly, I like the changes here because the old way was getting a little boring.

My personal favorite game mode is still Madden Ultimate Team. The card collecting mode that feels like an RPG hasn’t changed much, but it’s still a blast to play. MUT is more than just a mode to play against friends or the computer. In a way really feels like a Franchise Mode where I can trade buy, sell, and trade off players to help build my team. Rewards are also aplenty here where I had a superstar player to start building my team around (I chose Aaron Rodgers) and there’s multiple challenges to compete for other legendary card bonuses. MUT is where all the fun is, and where I’ll once again spend the majority of my time.

Other than some of the new features, playing Madden is still pretty much the same game. Gameflow is still a good option to utilize although the full playbook is still available. The hit stick function has been slightly improved and still kicks ass. Online play is still fantastic even in co-op, but they still need to find a way to deal with the annoying rage quitters. There are some new animations like “Tebowing” that made it’s way into the game. Sadly, Chad Johnson‘s “head butting” didn’t make the cut.

EA Sports and Tiburon made some key changes making this year’s edition of Madden the best and most authentic version of the NFL experience ever. Then again this is also the biggest overhaul to the gameplay they’ve ever done since gaining exclusivity to the NFL license. Hopefully they don’t decide to slack off after this and go back to the usual $60 roster update. Overall, Madden NFL 13 is must buy for all fans of football in general looking for the most authentic experience.

Developer: EA, Tiburon
Platform: Xbox 360
Players: 1-6 (Online Multiplayer)
Price: $59.99

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