Getting “Madden 13”; or, “How I learned to stop worrying and love the wildly inaccurate stats.”

I wrote a post last August about the reasons I wouldn’t get Madden 13.  The reasons were: “no importing custom rosters into franchise connected careers mode, no editing players’ equipment or jersey numbers, and no “Madden IQ” difficulty setting.  Last Autumn, patches were released to fix the first two problems.  So, I got the game.

I’m having fun with it, but it definitely has issues.  The physics engine is kind of neat just because it means different animations than the old, stale one we had seen so much of, but as far as simulating the standard physics of the known universe, it is not really very accurate.  Players will bend and contort and flop in improbable directions.  A lineman’s foot will brush against a receiver lying on the field after a play and he will be thrown sprawling across the turf.  It’s awesome to watch, but not exactly realistic.

The other problem goes back to that “Madden IQ” issue I alluded to.  I still miss it.  I play on the “All-Pro” setting, and the game is not very challenging.  Now, it is true, I have a custom quarterback with maxed-out stats, but he’s not the reason I’m doing so well. In fact, he has–or I have–thrown nearly forty interceptions in the season and two games remain.  And the crazy thing is, my team is 12-2!

How do they manage to survive and thrive despite the star quarterback having possibly the worst season in the league?  Answer: the running game and defense, of course.  The defense is first in the league, and it isn’t close.  I can just sit there and have one of my players do nothing and my 10 defenders will almost always stop the CPU’s 11 offensive players.  The good news is, the interception thing seems to work both ways, as my defense is picking off opposing QB’s at nearly the same clip that I’m throwing them.

As for the running game, it seems broken, but I’m hesitant to complain about it too much because it’s clearly an attempt at fixing previous iterations’ flaws.  I refer to the outside running game.  In past Maddens, calling a pitch play or wide-receiver reverse was tantamount to taking a knee–only with more chance of fumbling.  Pitch plays almost never worked until Madden 11, and then only when carefully set up. Reverses never worked except maybe on lower difficulties with blazingly fast receivers

They’ve fixed that now–outside rushing is deadly in this game.  I once got a 20-yard rush off a pitch play to the right, then ran hurry-up, audibled into the same play to the left, and was able to snap the ball before the defense had even gotten back from the right side of the field.  Their safety did ultimately catch me somehow, but only after a huge gain.

The point is, the outside running game is practically a cheat now.  (The inside running game might be, too–haven’t tried it much yet.  Haven’t needed to.)  I think it’s because of the physics engine–the crazy ways that players interact with each other have seemingly helped the running game, though I can’t quite explain how.

All that said, it’s a fun game.  The graphics are nice.  It has good sound.  There are lots of different facemasks, which I’m happy about.  The RPG-like mechanics they put into connected careers are pretty cool. It’s a good game, but it’s still no Madden 11.

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