Jayson Young: Like NCAA Football 13, the Madden NFL 13 demo is plagued with longstanding issues such as outdated line play, questionable AI decisions, unrealistic player movement, suction blocking, etc. Above all, it's these legacy issues that make the Madden NFL 13 demo feel stale and unexciting.
That said, the Infinity Engine does feature some legitimately cool additions like incidental player collisions. I love how players can now get tripped up and go into a stumble animation if they don't watch where they're running.
Unfortunately, for every collision that looks great, there are others that play out like a slapstick comedy routine from The Three Stooges. Barely touching the back of an offensive lineman can cause the ball-carrier to spin off five yards in the opposite direction. Some of the new tackling animations are so over-the-top and high-flying they look like they belong on Monday Night Raw, not Monday Night Football. The post-whistle pileups the Infinity Engine creates are equally ugly, featuring lots of body clipping and limb twitching, which shouldn't be acceptable in 2012. Even the reworked tackling sound effects are overdone, sounding more like a canon shot than two human bodies colliding.
Presentation-wise, Phil Simms' and Jim Nantz's announcing is tolerable, though a bit long-winded. However, many of the same announcing errors from Madden NFL 12 are still in Madden NFL 13. For example, my defense surrendered a first down while playing a Tampa 2 zone, then Phil Simms delivered a diatribe on how stupid I was for playing man-to-man coverage. Cris Collinsworth had the same problem distinguishing between man and zone coverages when he was commentating in Madden NFL 12. On another play, I was able to overcome the terrible blocking AI en route to an 18-yard gain up the sideline, only to be scolded by Phil Simms for not following my (nonexistent) running lanes.
In short, there is nothing in this free demo that has me excited to keep playing it, let alone pay $60 for the full game when it arrives in stores. For every good change the Madden NFL 13 team has made, there are a dozen other generation-long issues or newly introduced quirks that ultimately sack Madden NFL 13's fun factor in the backfield for a loss.
This is still Madden, which means a lot of the same old quirky issues are alive and well.
Chris Sanner: As the reviewer for NCAA Football 13, I was pretty rough on EA football as a whole. Legacy issues mar both franchises, and at the very least, it appeared Madden NFL 13 was on the path towards really fixing a lot of what ailed the series. I don't think I had unrealistic expectations coming into my time with the Madden NFL 13 demo, I truly felt the game would feel a step up from NCAA Football 13 at the very least with the new physics engine.
With that in mind, I truly think that we're seeing another Madden with quirky legacy issues that just won't go away, but that still plays a good game of classic Madden football -- the question you have to ask yourself is if you like that brand of football or not? The new collision system is better than the old one I think, but there are a few small quirks and problems with it that Jayson described above. Another thing many won't be able to look past is that this game, for all intents and purposes, is still Madden.
So expect the same old issues to crop up, the same feel, all of that. Madden NFL 13 is an evolutionary title, not a revolution.
Sticking to a similar formula means a lot of the same issues you are used to, with new ones from the infinity engine mixed in, will be present in this year's Madden. So basically, if you were expecting a game-changing year from the Madden franchise -- one where quality magically skipped ahead dramatically by a huge margin -- you are probably in for a major disappointment.
For the rest of us, I don't think Madden is going to be a bad or even average game -- I think it's a solid to good title from what I'm seeing to be sure. But I think reeling in expectations somewhat is a prudent thing to do if you were expecting a completely different game. From what I've heard from guys who have played the full version, Madden is a good and solid title. From my own observations via the demo, Madden NFL 13 is that type of a game, which means Madden won't be winning game of the year awards this year. The demo's gameplay ensures us of that probability
The Infinity Engine has some cool moments to be sure, but also some first gen quirks.
Caley Roark: I mostly agree with Jayson; while the Infinity Engine enables some neat moments, this demo generally feels like the same old Madden.
I suppose, in some ways, that is a testament to the integration of a new physics engine. It could have been way overdone, both to emphasize the newness of the engine and to grab the user's attention. Instead, we get finely tuned (for the most part) implementation, with only the occasional oddities. I haven't seen some of the more flagrant issues Jayson has up to this point.
However, the animations leading up to and after tackles seems like things we've seen before. There are still too few penalties, and line play doesn't seem changed at all. I like some of the new presentation elements, but I wonder how long it will be until the new guys seem as repetitive as the old ones?
In all, color me underwhelmed. That doesn't mean I think this demo represents a bad game. I've had fun over the past few years with Madden, and I like what's been added. I am most excited for the Connected Careers mode; unfortunately that's not something I can judge from this demo.
It's just that, as a whole, the demo didn't blow me away.
Simms and Nantz aren't a huge step up from last year's broadcast team.
Keni Glover: I've been out of the Madden loop for the last two years so I guess I fall into the "casual" category when it comes to the Madden franchise. The thought bubble near my head when I play Madden demos year after year reads something like "Is this this the year that I will actually have a reason to spend $60 on this game?"
Well after playing the demo, I think I'll be sitting on the sidelines for yet another season.
From the outset, the presentation of the game is sharp. Introductions and overlays are clean and resemble a live TV broadcast. The virtual Jim Nantz and Phil Simms look good and add a nice little touch in that regard. Their commentary also seems well done and fluid. I do however wonder how repetitive the commentary will be in the retail game, as I already heard some repeated lines in the demo.
The animations were the first thing that struck me when play began. Players seemed to glide down the feild, as it appears that foot planting is very minimal if present at all. I also didn't notice any sense of momentum when changing directions. The highlight of the gameplay is the new infinity engine which allows for some nice looking tackles and collisions. The drawback however is the ragdoll-effect the system tends to allow for, often leaving player bodies contorted in very unnatural positions.
In general, the gameplay felt quite familiar to what one might expect from a Madden game. I resisted the urge to drop back 10 feet for a pass though I didn't feel particularly safe in the pocket. Once again, blocking in the pocket does not seem genuine and my offensive linemen played the matador in some cases. At times however, the line did provide me a few precious moments to allow my recievers to make a cut on their route. Run blocking has never appealed to me in Madden and it didn't seem too much better in my time with the demo. I never felt the ability to really follow a blocker through a hole up the middle was represented well in any Madden I've played, this one included.
Interceptions felt a little less cheap and it felt good to thread the needle with a perfectly placed Eli Manning bullet pass. Passing physics did feel slightly better however.
Overall the demo was fun in spots, but generally did not provide a compelling enough experience for me to want to spend much time with it. I don't see myself dropping coin on Madden this year, at least not based off of the demo.
What do you think? Is Madden a buy or no buy after playing the demo?