Thursday, October 25, 2012

Despite patches and updates, Madden 13 still disappoints

I’ll preface this by saying the gameplay is tremendous and the graphics are outstanding. This year’s Madden, plagued by a lack of features gamers have come to love and expect, has to be viewed as disappointing, though.

It started when EA Sports decided to remove franchise and superstar modes, as they were known, and replace them with the new, shiny “Connected Careers” mode, which integrates both into a sort of hybrid. On the surface, the mode looks great and has some really cool, in-depth features. Many did not like this.

You couldn’t just start up a season and go. You couldn’t do fantasy drafts. You couldn’t create teams anymore. You couldn’t even edit players.

In fairness, EA and Tiburon rushed to fix the issues. First, they implemented a patch for Online Connected Careers that would allow you to do a fantasy draft in your Coach mode, the closest resemblance to Franchise. But that update was still broken.

While you could draft a franchise, you were limited to the “scouting” done by the computer in regard to your team. So when you went to choose a quarterback, even if you were the first pick, they weren’t all there and there was no way to find them. Even though Tom Brady, Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers may have been available, you were limited to Brandon Weeden and Josh Freeman because that’s what your team’s scouts saw as a best fit for your team. In a way it makes sense to have those tasks delegated, but it’s also nice to be able to have control over your team.

Then EA again released a patch, this time the monster of all monsters, which was to fix all the remaining issues and put those features everyone expected back into the game. While it did take care of a lot of the things people had complained about, there is still room for improvement.

After editing rosters, it seemed some of the changes didn’t stick. Players whose numbers were changed went right back to their old numbers. Guys who had been edited suddenly shrank in size.

Again, this game is a lot of fun to play. The gameplay, aside from guys occasionally flopping around like spaghetti noodles thanks to the new Infinity engine, is crisp. The AI could use some improving but that’s to be expected. If you like just picking up a game and playing online against others, or just doing “Play Now” games, then it is superb. But if you’re in it for the General Manager-type aspects you’ve expected in the past, the frustrations will mount.

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