Top critical review
Not for the curious
on 13 August 2013
Being a big fan of EAs Fifa, NHL, NBA and Fight Night franchises I decided to give Madden a go. I'm not a major American Football fan but I have watched my fair share of late night games and superbowls, so thought it might be fun. To start with the positive - the game looks great and the controls, once you find the in-game manual, are reasonably straight forward. Played a couple of exhibitions and it was ok, although the opposition ran rings around my defence while I tried to figure out how to change to the correct player and how to perform hits. I got completely trounced but that's fair enough for a beginner.
Now on to the negative - the biggest problem with this game is that there is no tutorial... at all. You are expected to know abbreviations, plays, strategies and tactics right off the bat without explanation. I picked a few plays in exhibitions and tried to figure out how best to approach the game, but felt like my choices were completely random having no idea what strategies should be used at what point. To make it worse the commentators kept voicing their opinion of my poor decision making and after a bit of time and being none the wiser it just became frustrating. I avoided the franchise options as I wasn't familiar with it and went on the superstar mode - my favourite part of the EA games in recent years. Unfortunately the lack of knowledge of the game became apparent again as I created my superstar, with abbreviations for position and ratings that meant nothing to me and were chosen pretty much at random. I went through the training camp with little understanding of what I was trying to achieve, and then played my first game. The difference with Madden, and American Football in general I guess, is that your superstars position defines how often you are on the field. I was playing as quarterback (one of the few abbreviations I knew when choosing my position) and made a few plays leading to an interception. The game then simulated a bunch of plays into some future part of the game and my team were suddenly trailing. I did a few more plays which consisted of me choosing the play, pressing A and then either pressing a pass button or standing still, and then when my team scored a touchdown it took another jump into the future, and my team are trailing again. It went on like this for a couple of minutes and the game was over. My team won (I think), but I felt absolutely no involvement in the win. It was like the game just passed me by. It was boring. I really didn't feel any compulsion to move on to the next game or training camp, and the xbox was switched off.
I am sure if you are a die-hard NFL fan and know all the plays and the tactics then this game may be the best thing ever, but for a curious semi-fan or novice there is just nothing pulling you in and with no attempt to impart knowledge of the sport in the game you just feel like a spare wheel to the CPU players making the hits and finding the positions. It is frustrating and frankly boring for a novice, so if you are just trying it out for fun don't expect to play it for long.