The Madden NFL 13 demo has arrived, and EA Sports held little back for this preview. Not only does it feature full five-minute quarters, but Jim Nantz and Phil Simms' commentary is available throughout.
That is a rarity, as the announcers are generally left out of sports video game demos.
Needless to say, I began this demo impression process impressed. Once the game started, I became even more pleased. The animation makes it feel like a different game.
This is coming from someone who has played the series for more than a decade, so I'm well acquainted with the game's history.
It's video game football, so don't take "it feels like a different game" to mean the view is entirely different, or that now you get jet-packs or something off the wall.
If you're used to playing Madden, you'll know what I mean.
The use of the new physics-based Infinity Engine is the biggest change to the gameplay, and it is certainly an improvement.
I was never a Madden basher, although I've always pined for more TV-style presentation, but it's hard to see how someone wouldn't notice the difference between the collision detection now and before.
Realistic pile-ups occur on top of your ball-carriers. Guys are tackled, and if one body is lying on top of another body, they will rise to their feet realistically. It looks and feels a lot more like real football.
Total Control Passing
The gameplay also receives a boost from the Total Control Passing improvements.
I led receivers effectively using both Robert Griffin III and Alex Smith (for the nine pass plays I called for him) in my time.
Check out these videos from one of my first full games on the demo:
Getting the Tough Yardage
The running game was sound.
I was able to set up my blocks, and the O-line's A.I. was sharp enough to make the blocks it should make. My defensive players reacted realistically in coverage, as did the CPU's defensive players.
Quite honestly, I was amazed at how sharply the game played in the demo.
I am completely stoked to get my hands on the retail version with all 32 teams and the full complement of features.
The game feels more like a TV broadcast, and that is the feel I covet.
Simms and Nantz are leaps and bounds better than Gus Johnson and Cris Collinsworth from last year. Their commentating seems to be more player-specific and more applicable to the given situation.
The voice inflections occur in the right areas, and there is more of a conversational value between the announcers team than there was before.
Need an Update
If you need to be brought up to speed on what to expect—from a features standpoint—in Madden 13, check out my Madden 13 tracker. It will tell you all you need to know about this year's game.
The Madden 13 demo is downloadable now on Xbox Live and will be available Tuesday afternoon on PSN and PS Vita.
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