Madden NFL 13 Vita [Review]

  • Platform: PlayStation Vita (also on PS3, Xbox 360, Wii)
  • Published by: EA Sports
  • Developed by: Tiburon, HB Studios
  • Genre: Sports
  • ESRB Rating: E for Everyone
  • Number of Players: 1-2 (online)
  • Release Date: US: August 28th, 2012

NFL football fans and gamers worldwide are always looking forward to that time when the NFL pre-season is under way because that also means they can get in the game with a new version of hit game Madden NFL. Madden NFL 13 has received great reviews for the home console as it introduces a host of new features.  Electronic Arts has brought its award winning NFL franchise to PlayStation’s new handheld the Vita; but is it all that it can be?

Madden NFL 13 on the PlayStation Vita is by no means the image of excellence that we have seen on the console version this year. In fact, this Vita version is essentially a tolerable portable version of Madden 12. All of the new features that you find on the console version of Madden NFL 13 are NOT present on the Vita. However, it does stay intact with the standard online modes and single-player Franchise Mode, Superstar mode, and the other coaching and management options that come with them. Not only are the game modes slightly out of date, but more importantly so are the rosters and records which seem to be from the 2010-2011 season. Hopefully there will be an update to remedy this, however at this time – that’s what you get. Another new-ish feature includes voice commentary by Jim Nantz and Phil Simms from CBS Sports. These started to get a bit repetitive and half of them were actually incorrect for the plays that were made – but I guess that isn’t too different from the real life versions. *Ouch!*

Graphically, the game is not the poster boy of the Vita either. It looks better than anything you may have played on previous portable versions of the game but the stadiums look empty and audience 16-bit. During cutscenes and between plays, the videos lag with framerate issues and the players models look a little jagged. However, during the actual gameplay, animations are crisp, bright, and done very well. Not quite on the console level but surely the best we have seen on a handheld version of the franchise.

Forgetting those few negatives and getting into the meat of the sim, the gameplay – Despite the above average loading times and framerate issues during non-essential cutscenes and between plays, the Vita version of Madden NFL 13 actually plays well. Passing, kicking, receiving, and defensive actions flow great and the buttons are responsive. No doubt, this being the Vita version, a few extra features would be added that take advantage of the system’s abilities. Some of these features include mandatory motion controls when setting up the direction of a kick or running plays that require a few taps or swipes on the Vita’s rear touch-pad. In addition you have optional Vita exclusive features where you can change plays on the fly by touching the screen, picking a player, and choosing a new custom route by drawing it with your finger. Fortunately these custom plays are optional because it can get a little tricky, especially when on the defensive side and the offensive plays are made a little faster than you can pick your player and route using those functions and then get back into the game to stop their play.

When it’s all said and done, while lacking in certain aspects, the PlayStation Vita version of Madden NFL 13 is good where it matters – the gameplay. While the other functions may be tolerable at best, when you are making those play action calls or running in for the blitz, Madden NFL 13 functions great on the system. As a whole, Madden NFL 13 Vita is a basic setup to fill those football cravings when you’re on the go or if you do not have a home console to play on. Rosters were lacking in updates, certain parts of the game had loading and framerate issues, and visually, the game wasn’t anything to be in awe over. However if you’re looking for a good football sim to play on the go, go for Madden NFL 13 on the Vita.

FINAL SCORE: 6.5/10

 

(A free copy of Madden NFL 13 Vita was provided for review from EA)

 

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