It's the thick of the NFL season once again, and as it has been since 2005, there's only one licensed football vidoe game, Maddn NFL 13. This years touted additions are:
The Ifinity Engine:
"With Physics You Can Feel, Madden NFL 13 delivers Next Generation gameplay today. Powered by the all-new Infinity Engine, true player impact and authentic momentum transfer ensure that no two plays ever look or feel the same."
"Live the NFL dreamwhenever you want, wherever you want in a fully interactive, social, and connected online experience. Create your personal legacy or relive an all-time legends as you build the ultimate franchise as a coach, an NFL superstar, or yourself. Manage your team from your console, the web, or mobile phone in a 24/7 world as NFL insiders and experts analyze, praise, and criticize every move along the way"
Read and React Defense:
"With a completely redesigned passing game including new a new pass-ready system and improved play action, and the all-new read and react defensive AI system that features the most intelligent pass defense to date, Madden NFL 13 achieves greater realism on the virtual gridiron on both sides of the ball."
Better lead passing and trajectories:
(see also Read and React defense)
Madden sure pulled out all the stops for what should be it's curtain call on this generation of consoles. Yes we are nearing the end of another console generation, and the more things change, the more they stay the same. Take for instance the fact that EA can't seem to add anything to Madden NFL without stripping major parts or features. This is their M.O., anyone who has bought the game over a ten year span knows the feeling. They get used to a feature that just seemed to get the attention it deserved only to be plucked from the game and never seen again, or to return in pseudo fashion.
It's no wonder people pan for 2K to return. If your looking for a football fix, something different from the norm, and just want an all around fun game. i suggest BackBreaker the Physical Football Originator! That's right, I said it the ORIGINATOR. While EA has the animations, the photo real look of the players and licensed stadiums and music, it gets nothing else right. It dawned on me while my short play time with Madden 13, that even with the addition of the Infinity Engine (for all intents and purposes is really just an articulation engine as all of the collisions are pre renedered animations chosen by the cpu), Madden is still making football moments happen in the game rather than situational football.
Every other football game this generation has been able to use animation to get the players to look and act realitically in a football manner while EA/Tiburon still makes things happen that are not fundementally sound from a football perspective and make even less sense logically once you break down the film.
Madden this generation has been too neat, tidy, and controlled. Your no longer playing football with all of it's intricacies and strategy. The players on the field have no bearing or resemblance to their real world counter parts other than likeness and name. You have 11 players on offense, and 11 players on defense and for all of it's touted animations, there might as well be a 4vs4 because all of the players move exactly the same. (Is it too processor intensive to have WRs come to the line with 3-4 different walking animations?) All of the running backs run the same, All of the wideouts can perform the same insane catches, hell there might as well be 11 #90's on defense because there's not even such a disticntion as to separate a off corner from a press man corner...I say all of that to say this...since Madden and it's developers continue to get even the most basci football fundementals wrong, and they don't seem to care about fixing them, why pay $60 when you can pay $20 or less for games that do respect football fundementals and the human form.
I'm speaking of games like All Pro Football and BackBreaker...."did he just mention All Pro Football and that trash BackBreaker in the same breath?" Yes, yes I did, and here's why. BackBreaker suffered from lack of polish. I believe the game was in development by Natural Motion and 505 games for about 3 years. Had the game had:
Better player models / Madden gets the gold star here
Motion captured animations / Madden hasn't used these in years, but already had a library deep in reserve
Better presentation / NFL2K5 and All Pro Football 2K8 still blow Madden away in this category to this day.
it would have had a better chance at garnering more than mediocre critics. One thing it got that Madden still doesn't respect is situational football and respect to the players on the field. This is where BackBreaker almost embarrassingly beats Madden. You see, BackBreaker gets at least the fundementals of football and physics correct. Players move and look like robots, but they do what they are designed to do on the field and they do so based on their ratings...yeah, anyone whose played Madden knows that the only rating in the game that meant anything before the addition of speed threshold was.....well, speed. In BackBreaker, the ratings have more bearing to the actions on the field.
These are the main areas of importance to BackBreaker. Take for instance Lesean McCoy of the Philadelphia Eagles.
He would need to be fast, agile, focused and fairly strong in the BackBreaker realm to be a good back, but he would also need a group of agile, strong, and focused blockers for him to have any success. This is where BackBreaker trumps Madden. As I mentioned before, Madden makes things happen through animation, it doesn't matter if players have to slide, morph or what have you in order to make these things happen. If your TE is supposed to miss a block to let the QB get sacked, that's what's going to happen and it's going to happen through an animation. In BackBreaker, if your TE gets beat on a block, he probably was slower, weaker, or less focused than the player he was blocking, he simply missed, or he fell from a collision.
Many people felt the camera and passing were too difficult in BackBreaker, but I think it contributes to the realism of the game. Even I myself had a difficult time adjusting to the passing but soon realised it was actual a revision of the Madden Vision Cone. You have to be looking at the receiver you want to pass the ball to. In would contribute a lot of the mistakes BackBreaker made to being impressionable by Madden. There are a lot of similarities between the two games even though they couldn't be more individual. both games prohibit blocking of field goals, punts by limiting user interactions, and both games have difficulty with balancing an effective 4 man rush with good line protection and interaction.
The most disliked feature of BackBreaker may be what makes the game so enjoyable. The camera being from an on the field 3rd person perspective limits what you can see of the field. In Madden you can see the entire field this makes playing both sides of the ball equally unchallenging. Add in speed, and you have the ability as a safety or linebacker to covera unfatomable amounts of space in unrealistc time. In BackBreaker, you have to play your responsiblilty...guess wrong and your going to be out of place, and possbily responsible for touchdown. This is the best part of the game. Yes the copmputer AI is dumb, no dumber than Madden, but the Euphoria engine makes every tackle different unlike it's licesnsed counterpart. Get a QB in your grasp, and he can still get the pass off, but he may also get stripped and fumble, what I'm trying to get at is that football in BackBreaker is unpredictable. You may face a 4-3 cover 2 zone, but you may be facing a fast focused linebacker, or a slow, agile strong safety. Your receiver might fall down, or your line might get be by the rush... certain plays work well against others sometimes too well and running is a chore of dedication. But it's my belief that BackBreaker is a more affordable and enjoyable physics based football game where Madden 13 is simply more stylish and polished. The physics in BackBreaker are more respectable because you can actually effect a play. You can converge on a receiver along with 2 other team mates and push the pile forward or back. You can have tackles of 3 or more players...I can't recall ever seeing a tackle in Madden 13 that involved more than 2 defenders...I bet you ahven't either.
If you want an inexpensive customizable football game based on physics, pick up BackBreaker new, it did physics best first and deserves at least that recognition.