Game Room: August Roundup

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Madden 13
Photo: Electronic Arts

Madden 13

Publisher: Electronic Arts
System: Xbox 360, PS3, PS Vita, Wii, Wii U

It's easy to look at the Madden series as being an annual cash-in: a roster update with a few minor tweaks in a given year. The great news for football fans is that this year's edition is about as complete an experience as fans could ask for, with a wide variety of play tweaks, graphical and physics improvements that make it the best Madden of this console generation. The interface is simplified, with easy egress to the online component and a clearer selection of game modes. The most critical new mode is Connected Careers, which lets players choose or create a coach or a player and guide them through multiple seasons and, ultimately, a career. The new mode can be played online with friends or solo, and can be played in a variety of different ways, whether you like scouting new prospects and building up a team or getting your hands on the ball. It's extraordinarily flexible, and completely engrossing, and can even be managed online when gamers are away from their consoles.

The real star of Madden 13 is the new physics engine, which completely does away with the canned animations that marked previous incarnations of the series. Every hit is different and the variety of tackles, pushes, trips, jumps and swats adds huge novelty to every play. Receivers and defenders have to be looking at the ball to have a chance of a successful catch, swat or pick, which adds a needed level of strategy, but will take some getting used to. Experienced Madden players will probably throw an unusual number of picks at first, as playing QB requires patience and awareness that previous Maddens have not. The Xbox version supports Kinect at the line for calling audibles, timeouts and hot routes, but experienced players will probably find their fingers faster and more reliable.

Madden 13 really is the best version of the game in years, maybe ever, and the new innovations don't just make the game more realistic -- they make it more fun.

Score: 10 out of 10

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