Review: Madden NFL 13 (Wii U)

Still solid after all these years

It's hard to believe that it's been 25 years since the first Madden Football release, and given that the game has been released on pretty much every gaming platform imaginable over the years, it was pretty much a given we'd see a release on Nintendo's new console. While Madden NFL 13 on the Wii U has lost a bit of detail and the Infinity physics engine, there are at least a few new hardware-specific features to give the game a little added punch.

Madden NFL has come a long way since the early years. Now not only do you have control of the players, you've got just about total control of all football operations from the top down. This means you'll not just be playing on the field, but drafting and trading players, making personnel decisions, and even calling plays as a coach and coordinator. It's actually shocking just how much involvement you can have in Career Mode. Of course if you're just looking for a quick game, Madden NFL 13 offers that up as well.

"Play Now" is the mode for players just looking to jump right into the game itself. Here you'll be able to choose your teams and hit the field without all of the bells and whistles the other modes involve. There's even an online mode where you can take on players across the world using your EA Origin account. But if you want something a little more meaty, the "Play Career" mode has all you need. Not only can you take on your career as either a coach or player, you can also delve into everything from personnel decisions to calling plays on the field as a coach. And that's just the beginning, as there are a huge number of tasks to perform in this mode that will keep even the most die-hard NFL fan busy.

Gameplay remains fairly standard for a modern Madden NFL title so longtime players should feel right at home. You've got the option of using a variety of controllers including the Wii Remote and Nunchuk, the Wii U Game Pad or the Wii U Pro Controller. Of course, using the Game Pad offers up the use of the touchscreen which can make play-calling a lot easier. You will have to learn the mammoth playbook for the various offenses if you hope to get the calls in before a delay of game penalty is called - and that takes a quick touch and fast thought process.

As if all of the game options weren't enough, Madden NFL 13 also added in a host of additional features. These range from "Fantasy Football" to an assortment of videos to watch. There's also the Madden Gridiron Club that produces a stead stream of new content and player rewards all season long. Needless to say, you will never be at a loss for things to do in Madden NFL 13.

Visually, Madden NFL 13 on Wii U isn't quite up to what you'd expect from a next generation console. The loss of the innovative physics engine of the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions means you're going to get only a set number of player animations, but it's not a big loss once you get past it. The player models themselves are solid, albeit it a bit jagged at times. The frame rate is adequate, but there is a bit more stuttering than you'd expect from the Wii U. As much as it sounds like a broken record, you just expect more from a console with the power of the Wii U.

You can't help but appreciate a great audio package and Madden NFL 13 definitely delivers. From the play-by-play announcing of the CBS sports team of Jim Nance and Phil Simms to the realistic football and crowd sounds, everything in the game sounds just like you're watching football on your couch on a Sunday afternoon. It's clear that EA has really pulled out the stops to make the game as authentic an NFL experience as you could get from an audio standpoint, and it pays off big time in the finished product.

Conclusion

Madden NFL 13 for Wii U might have lost a little in the translation, but it's still a great game with an absolute insane amount of things to do. When you toss in the ability to tackle the game from both a player and coaching standpoint, you get a lot of variety and depth to play with. Given the Wii U's processing power, it would have been nice to see a sharper, more detailed visual presentation, but the difference is so minimal, it's hardly worth complaining. Suffice it to say, if you're a Madden NFL fan and you own a Wii U, this is definitely a title you're going to want to at least consider adding to your game library.

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