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Madden NFL 13 preview (Wii U)

MADDEN NFL 13 Screenshot - 1116124

What is it about the Madden series and EA Sports rushing the first game for a new platform just so users can get some form of football experience?  In some cases, it doesn’t fare too badly, like when Madden first appeared on the original Xbox.  However, in others, like Madden 64 on the Nintendo 64 – without the NFL license – or last year’s lacking Madden NFL Football for Nintendo 3DS – have left a bad taste in our mouths.  Now, with the Wii U, EA Sports has announced that it’s working on a special version of Madden NFL 13, one that should launch right about the same time as the system.  But will the users accept it?

There are positives and negatives to this game’s release, but let’s go ahead and get the bad stuff out of the way.  To make this year’s version “work” on the upcoming system, EA Sports has admittedly taken out a number of features.  For instance, the new Infinity Engine, the technology that will make the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions look strikingly realistic, will not be found anywhere in this edition.  That’s not to say the graphics won’t be good, but obviously it’ll appear as an alternate version of the game.

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What’s more, the Wii U edition won’t have Ultimate Team.  That means you won’t be able to unlock the hundreds of awesome cards, or take advantage of other options within the game.  What’s more, online team play won’t be happening either.  That’s not to say that multiplayer will be taken entirely out of the mix, but it sounds like the community might be a little bummed by this.

On the bright side, EA Sports is promising that Madden NFL 13 will come with a new layer of depth when it comes to gameplay.  Using the Wii U GamePad, they’ll be able to draw out plays on both the offensive and defensive side of the field.

For instance, with offense, you’ll be able to choose new receivers on the fly, switch up plays snap and pre-snap if you feel like someone’s getting a little too much coverage on scrimmage, and even draw out new routes for receivers, instead of having to configure one with the control stick.  These sound rather promising, though EA hasn’t elaborated whether the game will include the same kind of coaching options that we recently saw in FIFA 13.  Here’s to hoping.

As for defense, you’ll be able to set up blockers on the fly if you think someone isn’t getting enough coverage, or draw a running route if you want them to go a different way.  We have yet to see these in action, so it’s hard to say how the execution will be just yet.

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And though online team play isn’t happening, the Wii U version of Madden NFL 13 will come with Connected Careers, a mix of all the game’s best simulation features – mainly Online and Franchise – under one roof, where you can guide a player or coach to victory through a series of match-ups and options.  It’ll be interesting to see how this works with the Nintendo Channel set-up.

EA Sports has a big hill to climb with Madden NFL 13, as the game could easily be in the same “what a joke” realm as the 3DS, Nintendo 64 and Xbox 360 debuts, lacking in the features that football players want to see out of their product.  Still, we’ll take a better look at the game before we pass final judgment.  Who knows?  Maybe drawing all those plays really will make a difference.

Maybe…

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Robert Workman
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