Madden 13 Vita review
Madden NFL Football’s debut on the Playstation Vita is a mixture of positives and negatives. If you recall from my preview, I was mostly happy with the gameplay, as it felt quite natural on Sony's new handheld. On one hand, Vita owners finally get a portable version of Madden 13, which outshines last year's 3DS Madden Football debut. However, some technical issues and problems keep it from scoring a touchdown.
If you’ve ever played Madden 12 you know exactly what to expect gameplay-wise. Running and passing the ball felt natural and longtime fans of the series will be impressed with the Vita's graphical and gameplay capabilities. Defense also feels fluid and fun, as nothing is better than blasting Michael Vick with a hit stick from Patrick Willis while sitting in a classroom. This is Madden on the go, and playing it is a blast. The touted Infinity Engine and Connected Careers aren’t included in this version of the game though, instead you get the solid gameplay from Madden 12 meshed with the new, albeit lackluster, commentary of Phil Simms and Jim Nantz.
There is an empty feeling to the game that starts with the main menu. You have four choices; Play Now, Online, Game Modes and My Madden. The first two are self-explanatory while game mode opens up into franchise, superstar and Madden Moments Live. This is a pretty lackluster game mode set, but the on-field action will have you coming back for more.
Madden 13 unfortunately doesn’t get along with its PS3 counterpart, like MLB 12: The Show does. This seems like a terrible oversight as playing Madden on PS3 then syncing your save to the cloud to be able to continue where you left off seems like an obvious feature. Now you have to make a separate season on the PS3 and Vita instead of just focusing on one, that is, if you buy both versions of course.
Speaking of the Vita and PS3 comparison, the Vita version of the game feels much easier than its console counterpart. I was able to run the score up multiple times on various teams in the Vita version while I faced stifling defenses and precision offenses on the PS3 version.
During my time with the game I had two separate freezing issues. Both of them occurred in Superstar mode, one during a practice and one after I finished a game. The more serious one actually turned my Vita off, while the other one let me just exit out of the game. In both instances I lost my progress, which is absolutely annoying. Nothing is more frustrating than playing three preseason games with Morris Claiborne and having it wiped out without warning.
There is a lag that is present throughout the game that bogs it down a bit, except when you’re actually on the field. This includes the presentation, the menus, stats screens, and depth chart. Luckily the game runs silky-smooth during the most important part, the gameplay.
Are you tired of hearing about the games problems? Well a terrible fatigue system that seems to take players out of action for way too long isn't going to be the solution. This inexplicably carries over through halftime (about 15 minutes in real life) where your players are still tired. Halftime should restore all of your players back to perfect fatigue as it’s literally impossible for an NFL player to be winded sitting down in a locker room. Running the ball tires out running backs way too quickly and they’re out for an extended period of time. I would run Demarco Murray a few times and he would sit out the same number of plays he was in for. Hopefully this is fixable in a patch.
Madden 13 for Vita is a solid game, albeit with a few hiccups, for being the first football game on a new platform. The gameplay is easily the best part of the package while the rest holds back what could have been a truly fantastic Madden game. If you're not planning on taking your season on the go, you might as well just stick with the console versions. If you've been wearing your favorite team's jersey all last week in preparation for this release, you'll most likely find an enjoyable, portable Madden experience that is slightly bogged down buy a few bugs and lack of modes.