Throughout the current generation of consoles, the King has cycled through yearly installments of Madden NFL on each platform. For Madden NFL 13, the King decided to purchase the Wii version of the game for two reasons; First- the king knew that there would be few, if any, reviews for the Wii version and wanted to give the Kingdom valuable insight; Second- the King wanted to test the merit of EA Sports as the Wii era draws to a close (will EA Sports just sit on the bench by simply giving Madden 12 a roster update or will they score a last second TD for Wii owners?).
Having spent some time with Madden 13’s various gameplay modes and controller options the King proclaims that Madden NFL 13 is a winner. In fact, it is the best Wii Madden ever.
As soon as you put the disc in your Wii, you will notice a more serious Madden NFL than ever before…even the logo screen on the Wii’s home menu looks serious. The game boots with an inspiring speech and video montage starring Ray Lewis and you will also notice the EA Trax soundtrack has been replaced by a bombastic instrumental score. You will be guided through plenty of options (favorite team, amount of Madden experience, play call style, and control preference) and presented a variety of game modes (play now, franchise, multiplayer, and minigames). The game will automatically check for roster updates but there is no online play in Madden NFL 13 for the Wii. This may be a huge negative for some players, but it does not matter to the King. We buy Madden to play through the season along with the Green Bay Packers (of whom the King is a shareholder). Simply put, each gameday eve. we play Madden in order to get ready for some football.
This visuals for Madden games on the Wii have a torrid history, including everything from recycled PS2 graphics (with a slapped on Mii version of John Madden) to the distinctive “cartoon style” players introduced a few years ago. Fortunately, Madden 13 has replaced the over the top player models with more realistic (albeit still video gamey) pigskin heroes. One thing we really like is the new scoreboard and various on-field displays. These graciously disappear whenever the ball is snapped and dedicate the entire screen to the gridiron. This is something the King believes all EA Sports games, on any platform, should also do. The action on the screen moves a bit slower than the PS3 or 360 but this does not take away from the flow of the game. Players on the field will react accordingly after big plays and the instant replay system works quite well.
Simply put, the commentary and presentation are better than ever before in Madden 13. Jim Nantz and Phill Simms are actually fun (and informative) to listen to and the brief (but welcome) pre-game, halftime, and post-game updates are very cool. You will also hear authentic stadium sounds (i.e. “Go, Pack, Go! and “Bang the drum all day”)and the home crowd gets fired up at the proper times during the game. It is also fun (and somewhat realistic) to hear John Madden ramble on whenever you glean his play-calling wisdom.
Franchise mode now has a bidding war when signing players and you will get a bit nervous after creating yourself, boosting every attribute to 99, and watching your rival try to outbid you. Other than that, anyone familiar with previous Madden’s will be quite comfortable with this year’s franchise mode.
As stated previously, multiplayer in Madden 13 is strictly a local affair. It is in the multiplayer modes where Madden’s sense of humor comes to play and there are plenty of “party game” options to be found (5 on 5, Huddle up, and the “multiplayer franchise mode” called Road to the Super Bowl).
There is a control option for everyone and options to fine tune each of them (Wii remote sideways, Classic Controller, Nunchuck/remote). Plus, the excellent Call Your Shots feature is here in all its glory! Which begs the question- Since you can use the Call Your Shots feature with the Classic Controller, why isn’t it in the PS3 and 360 versions?
Bottom line- If you need online play, this is not the game for you. If you don’t care about online play, you can thank EA Sports for giving Madden NFL a proper swan song on the Wii.
8/10 Thus saith the King