Rarely a console launch comes and goes without a Madden game. It is a fixture when it comes to ushering in a new system. The Wii U is no different. EA Sports lends its perennial franchise to the launch lineup, and outside of a few omissions, it is feature-for-feature the same version we saw on 360 and PS3 earlier this year. That doesn’t mean it comes without any issues, but considering the series’ checkered past in this instance, Madden NFL 13 on the Wii U does a nice job of ushering in Nintendo’s new system.
Let’s start with the most glaring omission. The Infinity Engine that was built for this year’s game, which displays realistic tackles (and hilarious ones at times) is gone. What this means is that the entire game is working off of the traditional canned animations we have been served for years. If you have yet to play the game on the other consoles this year, it won’t matter much, but if you did, the trade-off is extremely noticeable. Watching players hit brick walls is jarring after seeing what Infinity can do, thus making this version feel a little behind the game on that aspect.
Everything else is intact, though. Connected careers makes an appearance, creating your game face, online play and seasons and all the bells and whistles are present. This game comes packed with everything you would expect from the series. The CBS style presentation also makes the transition, but I did notice some weird omissions. For example, when a QB runs onto the field his stats are missing for some reason. This type of issue plagues the game. Weird things are just suddenly missing that I remember being there in the other versions.
It is also worth noting that the game has some frame rate issues that pop up for no apparent reason. When playing a game, I would notice slowdown when the teams come to the line before a play. It is jarring to say the least, as the other two consoles didn’t seem to have this problem. The action on the Gamepad screen seems fine all the time, but on the big screen the issues are extremely noticeable. This is a common theme in a lot of Wii U titles, and I am not sure if it is the developer’s lack of time, or the inability of the hardware. Only time will tell, I suppose.
Speaking of the Gamepad, Madden uses it better than most other games at launch. You basically get the Xs and Os on the bottom screen during gameplay. This allows you to change defenses and assign hot routes on-the-fly. I love this feature. I could simply tap on my receiver, draw a line and completely change the dynamic of my play. It is quick, precise and really makes me feel like an armchair quarterback. I would go as far as to say that if they cleaned up the frame rate, and brought over the Infinity Engine, Madden on Wii U would be my preferred version next year.
Madden on the Wii U definitely has some growing pains, but I am excited to see how it turns out in the years to come. The Gamepad screen definitely enhances the experience ten-fold here. If they can clean up the stutters and toss in the Infinity Engine, this will definitely be the version to beat in the years to come. Still, if you don’t have access to the other consoles, and this is your only way to play Madden, you will be perfectly happy with this version. It has almost everything found in the other versions and awesome Gamepad screen support that isn’t available on any other console.
If you want to check out our review of the 360 and PS3 versions of the game, click here.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.