The PlayStation Vita has been around for six months now. Besides FIFA and MLB The Show, there haven’t really been any sports games on the system. Now the Vita gets Madden ’13, which one would think would allow you to bring your Connected Career with you on the go. This is not the case, as this is a stand alone version of Madden that seems eerily familiar.
Madden ’13 does not support cross-play or cross-save. This is a killer as this was an intended feature for the PlayStation Vita, and could have helped promote sales. Nova Scotia based company HB Studios is the one developing this game, with oversight from EA Tiburon. Basically, this means that they paid a company to port over Madden ’12 to the Vita. There are some things that separate this from being exactly the same thing as 2012, however.
Madden Vita features integration with the touch screen and the rear touch pad. You can select plays with the touch screen, and do the pre-play assignments with the rear touch pad. The coolest one is the ability to draw up custom routes as hot routes called Call Your Shots. Here, you select the player and use the touchpad to draw it up. The problem is with all this integration, you really don’t feel as if you have enough time before the snap to do all this. The performance, in-game, also makes these features hard to use.
Graphically, the game is pretty, but at a price. The game runs extremely sluggishly, and may only hit 30 fps in the best of situations. Even the kick meter doesn’t go up fluidly. Honestly, it doesn’t seem optimized. The game looks nearly identical to last year’s title, minus a few lighting enhancements that were on the console versions of Madden ’12. The player models, field, and stadium look great. The menu presentation, and the new in-game presentation are there, however there are less cut scenes as compared to PS3 version. The Franchise menu is exactly the same as Madden ’12, however. Jim Nantz and Phil Simms commentary made it over as well. A major problem is the game gets so sluggish, the commentary will slow down.
As for game modes, its bare-bones. It does have a franchise mode to keep you occupied, same with Superstar and online play. Problem is, the franchise mode proves this game is Madden 12.5. Upon starting your franchise, it shows last seasons team’s ratings and the team records are the 2010 team records. The menu interface is the same as Madden ’12 in Franchise Mode as well. Madden Moments did make it over, and should be updated throughout the season. On the field, it’s basically Madden ’12, as well. The A.I. seems to have some seriously lapses at time, which could be due to the speed.
As for the online play, it’s barebones as well. You can do a quick match, enter a lobby, or play friends. The lobbies are empty and the game has been out for almost a week. There is no online franchise or any type of depth. It maintains the same ranking system as the console version. As for the on the field action, there is no fall off from the single player. I experienced no lag, and there was no slowness or delay in controls.
Honestly, if you’re buying this game to be your full time football game and not the console version, it’s probably not the best idea. This is a good portable football game to take with you or play at work, but the lack of cross-saves and the Connected Careers hurt. The touch screen integration is neat, when it works. Madden ’13 for Vita is a fun experience, but I don’t recommend going out of your way to purchase this.
GRAPHICS: 7 – For a PlayStation Vita game, the player models, stadiums, and grass are top notch. Despite that and a slick interface, I can’t give a higher score for graphics due to the performance and abysmal frame rate this game gets at times. A patch could fix this, but from a small, outsourced developer, that might not happen.
PRESENTATION: 7 – Most of the look carried over from Madden ’13 on the big brother systems. Slick menus that are colorful. The in-game television graphics made it over, but lacks the intros and the cut scenes.
SOUND: 8 – Nantz and Simms sound just as fluid and professional on the Vita version as they do the console versions. The only problem is when Nantz seems to bog down occasionally due to the poor performance of the game.
GAMEPLAY: 6 – If you played Madden ’12, you’ll know what to expect. There’s no Infinity Engine in this one, but its still a good game of football on the field.
ONLINE: 7 – A solid, functional online matchup on the go. No issues in gameplay but nothing more than one-on-one matchups
REPLAY: 5 – Very bare-bones version when compared to the console versions. Madden Moments Live will be updated to keep you doing that. No cross-play or cross-save means you will play your own season separate from the console version. But, its a portable game to take with you, it will depend how much you’re on the go.
BOTTOM LINE: 7 – If you are expecting a lot from this version, you will be surely disappointed. This is basically Madden ’12 repackaged with a few Vita innovations included. It’s barebones, but Franchise and Madden Moments and the ability to play online will keep you busy if you are one to be on the go a lot. No cross-play or cross-save adds to the lack of depth to the game. Performances issues are a deal-breaker as well.