Is there really any point to reviewing Madden? It’s Madden. If you love football, you should probably buy it.
That’s the easy part, a decision made simple because of Madden’s consistency and the complete lack of a viable alternative. But while the PS3 and the Xbox versions get all the attention, there’s also a Wii version that attempts to carve out its own path. Is there a compelling argument to make for the Wii version over the PS3 or Xbox 360 edition?
No. There’s no argument to be made. The Wii version is the runt of the console litter, inferior in pretty much every way that matters. But that doesn’t mean it’s a bad game by any stretch. There are plenty of reasons why Wii-only owners should look forward to picking up Madden 13, whether it’s an annual ritual or not.
We last reviewed football on the Wii with Madden 11, and other than the typical year-over-year minor improvements, there’s not a whole lot that feels new or different, besides the obvious upgraded rosters. Presentation, audio, visuals, etc. all feel appropriately Madden-esque, though toned down for the Wii’s less powerful hardware.
Madden on the Wii continues to take a more cartoonish visual approach, compared to the photo-realism attempted by the other console versions. 300 pound linemen are built like refrigerators, fleet wide receivers are as lean as gazelles, and there are a few other body types in between. Given that the Wii can’t match the resolution of the other consoles, it makes perfect sense to go in a more stylistic direction, adopting the same graphic style that worked in the decidedly goofier Madden NFL Arcade, and that helps Madden 13 on the Wii look more like its own game, and less like a poor cousin.
Madden 13 offers the expected slate of game modes, with 5-on-5 and 11-on-11 single-game matches, an extensive franchise mode, individual challenges, and multiplayer minigames. As usual, fans will get their year’s worth of football action out of this game, before it’s time to start all over again with Madden 14, though because this is the Wii, the experience is entirely offline. Franchise mode is where you should be spending the majority of your time, building your favorite team year over year, including trades, free agent signings, adjusting coaching philosophies, and even pricing out concessions. There’s a lot of stuff you can do, but the game also wisely lets you focus on what you care about and just dabble in the rest.
As a family title, Madden 13 might be a bit friendlier on the Wii than on the other consoles, because of its play modes (the 5-on-5 for example), and for keeping things fairly simple. In local multiplayer, families can go head-to-head in competition, or play as different players on the same team.
Where the Wii version does stand out from the crowd is the variety of control options. While the vast majority of Madden players will prefer the traditional controller-based approach (which the Wii offers via the classic controller), the Wii version also offers the surprisingly effective Wiimote and Nunchuk alternative, as well as a sideways-held Wiimote option. The Wiimote and Nunchuk choice utilizes the buttons and the analog stick on the Nunchuk while also incorporating point-and-click and waggle controls on the Wiimote to create a control scheme that can actually provide more challenge that the traditional method, without seeming completely out of place.
The GamerPops Recommendation
If the Wii is your only option, then Madden 13 for the Wii shouldn’t leave you with too many complaints. While it lacks all of the bells and whistles of its PS3 & Xbox 360 brethren, it’s a well-made and deep version of America’s favorite game. That said, if you have other options, there’s really no compelling reason for the Wii version to be your game of choice, which makes this specific version applicable only to football fans that only own a Wii. Are there that many of you out there?
A review copy was provided to GamerPops.
ESRB Rating Summary
Rating: E for Everyone
Content descriptors: No Descriptors
Rating summary: This is a realistic football simulation game in which players can select teams from real NFL rosters, create and run plays, arrange playbooks, improve skills, and create/manage a franchise. Football games are presented with extensive player statistics and commentary from professional broadcasters.