Archive for the ‘Madden’ Category

Critics vs. Customers! Madden NFL 13 – PS3 & Xbox 360 Reviews Averages

September 24, 2012
Review score averages shown were captured around 5:00PM EST, on 9-24-12.

Coffee Beans
Did you know the Madden NFL video game series has been around for almost 25 years now, with a “new” Madden game being released basically every year since the series started?

Madden NFL 13 was released almost one month ago now, on August 28, 2012 for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. It released with a MSRP of $59.99 and received an ESRB rating of “Everyone” with no content listed for gamers or parents to be aware of. The game was developed by EA Tiburon, and published under Electronic Arts’ EA Sports label.

One big new feature in Madden NFL 13 is the new physics engine in the game, the Infinity Engine, which is designed to make tackles and hits more authentic, and it tries to make sure “no two plays ever look or feel the same” in the game.

We are now 3 weeks into the the official NFL season, and we have almost a full month of “professional” critic reviews and customer reviews for Madden NFL 13 to look at. Have PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 players of Madden NFL 13 agreed with critics on the game? Brew yourself some coffee, and let’s take a look!

The Brew
The first “professional” critic review scores for Madden NFL 13 started being published around August 24th, a few days before the game released.

First up, the reviews for Madden NFL 13 on the PlayStation 3. The PS3 version has a “professional” critic review score average of 84 out of 100 based on 17 reviews on MetaCritic.com, and it has a critic review score average of 84.14% based on 18 reviews on GameRankings.com.

What about the customers though, what has their reaction been to the game since it released? Well, Madden NFL 13 on the PS3 has a customer review score average of 37.35%, based on 318 customer reviews from Amazon.com.

The Xbox 360 version of Madden NFL 13 has a “professional” critic review score average of 82 out of 100 based on 32 reviews on MetaCritic.com, and it has a critic review score average of 83.37% based on 31 reviews on GameRankings.com.

Madden NFL 13 on the Xbox 360 has a customer review score average of 45.60%, based on 375 customer reviews from Amazon.com.

Broken back? Or, broken reviews?

Caffeinated Thoughts
I think the “professional” critic review score averages versus the customer review score average for Madden NFL 13 clearly show there is a disconnect somewhere. We’re not talking about a simple 10% review score average difference, we have about a 36-46% review score average difference between the “professional” critics for Madden NFL 13 and the customers for Madden NFL 13.

One of the first reviews published on August 24th, by the largest video game site on the web (see – IGN), gave the game a 9.0 out of 10. To me, the review seemed to be a well crafted PR statement almost, based on features in the game, but glazing over real issues with the game (or, simply not mentioning them). The reviewer said of one feature, “This kept me coming back to the Connected Careers week after week.” I was curious as to how many weeks he had the review copy, so I asked and according to the reviewer he had it maybe 2-3 weeks before his review was published; which was a full 2-3 weeks before the game released and was available to the general gaming public.

Why does this matter? Early in his review he states, “At a glance, Madden NFL 13 might just look like Madden, but in your hands, it feels polished.“, which I found odd based on my time with the demo.

I played the PlayStation 3 demo for Madden NFL 13, and completed several games in it. The demo didn’t sell me on the game though, because I thought it lacked polish. Sure, I could understand some issues from a new series, but seeing holograms on the sidelines (people that are *there* but you can run through), bad camera angles on replays, cars that look like cardboard boxes driving outside the stadiums, and things like hearing the same comments from announcers within a game, just seemed to me that EA hasn’t been pushing the series very much.

Also, when I see a glitch like in the following video that was posted up in Chalgyr’s Game Room review of the game, the word “polished” doesn’t enter my thoughts:

How is it possible for the critic and customer review score averages to be so far apart, on the same game? Well, from what I read of the critic reviews it seems many didn’t experience real-world online play in the game, and perhaps were in an *EA bubble* before the game released protecting them from bad experiences with it?

Also, many of the early critic reviews, like IGN’s, failed to mention features taken out of the game, one being the lack of offline cooperative play in Franchise Mode, which apparently from many user reviews is still a big selling point for the game/series. Perhaps, the more time you spend with the game, the better it becomes and a solid 2-3 weeks is what the customers need to be spending with the game before reviewing it (this wouldn’t change the lack of features though)?

Questions
If you purchased Madden NFL 13 for the PlayStation 3 or the Xbox 360, what do you think about the game? If you were to give the game an overall review score average, would it fall closer to the “professional” critic review score averages above, or to the customer review score averages shown? Is Madden NFL 13 a game you would recommend to other gamers, that perhaps have played a few Madden games over the years, but haven’t purchased one in a while?

Also, if you haven’t purchased Madden NFL 13 yet, will the customer review score averages reflected above for both the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions, make you think twice before reading a “professional” critic review score average and basing your decision to purchase a game on it?

If you are interested in Madden NFL 13, or just want to read through the Amazon.com customer review score averages (which I highly suggest), you can see the games on Amazon.com below: