Regretfully, Madden 13 for PS Vita does not have the much heralded Infinity Engine that we saw on the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions. Instead we’re basically given the same physics engine that we had last year which was by no means lacking, but certainly isn’t the latest-and-greatest. Outside of that Madden hasn’t looked better on a handheld device and the in-game graphics are really impressive. Now, to be very specific, everything that happens from the moment when your quarterback is about to receive the snap to when the final tackle is made looks great. However, in-game replays and the menus are annoyingly choppy. While it doesn’t totally take away from the experience, you definitely get the sense it isn’t a totally polished and optimized version (at least, what it should have been) for Madden 13 and the Vita debut.
When trying to figure out what this game played like I really when back to how I felt about Madden 12 on the PS3 and that’s actually a great analogy for how Madden 13 fares on the Vita. Again, in the game it plays very well and the controls feel great. The choppiness of the play selection menus and the replays definitely take away from the experience, but playing in-game feels great, just like last year’s Madden 12 did on the PS3. It distinctly has a different feel than its same-year counterparts on the big consoles, but overall, it’s a real joy to play if you want to play your football on the go.
Another “regretfully” type of comment here is that unlike a lot of other games we’ve seen for Vita, there is no cross connection between it and your PS3. One of the big pluses for Vita was the fact that games would cross over between big and portable systems so you could take your game on the go, come back, sync it up and continue on. Not so for Madden 13 on Vita unfortunately, it would have been a really nice feature.
Also, there is no “Connected Careers” in this edition which some fans may not mind because the old Franchise and Superstar modes are in this edition. That means you’ll be fine if you wanted to take a team and guide them to the Super Bowl or create your own player and see them off on a Hall of Fame career. There’s also online matchmaking which worked surprisingly well with zero drops and minimal lag time – something that really stood out as a plus for this edition of the game.
Madden 13 on PS Vita is a pretty solid game for the mobile device. On the negative side, there’s no Infinity Engine, no Connected Careers and the choppiness of the replays and within the play section menus. On the positive side, the game does look great while you are actually “in the play” and the controls are very reminiscent of how well Madden 12 played. Is it worth buying? Certainly, if all of the negatives were resolved, plus the ability to sync between the Vita and the PS3 was there, we’d be talking about a very impressive product. As it stand though, you have to consider the title holistically and say that Madden 13 on the Vita is a “that’ll do” edition of the game and really only reserved for hardcore Madden fans dying to play on their PS Vita.