Madden 13 was released for the Wii U as a launch title and took advantage of the Wii U GamePad to bring a different dynamic to the popular football game. But how does the Wii U version stack up to the other versions of the game? I just so happen to have the 360 version and the Wii U version, so let’s take a look at both to see which is superior.
Madden 13 is not the epitome of current gen graphical prowess but that does not mean that it isn’t a nice looking game. The Xbox 360 version and the Wii U version are nearly identical in most areas. The lighting, the players, the fans, and all the other important aspects of the graphics look comparable but to illustrate fully I have created short video comparison of the two.
As you can see the graphics are extremely close to one another, with some minor differences in the coloring of the receiver’s routes and the names that are displayed. The Wii U seems a bit more muted with those colors but it isn’t a terribly significant difference.
The place where the two experiences truly differ is in the gameplay department. The Wii U GamePad offers some definite positives to the experience however it also offers a few drawbacks that will hamper the experience for fans that are used to PlayStation/Xbox controls.
The biggest positive of the Wii U GamePad is the ability to call plays from the GamePad as opposed to seeing them displayed on the TV screen. While this could be helpful for multiplayer, the real advantage is in the “gameflow” system of play calling.
The “gameflow” system is a semi-automatic way of play calling for players who do not want to flip through the full playbook every time to make a play call on offense and defense. In the Xbox 360 version of the game there are three options given for every play (Gameplan, Aggressive, and Conservative for defense; Gameplan, Run, and Pass for offense). You can decide which of these to pick and the suggested play will show up by title alone.
However, with the Wii U GamePad you can see a diagram of each play that is suggested. For someone like me who knows football but not every play in the book by heart, it helps to show what will happen in the play before I pick it. This is a major plus over the Xbox 360 version, where I have to guess and hope that the routes that are run are what I want in that situation.
Another cool functionality that the Wii U GamePad offers is the ability to use the touchscreen to change assignments on defense or map out hot routes on offense. By clicking and dragging eligible players you can change who or what area they are guarding on defense or you can change their receiving route on offense. This is great for players who want to make a custom play from a base template or see something in the defense they think that they can exploit.
The Wii U GamePad truly makes certain aspects of the game much better but it also causes some problems for converts from PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360. The size of the Wii U GamePad is a bit of a hurdle to the controls because of how spaced out the thumbsticks and the shoulder buttons are. While this certainly isn’t a massive issue, it does make it tougher to adapt to the new controls and overall it’s not the button placement that I would want in an ideal controller.
The positives of the GamePad aren’t outweighed by the size of the controller but it turns the experience from a home run for the Wii U to almost a draw between the two. I love calling plays on the GamePad and using it to change my receiver’s routes, but I also feel less in control of my players on both offense and defense. I don’t want to be unfair, since I am more used to the Xbox 360 controller that may be where some of the awkwardness is coming from but I still feel the controller is not the best for this type of game.
Madden 13 is a fun game on either the Xbox 360 or the Wii U and is the definitive NFL experience, but both sides offer positives and negatives. Better pre-snap controls (play calling, hot routes, etc) are present for the Wii U but better post-snap controls (player movement) are present for the Xbox 360 version of the game.
I hesitate to say which one is a better experience because they are very close to one another and much of the arguments here can be chalked up to personal preference. So instead of declaring a winner I will let you take the article as is and leave you with this: I will definitely be playing a lot of single player on the Wii U but if I ever want to take on another human opponent, I will want the Xbox 360 version. Take that as you will and I hope you enjoyed this comparison. Let me know what you think in the comments below or on our forums.