Number one draft pick and new Colts quarterback Andrew Luck was always going to find it tough filling the shoes of his predecessor and four-time MVP Peyton Manning - I didn't make it any easier from him when he threw an interception that was returned for a touchdown with his first career attempt.

The thing with any new version of Madden is that it doesn't take long to get back into the swing of it, and Luck was soon picking apart defences and increasing his touchdown tally. (Until I took on a 13-year-old kid in Kansas via online mode).

That's both a positive and a negative of the NFL game which is often accused of being just a 'roster update' that fails to push the boundaries with innovative features. Critics do have a point - EA Sports have once played it too safe. Despite the much talked up Infinity Engine which ensures 'no two plays will ever look or feel the same', the gameplay is not too dissimilar to last year's edition, with a few minor tweaks.

Regardless, the off-field changes make it worthwhile.


Most of the improvements have occurred in online and career mode, which is good news for gamers like myself as the first thing I do with a new Madden game is run through a whole season with my beloved Colts.

It means Luck, who has been labelled as the next big thing, can live up to the hype under my guidance until the end of his virtual career. But if real life Luck starts to regress you can live out the career of an actual great in the new Connected Careers mode. With the likes of NFL legends Joe Montana, Barry Sanders and even 1940s quarterback Otto Graham, you can match their own career paths or recreate history altogether. Or if you like having Gatorade poured over you, you can control a great coach like Tom Landry, Vince Lombardi or John Madden himself.

The Connected Careers mode is the real winner of Madden NFL 13 and helps make it a worthwhile edition to the long-running franchise, but makers should consider taking a risk and throwing a Hail Mary next time around.

Platforms: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii
Classification: G
Rating: 4/5