NFL Quarterback 13 doesn’t require any in-depth knowledge of football to be enjoyed– which is good, because this writer has only a passing familiarity with the sport. However, the game still has some quirky issues that make the experience flawed simply as a game, regardless of the game’s theme.
Like in previous editions of the series, the new game places you in the position of quarterback of the team of your choice, and has you customize your player from the outset with a small variety of features, such as the name and number on the jersey, as well as skin tone. By playing well and gaining popularity, you can further customize your player, team, stadium, and more.
On the field, you have three lives (the game actually uses this term, amusingly enough) with which to throw the ball to one of your teammates by swiping your finger across the screen. A successful throw, which can be controlled in the air somewhat with further swipes, can be caught by a receiver who may either roll across the ground with it, be tackled by the opposing team, or if you’re lucky, make it all the way to the endzone for a touchdown, complete with a victory dance.
Unfortunately, plays don’t always go down as planned. In addition to interceptions, sometimes the AI in your teammates seems to go on a brief vacation as they either let the ball fall to the ground next to them or fail to prevent the opposition from taking it for themselves. Either way, you get penalized. Some members of the opposing team try to sack you before you can make your throw, but they can be easily evaded by– you guessed it– swiping your finger across the screen.
Besides the occasionally clumsy AI, the game’s biggest problem is in how finicky the throwing controls are for being but a mere swipe. The throws require a very specific swiping motion, basically up along your character’s arm, and even then, whether they actually throw it or not is iffy. This also makes actually aiming the ball where you want to throw it tricky if not outright difficult– it really is a matter of teamwork to try to throw the ball to where your teammates can get it, and as noted, they’re not always up to the task. In addition, measuring the strength of your throw can further complicate matters.
Besides the aforementioned upgrading of stats, there are also some power-ups you can use once upon purchase. But you wouldn’t stoop to using performance enhancers, would you?
With football season now officially over, NFL Quarterback 13 can give you a taste of the sport through the off season. Despite not being a football fan, this reviewer actually enjoyed the game despite its quirks/flaws. It isn’t a full-fledged football experience like a Madden game would be, but that helps make it faster and more accessible– not a bad thing at all. On the other hand, the finicky controls and lacking AI may be offputting, so be forewarned.