Madden 13: Stunning visuals in gridiron game

If you're not a fan of American football, then the Madden series of games will probably have not featured much on your games radar.

Madden 13

From: Electronic Arts

For: PS3, Xbox 360, PS Vita

Rating: G

Four stars out of five

Back in the day, they came with a thick manual packed with indecipherable diagrams and terminology only hardened gridiron fanatics would understand - enough to put you off before you even start.

If you did have the dedication to fire the game up, you were faced with a baffling array of options and a playbook the size of a phonebook.

But, and it's quite an important but, if you managed to put all that behind you and learn the basics, the gameplay was actually pretty good, especially playing against a mate.

Over the years, Electronic Arts has pumped out a new version every year and, with a couple of exceptions, each one is better.

But if you weren't there at the start, it's probably passed you by.

Which is a shame, because this version, Madden 13, is easily the best of the series and one of the best presented and best looking sports games of all time.

Going through the blurb from the makers, they mention improved physics, new trajectories, new animations but the biggest thing is (and I realise this is going to sound daft) it feels different.

EA's new Infinity engine has actually made physics a big part of the game. Not schoolboy ropes and pulleys, but the fact that big players will flatten smaller ones and the quick guys will bounce off the fat ones incredibly realistically.

Visually, the game is stunning.

The on-screen presenters look a bit wooden (but they may be like that in real life) but once the game-time graphics start and the match gets under way, you'll be blown away.

For the uber-geeks, there are options aplenty and the chance to not only play through the season, but also coach a team as well.

I've only briefly touched on the Connected Career mode but it involves gaining experience points for things such as practice and planning. You can then use those points to improve your team.

Exciting stuff, if it's your kind of thing. The manual is still huge - although now you have to download it from the net or read it in-game - and it can come across as a bit intimidating.

If you enjoy sports games, I'd highly recommend you try it.

Still not sure of the rules?

Just remember you get four attempts to move 10 yards upfield; if you make it, you get another four, if you don't, you're on defence.