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NFL Pro 2013

For: iPhone   Also on: Android, iPad
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Fumbling towards ecstasy

Product: NFL Pro 2013 | Publisher: Gameloft | Format: iPhone | Genre: Simulation, Sports | Players: 1 | Version: US | App version: 1.0.1
NFL Pro 2013 iPhone, thumbnail 1
To the uninitiated, American football is a relatively simple sport in which hulking players smash into one another before they stop, confer for a few seconds, and repeat the process.

Behind this simple fa├žade lurks a much deeper game of skill, percentages, and strategy that combines the intricacy of several sports into one macho package.

Gameloft's social sports simulator NFL Pro 2013 tries to capture all of the elements that go into making the teams of the National Football League as exciting and popular as they are.

First and long

NFL Pro 2013 is sure to appeal to fans of football, as it allows you to take control of your favourite team and lead it through across league play. The graphics and animation are crisp and well-rendered, and the players look wonderful and realistic in their three-dimensional incarnations.

Beneath all the glitz of the graphics, NFL Pro 2013 plays like a standard console football game crossed with a mobile social management game. You'll get to do everything from upgrading your stadium to passing the ball on the field, with plenty of customisation options along the way.

When the football itself starts, the game allows players to execute all manner of offensive, defensive, and gadget plays. Quarters are reduced from 15 minutes to two, but the flow of the game remains unchanged.

On the management side, you can hire new players and customise the individual stats of existing ones, allowing you to make your quarterback more of a scrambler or a cannon to suit your playstyle.

Fourth and inches

Unfortunately, with so much ground to cover, NFL Pro 2013 inevitably comes up short in a few key areas.

When you begin the game, you'll see that you have access to only a couple of stock plays (run short, run long, short pass, and standard defensive positions). Other plays must be purchased and learned as you go, adding a slightly unwelcome limitation to your playbook.

NFL Pro 2013 allows you to 'rent' these plays for a single down or an entire game, which is charitable, but to use the plays freely you have to purchase them with in-game money.

This currency is earned as you progress through individual games, but to really expand your playbook quickly you'll need to drop a bit of hard currency on in-app purchases.

Additionally, the football simulation is a bit dodgy at the best of times. Lag is a frequent problem with execution of passes, there's no offensive count to listen for when you're playing defence, and players hold to bizarre - and often counter-intuitive - patterns of momentum after catching a pass.

A final - if minor - annoyance is that the voice-acting and music are simply unbearable. The announcer speaks in a cold, robotic voice, pausing only to awkwardly shoehorn the names of the teams playing into pre-recorded banter.

There's always next season

As a low-investment diversion, NFL Pro 2013 is a good game. It provides a mobile take on football simulation and introduces welcome customisation options to both teams and playbooks.

Sadly, as you become more invested in NFL Pro 2013 the voice acting and dodgy game mechanics will cause some frustration. Just as the NFL season is limited to a short season of 16 regular games, it's best to limit your time with NFL Pro 2013 if you don't want it to outstay its welcome.
NFL Pro 2013
Reviewer photo
Matthew Diener | 4 October 2012
A good low-investment game whose experience is tarnished as you spend more time with it
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