Football season is upon us once again and that means it’s time for a new version of Madden! Find out what we thought in our Madden NFL 19 Review!
|Release Date||August 10, 2018|
*A copy of this game was provided to FYIG by EA for review purposes*
As with most sports games, the Madden franchise has had a difficult time innovating with new features and gameplay without feeling pretty stagnant. Last year, EA Tiburon made a great decision to include a cool new interactive story mode called Longshot that added some nice value to the game. This year’s game brings back Longshot picking up where the main characters left off while providing some great updates to player movement as well as a more immersive Franchise Mode experience.
This year, one of the big focuses on the gameplay side of things is something EA Tiburon is calling Real Player Motion. This gives your player more control in game-changing situations. I noticed immediately how fluid the player movement is this year compared to last year. It’s now more important than ever to know when to use the Acceleration Burst and when to lay off it to cut across the field. There’s a sense of player speed that just wasn’t there before. Everything simply flows together and you can spin into a juke and then tuck to drive through an opposing tackle in more satisfying ways than ever. One of my most memorable moments was stiff-arming an opponent and immediately spinning around the other to get a PR Touchdown.
Don’t worry, it’s not just the offensive side of the game that got in on the Real Player Motion, the defensive side received just as many improvements. I really noticed how well defensive linemen could break away from tackles and get to my quarterback or halfback. I got sacked in about 4 seconds on one play from a particularly nasty defensive lineman. I also felt like safeties could track the ball down really well and I was picked off a few times in spectacular fashion even by the CPU. It really feels like EA nailed the gameplay in Madden NFL 19 and really captured the essence of what the game of football is all about.
Madden Ultimate Team continues to add new components with the addition of solo challenge tournaments. These are an interesting addition because they allow you to play against teams created by Madden developers, celebrities, and NFL athletes. As you win, you’ll climb the leaderboard and win some valuable MUT Rewards. It’s something that will add a steady stream of content to an already content-rich mode and it’s helpful for those that want steady competition without facing other people online.
If that’s not enough for you, MUT Squad Challenges return. This is another mode where you and two other friends team-up and complete online challenges against the CPU. The more challenging the opponent, the bigger the reward. This is a fun mode that provides some incentive for playing online co-op and I think it’s going to be something that a lot of people continue to go back to.
Apart from the new game modes within MUT, you’re now able to upgrade your players to fit your team. The more you play, the more you’re able to upgrade. You can also downgrade players and get those resources back if you make a mistake and want to go with a different player so there isn’t a point of no return. This is a really cool feature to me and something I hope we see in the other EA Sports franchises soon. There are certain players I like more than others and it gives me more incentive to keep playing if I know I can make the players I like my highest overalls.
Franchise Mode has received some pretty substantial upgrades that should give players a lot more control over their teams. Players can finally create their own draft classes! When scouting begins in Week 3 of your season, these draft classes can be saved and shared with the community. Players can even be updated after the draft class has been uploaded. I can see this becoming a big thing among the community and something that people spend a considerable amount of time on. Put the tools in the hands of players and they can create some incredible things.
Franchise also added offensive and defensive schemes as well as player archetypes. This gives players greater control over how their team plays and what players they should keep and which ones they should swap out for different ones or train using the archetype system to fit the style of play you’re going for. It helps casual players more than the experienced ones, but it’s a nice thing to have in the game. Franchise Mode was largely unchanged beyond those two upgrades, but it’s pretty solid. The only thing I wish was a little bit better is the Free Agency system which is still a bit lacking and uninspired.
In an interesting move, EA Tiburon decided to follow up last year’s Longshot with a direct sequel called Longshot: Homecoming. This story-driven mode again follows the careers and lives of Colt Cruise and Devin Wade. Colt is still trying to land a tryout or land a hit song while Devin is battling his play-calling issues and trying to stick with the Cowboys. There’s more gameplay this time around, but the cutscenes are sometimes painfully long. I know it’s a story mode, but the story just isn’t compelling enough to want to watch all the way through. Unfortunately, I think this mode regressed from last year’s game and I felt more like I was doing drills and trying to score on a drive rather than influencing the story in any meaningful way.
The game looks and sounds as good as ever this year. You can hear every hit and grunt as players fight for position. The Frostbite engine really makes the players and environments pop and the lighting looks great, especially when getting those nice panoramas of the stadiums.
|Detailed and polished gameplay||Longshot: Homecoming was disappointing|
|MUT received some fun additions|
|Created draft classes!|