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Madden 18 Review

There is twenty seconds left in the fourth, you’re down by 7 and starting on your own 25yard line. The line is set, time slows as you look at your receivers but before you can make a decision the ball is coming back towards you, you feel it between your hands and you hear the sounds of the crowd cheering your name. It’s a hail mary play, the first of your career and you’re still not sure if you can do it. You look up and down the field, there they are two receivers open with one on either side and both screaming for it. Slowly your arm goes back as you then follow through and release it into the air, soaring down field headed for the receiver. Did you choose the right one? Does he catch it? Will you win the game? Nothing gets the heart racing like those final minutes in a tight game and that’s the feeling EA go for year after year with each Madden release, did they catch my heart this year? Only one way to know.

Gameplay

As a sports fan, I’m spoilt by the gameplay of EA titles. Of course some years it feels like minor differences but how much can they really change? The old saying goes “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it” and the control scheme of Madden hasn’t been broken in awhile. From selecting the play to executing the play it’s all done in a fluid motion that helps you engage with the team you’re playing as. From simple flicks of the sticks to step around defenders, to the same flick to make that drive ending hit on defence. There is nothing overly complicated about the controlling, that is until you jump into the new career mode known as ‘Longshot’. Don’t get me wrong there are positives to this mode and I’ll get to them but first I want to get the negative out of the way. The use of quick time events is excessive and unnecessary, popping up at ridiculous times with little to no warning. They’ve also swapped up the play style meaning the way you’d execute a play in the standard game is ineffective in the campaign. Sure it’s closer to realism but not in a fun way and it kills what would otherwise be an excellent campaign.

It’s a nice refreshing change from the old career modes, where you focused on playing some games and the back story was non-existent. Now you’re playing as Devin Wade, a promising young player who dropped out of college football for a few years after a family tragedy and now has goals of making the NFL.  Along the way you play as Devin during pivotal moments of his career up until the NFL combine as well as after it. The story covers three main arcs of his career, the combine, the long shot and after the TV show. I won’t spoil anything but I will say it’s a great watch even if it does lack some gameplay. Think Heavy Rain but on the field, it’s almost like watching a movie.

The gaming world is in an uproar about loot boxes right now, are they gambling are they not? It seems in the chaos of this, we’ve all forgotten the original in game ‘loot’ with Ultimate Team, a staple of any good sports title. While the option to purchase packs is there and pushed down your throat a little, it is possible to enjoy ultimate team without spending your hard earned cash. Unfortunately you won’t be able to compete online as well without it, it’s obvious plenty of gamers are happy to pay for those elite cards and that easy win. For those not sure what Ultimate team is, it’s a make your own team style game mode where your players are ‘won’ in card packs similar to the ever popular trading cards of the 90s.

Other than these modes, the staples remain. Franchise mode allows you to run your own NFL team as a player, coach or Owner all giving you unique abilities and options meaning trying all three is vital to a full experience. Live games allow you to jump in as your favourite team quickly and create your own Super Bowl moments to tell your grand kids about time and time again. Just watch out for that Jay Cutler moment, for as quickly as you can win a game, nothing hurts like choking when it counts.

Audio/Video

If you just walk past the TV briefly and catch a glimpse of the set for a few moments, it’s easy to think an actual NFL game is going on. My wife has asked a few times if the Rams are on since that’s almost the only team I play as, however it doesn’t just stop at a glimpse. The entire presentation of the game is one to make you feel involved, the tv production is there and each game feels unique with the commentary changing and adapting with repeated phrases at the minimal. Each team is represented fully with all players looking closely like their counterparts and if you look closely you can make out the Patriots training staff deflating the balls down the tunnels as each play passes.

Conclusion

It’s always Madden season in my house, thankfully Madden 18 makes it that bit more enjoyable with plenty of modes to keep the season alive and more replay-ability than most titles you’ll pick up. It’s up to date and consistent with roster updates coming almost daily but downloading quick enough that even my poor adsl connection can handle it. So if you’re looking for that pick up and play title that won’t get old, grab Madden.

Pros

  • LongShot, the newly introduce campaign mode with a great story.
  • Television style game production, draws you in.
  • Constantly updated rosters, keeps you connected to the real NFL.
  • Fluid controls and gameplay that doesn’t need changing.

Cons

  • Loot, the in your face ‘buy me now’ of ultimate team drags down a fun mode.
  • Quick time events in the LongShot campaign can kill the most interesting cut scenes.

 

 

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