Madden is back for another season of american football. There has been a fair few adjustments in this year’s edition that has improved the experiences for players of the previous and also newcomers. The Franchise Mode, a mode that is a recurring mode for as long as I can remember, even though most would think it’s a tired concept, on its last touchdown it has been made more accessible by making itself available in more favourable scenarios, rather than simply being a main menu option. Straight away from out of the box you will notice that the gameplay feels fluid, whilst it hasn’t avoided issues, it has integrated some nice interactions that make the experience more realistic. Newcomers will be thankful that they have included the new mode Longshot, which aims to aid players through all the jargon that is part of the beautiful game of NFL. Madden is a daunting experience, but this mode offers a great way to learn about the patriotic American football. It’s still not easy, but gives a hand in helping players become accustomed to the game.

Madden 18 takes a leaf out of FIFA 17’s Journey Mode with the new story mode Longshot. It offers a nice flow that aims to slowly ease you into the core gameplay. It introduces you by throwing you into a quicktime based event with throwing passes. By the end, you’re calling plays and directing your own game. It’s essentially a 3 hour tutorial mode that is also like a movie thanks to the cutscenes. The story revolves around Devin Wade: a former five star QB recruit who is trying to break into the NFL after stepping away from college. Devin is not alone, as a friend known as Colt Cruise (Friday Night Lights’ Scott Porter) ends up becoming a sort of rival. The story takes off at a steady pace from there with a road trip to a regional combine to try out for the NFL. The story will put you through a series of dialogue choices, minigames, and later on, actual football games with familiar faces like Chad Johnson and Dan Marino. It’s a nice added feature that just add’s extra content to an already packed out franchise.

It’s an ambitious mode that seems to fit well, just like The Journey did with FIFA 17 and soon FIFA 18 with The Journey 2. This is certainly the mode, as mentioned, that caters for the new player, but with its tutorial like structure Longshot is actually one of the best entry points for the series since the beginning of the generation. Visually it looks very eye-catching thanks to its conversion to the Frostbite Engine, which is the best change they have done to both to the Madden and FIFA franchise. As mentioned, the title features some nice added editions giving the title more personality. This time around, which hasn’t been present in a Madden title until now is the fact that every stadium now has its own unique presentation elements. For example, when the Vikings come running out of the tunnel, you’ll see the big dragon head blowing fire. It’s iconic and adds to the atmosphere of the game.

Sadly, the game does suffer in a few areas. Madden 18 is one of the only sports sims that I can recall where you can’t just play a regular season without having to worry about player transactions and the salary cap. Some may like this feature, but I for one would prefer a mode where I didn’t have to worry about that aspect. Perhaps a Madden manager game could fill that void? The career mode is back and lets you take the role of a player, a coach, or an owner. I’m not fond of the owner mode as it feels broken, out-dated and just doesn’t seem to work – for me anyway. It’s not a mode I would recommend, but thankfully being a coach or a player is where I would imagine most players will spend most of their time as they are solid modes and have been for some time.

Ultimate Team is of course back, and the frenzy of collecting players is as strong as ever. Ultimate team gives players the opportunity to also play in 3v3 matches online with friends vs other players. A new addition that focuses on team-play and is a blast to play. It will give yourself and friends some iconic moments, and nothing beats the glory of chucking the ball down the field for your friend to score a touchdown. Ultimate Team isn’t without its controversy however, but is by far the most popular mode. Just like collecting cards or stickers, people love to try and get hold of their favourite players. It is of course micro-transaction heavy, a pay to win-esk scenario if you will, but it’s not a mode that is forced upon you to enjoy the online experience. It’s the mode for those that want to build a custom team, improving and selling as you go along. With mid-season/weekly updates to players with special editions of players performing well. It offers a ton of content and doesn’t really require much know how to do so.

Madden 18 definitely skews more to the hardcore than even the average sports sim. It’s packed out with enough modes to keep you busy on the field, with a solid multiplayer community that knows their stuff. Even with a few issues and the usual game bugs, nothing game breaking but still present, Madden 18 isn’t perfect but it has more to offer than 17. It’s the most packed out Madden title and it’s a great edition to the franchise. Longshot is a perfect mode for returning fans and new comers, more so for the new, but it’s still a mode that everyone should try. Hopefully it will be more in-depth in Madden 19. Outside of the skill games and online modes, there’s nothing more appealing than guiding your team (Pittsburgh Steelers) to the Super Bowl, this is probably the most accessible Madden has been in a long time and is highly recommended.



Author

Marshall
Marshall

Video game fanatic since a young age. FIFA expert and all-round sports junky. I dive into various titles and love experiencing new and creative games.