Title: Madden NFL 18
Available On: Xbox One, PS4, Steam
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Developer: EA Sports, EA Tiburon
Genre: Sports game, Interactive movie
Official Site: https://www.easports.com/madden-nfl
Release Date: August 25, 2017
Where To Buy It: Xbox Games Store, PlayStation Store, Local Retailers
The EA Sports franchises will always hold a special place in my heart considering how they merged two of my childhood loves, video games and sports. I’ve put hundreds of hours into the Madden series, between Franchise mode, Online Multiplayer, Career modes, and just playing around in arcade. Over the past few years, I’ve come to play the series less though, as each new installment suffered from the same feeling of just being the same game as last year, albeit with a new number and roster update. Madden NFL 18 may suffer from a lot of those repetitive quirks, but the new additions help set it apart from being just another clone.
Longshot is easily the best addition to Madden NFL 18, adding what players have been asking for in an EA Football game for years, a story. While short, Devin Wade’s journey to becoming an NFL superstar surpassed my expectations. Instead of a My Player franchise mode, filled with phoned-in dialogue and repetitive “choices,” Longshot instead tells and endearing story with likable (and purposely unlikeable) characters. The relationship between Devin and Colt, as they both try to make it, is natural and their chemistry as Quarterback and Wide Receiver is that of one you’d likely see in the NFL.
Nobody stands out more than the titular villain of Longshot though, Ross Fountain. While he is an egotistical maniac, with an exaggerated personality and selfish motives, he is hilarious. The sole purpose of his character is to get in Devin’s way, and boy does he. Ricky Wayne does a fantastic job of making him a despicable character, even with genuinely funny one-liners. All of it makes beating him in the end all the more satisfying.
One of the other things that made Longshot so fun to play revolved around the new customizable play style introduced to Madden NFL 18. Past iterations have always emphasized the arcade aspect of gameplay. While that is still an option, Simulation and Competitive allow for varied play styles, including a more realistic manner of play in the latter. Unfortunately, these improvements are hindered by the same issues I’ve always had when playing Madden, how they handle difficulty scaling.
Like in past Madden games, Madden NFL 18’s difficulties range from close your eyes easy to interception or impossible catch on every play. Offense involves playing considerably reserved, yet having pressure come almost immediately and throws being picked off in the most ridiculous ways. Alternatively, getting through the CPU’s offensive line is impossible and no doubt interceptions fall out of my player’s hands inconceivably.
Alongside that, load screens are still lengthy. Though some are supplemented with stats about players, the ones I’d prefer to see and know about take place during the skippable scenes. Nothing is worse in the game than then the ease of use regarding EA’s Origin system.
I’ve never been big into online oriented games from EA, aside from dominating in FIFA, but this was my first exposure to Origins in years. To summarize it was a nightmare. Instead of being able to select the Origin account – and the email associated to it – I wanted to use for the game, it auto locks to the last used account. Since I hadn’t used the system in forever, it was linked to an account I no longer used or had the password for. I even went to the site to try and change the account linked to my Gamertag. There I ran into an even more convoluted, uselessly organized interface that didn’t help at all. So I chose to play everything offline.
Madden NFL 18 is certainly a step in the right direction in regards to fixing the roster update issue that faces its yearly release. Longshot should be their big investment for the future, if not at least the format it followed. Improvements can still be made, adding in more actual gameplay elements in the future. In reality, if I were able to take Devin and Colt into a franchise like mode after finishing the main story, I probably would still be playing instead of writing this…and eating and sleeping.
Verdict: If you fall into the category of gamers that think EA simply puts out the same games every year, Madden NFL 18 isn’t drastically different enough to warrant buying at $60. It’s in-game and online struggles will frustrate, especially having to deal with EA’s Origin system. Additions like Longshot and the three new plays styles should at least warrant renting Madden NFL 18 or buying it at a cheaper price. In any case, it’s still Madden, so you’ll still have fun, until you get picked for the 10th time in the quater.
- Customizable play style
- Ross Fountain is a Gem
- Same Madden quirks
- Load screens
- Origin/online connection