Every year without fail each sports franchise releases yet another sports game that we all hope will be slightly better than the last. Sometimes it’s a hit and other times a strike out. The last real sports game that had a big impact on me personally was Fight Night Champion, not because I love boxing games, but because they added a story mode!
Over 6 years later and now Madden 18 has followed suit by adding their own underdog story mode: Longshot. It’s a small one and can be easily completed in one sitting, but it’s a story that really hit’s all the soft spots of my large man heart, which made playing it an absolute joy and adventure.
We step into the hopeful shoes of Devin Wade, a young man that has always dreamed of making it to the big leagues of the NFL. Partnered up with his childhood friend Colt, the two of them now have a chance to be spotted by scouts at a special training event. However they catch the eye of a show producer that wants to make a Reality TV Show about an up-and-coming sports star.
I would love to delve into plot further however it would simply spoil the moments that are better experienced in person. The recipe for the story is a dash of underdog, sprinkled with large amounts of sadness and backstory, then seasoned with a lot of cliché moments. That shouldn’t put you off though, as it all comes together to form a story worthy of any of the best sporting titles.
Longshot isn’t for the impatient gamer. A lot of the gameplay is about making little decisions like responding to certain questions in different ways, or making quarter back throws in a way that has never been done in a Madden game before. You will eventually get to play football; you just have to invest some time.
After running some practise drills and answering some quizzes about the sport, it’s time to relive old memories of clutch moments in Wade’s college ball days. Progress further and you actually get to play awesome new 7 on 7 games against past stars like Dan Marino. Each game has a set list of rules that you need to follow and objectives to achieve – for example: make a touchdown in 4 plays or run out the clock etc.
The acting and technology used to make the cut-scenes happen is incredible. After seeing real life photos of the in game characters my mind was blown. It was such an amazing job by the whole motion capture and CG team to bring it all together.
Overall story mode was very enjoyable. I do worry though, to their detriment, that the core Madden fan base won’t even bother playing it. As a movie lover and a fan of sport game story modes, this one ticks all the right boxes.
As a movie lover and a fan of sport game story modes, this one ticks all the right boxes.
Let’s get down to the core game now of which there is plenty to stay hyped for. Back like always is Ultimate Team which is now much easier to operate, and Online Head to Head that will forever be frustrating but rewarding when you achieve a win. Franchise is back with even more customisation options than ever before. You can now choose to only play important moments in games by skipping all the undesirable moments like punts and field goals. Prepare for each match with strict training routines that ready you for the upcoming matches, and if you get over training you can just skip it and head straight into the game!
The gameplay feels so tight and clean that it is an absolute joy to play. More than ever I feel as if this game has been taken off tracks and that the player has complete control of what he or she is doing. There are so many options and ways to play this NFL game that it will most definitely overwhelm newcomers to the series, which in Australia and non-American countries is a very common occurrence. But stick with it! Once you are past the learning curve the addictiveness of this game will have you.
The last new feature of Madden 18 is the Play Now game mode. While a real season of NFL is in progress, players have the chance to play a game with the REAL LIFE rosters currently being played, all with fresh commentary and stats. Each week you can play a game that is actually happening and have the chance to rewrite history!
This year EA have taken strides forward in improving on the previous year’s edition. The story mode is very touching and uplifting and something I hope to see much more of, the gameplay has improved yet again and the new Play Now game mode is a great addition.
Madden 18 is one that fans of the series will love but newcomers will be frightened to play. However with a little bit of practise even they can overcome the daunting amount of game options to choose from.
I rate Madden 18 a dreamy 9 out of 10.