There are two things certain in this world, the first is that on February 4th 2019 the Los Angeles Rams will win the Superbowl. The second is that once again a new Madden has dropped for the major consoles, this years big difference however is the return of Madden on PC. Sports games are known for being considered as nothing but roster updates each season, in reality that’s exactly what they are at the core but how exactly can you bring something new to a game based on a century old sport that while it’s evolved over time hasn’t had any major on field changes in itself the past few years?
This is the one aspect where developers truly can aim to bring something fresh to the fold, whether it’s a new game mode with a twist or smoother controls and fluid movements. The later is something where EA have worked over the last 12 months, it’s clear from the first game you play that the overall control given to the player has been improved. I found myself able to glide across the field with ease and the line breaking runs from running backs offered more freedom to the player. Then as you break the defensive line and streak on down the field celebrating another touchdown for Mr Gurley the game again puts the control in your hands and allows you to choose the celebrations, from team based to solo the post TD victory dance is no longer predetermined.
From the outside looking in, Madden is just choosing two sides and playing a football match over and over again. For those of us who dedicate August to what we call ‘Madden Season’ it’s more than just a few games, it’s a series of modes that require dedication and knowledge to get to the end. The standard quick play mode is fun and for the story lovers the return of ‘Longshot’ offers a compelling theater experience with a few quick play events but overall Madden Ultimate Team and Franchise Mode are where the bread and butter is here.
Madden ultimate team is a mode even FIFA and NBA players would be familiar with, completing objectives based on real world scenarios and unlocking packs of cards to improve your team. It’s a risk however as some get so involved in this mode the micro transactions become tempting and building a team through purchased packs to compete online with others is just a small addictive click away.
Franchise mode, now that is where I get my personal kicks. Taking control of either the owner, coach or the future MVP player, you control every aspect of your destiny playing each game of the season or just the important ones. Now in Madden 19 when you elect to play as the entire team, you can also choose if you play the full 60 minute experience or just one side of the ball. That along with the always consistent live tuning updates, full cloud support and the new ability to reorder your squad with ease. The franchise mode in Madden gives life to the game beyond just the regular real world season, for the true fanatic this is THE mode.
I touched on the fluid motions and player control earlier in the review when discussing controls, however no amount of control improvement will mean a thing if the graphical side of things lacks. Thankfully the jitters of yesterday appear gone, the occasional arm disappearing inside the opposition still happens but isn’t as frequent as earlier. I did however notice that on the audio side of things, there is no improvement on previous years, the commentary feels reused and while for new players this won’t be an issue for the vets it’s an annoyance we could do without.
So I’ve mentioned the feeling of a rehash, that in general each years sporting titles feel like slight upgrades over the previous but where does Madden 19 sit on that scale? While some aspects of the game did hold it back, like the previously mentioned audio. It does overall have a fresher feeling than previous season and as an NFL fan in general it’s a purchase I’d recommend, some fans out there this might be the closest they get to a Superbowl and for Cleveland fans it might be the closest they get to a win in general.
While no game is perfect and I know in the past I’ve been guilty of believing so, this years Madden sits at a must buy point for me and a very neat 4 Thumbs Up.
Will Muscat is an avid gamer and has been gaming for many years, from playing on an Amstrad that his dad found at the tip to his Xbox one now. Will enjoys plenty of variety in the games he plays and while he can be found in the world of Gears of War and Halo, he can also be found writing letters to RARE asking for another Jet Force Gemini.