Madden 18 Official Review




Madden 18 Official Review: (X-BOX ONE VERSION)


What’s New

GAMEPLAY STYLES




ARCADE:

In this action-packed mode, the hits are furious and turnovers aplenty as the referees swallow their whistles and users smash the hit stick with all their might. This play style is fun and addicting; geared toward the casual fan and designed to impress your friends with high-octane, non-stop action.

SIMULATION:
The steadfast NFL fan will enjoy the opportunity for an authentic game experience that accounts for team and player tendencies played under normal league rules. This is the quintessential Madden mode that is both the most enjoyable and challenging for franchise newcomers and veterans alike. Users are somewhat handcuffed by what caliber team they select and specifically the quarterback they pick, so choose wisely!

COMPETITIVE:
Let the best man win. EA decided to take away the majority of AI nonsense in favor of allowing users to face-off against each other in order to showcase their skills. Penalties are few and far between in this style which is best suited for ranked human to human online mode. Find out how you truly stack up against the competition.

GAME MECHANICS


Target Passing Mode:
Don’t worry the QB vision isn’t coming back, but this part of the gameplay seems a bit over-engineered. Using a combination of the left thumbstick and the LT button (L2 for PS4 version) users can lead receivers to a designated marker on the field. While in theory this would seem to be ideal, in live game action this is often an overlooked and forgotten aspect of the gameplay.

GAME MODES:


PLAY IT NOW:

New to the Madden Franchise, this simple, but brilliant add-on allows players to dive into a regular season NFL game in real-time. You can also resume your season in Franchise Mode and it will reflect all the current stats and records in the current NFL.



LONG SHOT:
EA’s new foray into a story-driven mode tries to make every NFL fan's dream a reality. Long Shot mode chronicles the story of a top high school football star out of Texas whose goal of turning pro falls short after his college years.



After enlisting in the army and spending three years out of football, Devin Wade, EA’s fictional character, follows his best friend’s advice and elects not to give up on his pursuit of a professional football career. After a superb performance at a Regional NFL Combine, Wade receives an unexpected offer and rediscovers his love for the game, but it doesn’t come without inherent challenges.

With his dreams coming true right before his very eyes, including become a reality TV star, Wade begins to buckle under the pressure and needs a trip home to help him get back on the right track. With the help of a legendary quarterback mentor, Wade is able to find his way back onto the top of the football world.

MUT SQUAD:

I know, I know. What does MUT stand for? Madden Ultimate Team, (of course you Maddenites out there already knew that) which is gaining popularity year by year. Users pick the best players from different teams and eras and earn coins by playing against the CPU or human players in a variety of challenges. This mode leaves no stones unturned as every facet of team building matters.



Online team play allows for 3-on-3 contests with unique roles for each player including: offensive captain, defensive captain and coach. Players have the ability to toggle between the three roles pre-snap and after the ball is snapped.

The game mode can actually be scary since you’re assembling a seemingly unstoppable team and have the ability to pick from the top talent pools in the world. Once you play MUT Squad it will be hard to go back to Play Now mode with Tyrod Taylor slinging the ball to Jordan Matthews. Sorry Bills Fans!


FRANCHISE MODE:

Every year the details are greater, the stakes are higher and the possibilities are endless. Madden 18 builds on an already robust mode with users obtaining the ability to customize everything from ticket prices to the price of concessions. Madden Franchise mode is truly in rare form in this version, so dive into one of the most in-depth and realistic game modes that exist on any platform today.

GAMEPLAY IMPROVEMENTS:
Tackling ballcarriers is now an achievable feat thanks to the new grabbing and reaching animations that give lineman and linebackers alike a chance to get their paws on shifty and smaller backs. The secondary AI saw a refresher with interceptions not as frequent as in past versions.

The revamped Ball Hawk mechanic encourages players to either attempt a ball swat or interception depending on the play.

The offensive playbooks have been expanded so get ready to go deep into the bag of tricks by selecting a bevy of plays, while players can make “coaching adjustments” in the playcall menu to counteract the CPU or Human opponents’ strategy.

OVERALL REVIEW:
Madden 18 is in a lot of ways a more polished and refined version of its predecessor. With revamped player models that closely resemble the top NFL stars, updated commentary and fresh beats that enhance the gameplay experience, the bar has truly been raised for this model franchise. Gameplay mechanics have been steadily improved whereby any errant throw isn’t automatically intercepted as was the case over the last few installments. Instead in Madden 18, passes are tipped and dropped more times than not by defensive backs.

The gameplay mechanics remain status quo, but this year’s iteration seems to strike a fair balance between offensive firepower and defensive playmaking.



While the Longshot mode is worth a play-through, the replay value is quite low since it’s anticlimactic once your redemption story is complete. EA incorporated its Frostbite engine which was ushered in with a great deal of hype and promise, and while the Longshot mode is entertaining, the story is somewhat predictable and animations tend to be exaggerated and not lifelike. Longshot was billed as an exciting addition to this storied franchise, but I can’t see it remaining a staple of the game for years to come.

Franchise Mode and MUT SQUAD more than make up for any deficiencies exhibited by Longshot Mode and will quickly command hours of your time and attention. The online team play in MUT SQUAD creates endless hours of fun with friends in a game that is otherwise difficult to play in co-op mode. The creation of three roles for Madden Ultimate Team makes for an interesting twist and enables users the chance to alternate between them from play to play which keeps the action fresh and frenzied.

Taking into consideration the subtle improvements in gameplay, the expanded MUT mode and the gold standard that has been set by Madden’s Franchise Mode, Madden 18 won’t disappoint and has a plethora of game modes and styles to entertain and challenge fans of all ages and playing experience.

Try your hand in PLAY IT NOW mode and dive right into to your favorite team’s gameday battle. Madden 18 truly has something for everyone; making it one of the most complete installments released in recent memory.


OVERALL SCORE: 9.3

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Rick Laughland Rick Laughland Author

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