Madden NFL 18 Review
Madden NFL 18 is the most recent iteration of the beloved and sometimes hated Madden franchise. This year the cover features reigning Super Bowl champion and potential GOAT (Greatest of All Time), Tom Brady. The game continues the franchise’s run as the top, and only, NFL video game franchise in video games.
The game plays much like you expect a Madden game to. The rules of football do not change much year to year, and there is not much of a point for the mechanics of a game based on that sport to change. The gameplay continues to be what you expect from the series with no huge changes, and no real changes of the regular game you expect from the EA Sports franchise.
There is one new mechanic in the game that is seen a bit in the story mode Longshot. This is the targeted passing mechanic. Instead of just throwing to a receiver by hitting their designated button, you hit L2 and lead the receiver with the left stick and throw ahead of them. The mechanic is not put together well and thankfully is not necessary to play the games modes besides the story mode. It is not exactly well thought out, and besides its use in Longshot it does not do a lot to make itself useful and honestly will need to be worked on to make anyone use it outside of the Longshot mode.
Finally, the real big deal in this years madden is Longshot, the story mode. In it you follow Devin Wade a former 5 star Texas Longhorn and his attempts to get drafted in the NFL draft through a American Idolesque tv show showing his attempts to be good enough to be drafted. The story has been lauded in many places, but honestly it is not the greatest. The story is a bit basic and honestly has a paint by numbers feel. A person who had his career in front of him until a close family member dies, then leaves the sport for years but eventually wants to return and make his professional dreams come true.
The use of the targeted passing in the story mode is perhaps its best implication as in regular games it is tacky, and annoying, but in the specific story parts it works well. There are other gameplay mechanics such as steering the ball on its way to the other main character of the mode, Colt Cruise’s, hands that honestly do not make sense. For the most part the story mode is a Telltale decision based visual novel in which you are trying to show scouts and coaches that you are ready to return to the NFL.
In my opinion the story mode falls flat. Much like Fifa 17’s The Journey, much of the decisions you make do not seem to have a real effect on the mode. I played through the four hours twice, and the same exact ending occurred even when I made various decisions. While the acting is not bad, the story itself does not live up to the hype that many have given it. In comparison to The Journey I do prefer it a little bit as it cut out much of the actual gameplay in the Journey that turned it into a slog, while Longshot was a relatively quick four-hour affair.
For the most part Madden 18 is what you expect. The same gameplay, the same modes, and the same NFL teams. Longshot is a nice addition, but it does not do everything it needs to make a story mode in a sports game relevant. I give Madden NFL 18 a 7.1 out of 10.