Madden is always an entertaining game in my experience. As a guy in his thirties with two young kids, I have limited time for hobbies and so a while back keeping up with American Football failed to make the cut. so whenever I get the chance to dip into EA’s yearly gaming juggernaut, it is an exciting time. I played Madden 17 reasonably extensively but skipped last years entry, so I was raring to go.
The first thing that hits you when you start up Madden is unsurprisingly the soundtrack. EA has once again done a great job selecting a list that gets you in the mood to play. The list includes music by A$AP Rocky, Cardi B, Anderson. Peak, Post Malone, Nicki Minaj and T.I to name but a few. It’s mostly a Rap and R&B list which will not be to everyone’s taste, but as luck would have it, it falls in line with mine.
I started my Madden 19 journey by heading over to the Skill Trainer section to see what was different from my last flurry with the series. As it turns out the game feels like a substantial upgrade from what I played two years ago. The Frostbite engine came in last year and now in year two of that migration EA have added Real Player Motion.
Real Player Motion gives you a lot more freedom on the field, especially when on the attack. Simple moves like jukes and spins feel better than ever, and while there is a learning curve to this new way of playing, it is rewarding and worth the investment time to nail it. Defensive gameplay also feels like a step up with defensive lineman bouncing off tackles as they close down the ball.
Passing plays can feel even more rewarding as well with the ability to catch the ball in different ways. For example, if you hold square upon receiving the pass, you will take the ball in your stride and transition to gaining some yards a lot quicker. This does, however, leave you open to more significant hits. On the other hand, you can hold X for a possession catch where instead of trying to burst away the receiver will brace for impact. I can’t confirm if this is new for Madden 19 having not played last years game, but I found this to be a cool addition that added an extra layer of depth and tactics to each play.
Ultimate Team has also undergone some meaningful updates. Contracts are gone, so now when you obtain a player, he is yours to keep. Players can also now be upgraded using training or a specific item found within packs. There is also currently the option to play against other people’s MUT teams while the AI is controlling them. This will gives you much more variety to an already stacked mode.
Franchise mode has added the creation of draft classes. These classes can be saved and shared with the community, and likewise, you can download other users creations. Offensive and defensive schemes have also been added and while not a game changer it is a nice touch.
Longshot makes a welcome return this year after impressing in its debut season. Having not played last years initially entry I feel I lost out a bit on the emotional connection to the characters. That aside though, while the story was decent enough the mode didn’t feel special like so many had told me the first one was. It is very little in the way of choice, and even the gameplay sections felt strangely unimportant and only necessary to move you on to the next long cutscene. Performances were good, so it cannot be faulted for that, but it’s three hours of the game that you won’t remember down the line.
Madden 19 actively delivers where it matters, and that is in the moment to moment gameplay. Real Player Motion is a huge plus and gameplay, in my opinion, feels better and more diverse than ever. Longshot doesn’t hit the heights of last year but it isn’t terrible. If you like me to dip in and out of the franchise this is not a year to miss. If you are a Madden die hard, then you have probably been nodding along to the praise I have been heaping on the game throughout this review.
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