Game Review for Madden 18
[ Register or Signin to view external links. ]
Platforms: PS4, XB1
Release Date: August 25Th, 2017
Developer: EA Tiburon
Publisher: EA Sports
Modes: Single-Player, Multiplayer
Awards: Satellite Award for Outstanding Sports Game
Madden NFL 18 is an American football sports video game based on The National Football League, developed and published by EA Sports for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. The 29th instalment of the Madden NFL series, the game features New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady on The cover, the second straight year a Patriots player has had the distinction, following tight end Rob Gronkowski.
It was released worldwide on August 25, 2017, although those who pre-ordered The "G.O.A.T. Edition" were able to play it three days earlier and access their copy on August 22, 2017. It is the first game of the series since Madden NFL 2005 not to be released on both PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, and also the first game in the main series to be available on only two platforms since Madden NFL '94.
So within Madden 18, there are several modes in which fans can get their digital football fix.
Longshot , a new mode to this years game, follows the rise of Devin Wade and Colt Cruise promising football talents from Mathis, Texas, you take control of Devin a Mobile QB and play through his High School games. Both he and his friend Colt are invited to take part in a Regional Combine event and they both showcase their talents to scouts from around the NFL.
Longshot not only puts you to the test on the football field but also in the way you play the game off the field too, there are often events in which you have to do something which will affect the rest of the game. Some things are basic like stopping to take a photo or keeping on driving. Some, however, are more complex like having to remember and then call real football plays for the coach in his office.
Beyond the combine you take part in a gameshow and build Devin Wade into an NFL draft prospect which culminates in you being in the draft, now not all playthroughs will feature you being drafted, it is all based on the mini events and matches you play as the main character that will decide your fate.
There are 3 possible endings to Longshots mode, the first is that Devin Wade gets drafted to his favourite team which the user can pick early in The playthrough. The second is that Colt Cruise gets drafted to the player's favourite team's main rival in the NFL, which then leads to the third event which is getting taken as an undrafted free agent, which is told to the player by NFL HOFer Dan Marino after previously meeting the legend at the studio. The options for this ending or that you can go to your favourite team or the one which Colt has been drafted to.
Completing parts of this mode rewards the player with items for the Madden Ultimate Team mode including the high school teams uniforms and stadium and coach which is Devin's deceased Father as well as an item of both Devin and Colt.
The mode was received well and reportedly will be a feature of Madden 19
Though my personal opinion on the Longshots mode is that it was a poor version of a poor feature of FIFA which is the Journey mode. The game is minor gameplay, lots of cutscenes and small mini games that at times dont even effect what happens in the playthrough. I got to about half way through the mode, which earned me the items of both Wade and Cruise and i stopped there. If it indeed does come to 19 i again will play it until i get the MUT items as for me it just isn't appealing and i would rather play something that helps my MUT team progress since its my favourite mode.
Pros: Story mode appeal
free MUT items
Cons: Slow and boring at times
for those who enjoy it, it only lasts ~12 hours
Madden Ultimate Team (MUT)
Within MUT there are several smaller modes which I will cover.
The main premise of MUT is that you can build your dream team of NFL stars and legends of the past who each earn cards throughout the year based on events and performances. You can collect cards in your item binder to a maximum of 1500 items. Items can be placed into "Sets", sets are collections of certain cards that can reward the player with various things which can include other cards, collectables, and more.
The first is coins. Coins can be earned via playing matches at a rate of approximately 1200 per match (more/less based on the current division within gamemodes) and there are bonus coins available for reaching milestones in a gamemode such as reaching the playoffs or winning a MUT Draft tournament. Coins can be used to purchase packs from the store (Though not all packs offer a coin purchase) or used to buy players from other users in the Auction House. Players have different values based on rarity and the stats on the item. Prices of players are also affected by new events and other item releases. Thus making The Auction House a useful tool for making extra coins from trading which is what a player with some time and some market knowledge will be able to utilise and make themselves a lot of coins, the best can make millions each day.
The second currency is MUT points, these are bought solely from the store and are used to buy packs of items and can be used to buy contracts to apply to your players. The store can contain many different pack bundles, some are permanent and remain from day one until the end of the game. Whereas some are limited time and contain items for a specific in-game event. The maximum cost for a bundle is 12,000 MUT Points which equates to $99 (less with EA Access or PC equivalent starting in Madden 19, as it awards you 15% off).
With most of EA titles this is the case and another similarity is that people especially this year have been hating on EA for their money grabbing attempts, a lot of the packs in the store were pure trash so you were paying $20 for ~50,000 coins where as you could buy coins of another user (Against ToS) for ~$7 per 100k even at the start of the game and the packs remain the same price regardless of item worth up until around 2 weeks ago where some packs were discounted a little but they are at this point useless. There were whole MUT promos that were entirely designed to be a pack only promo, especially Blitz. Later promos began rewarding users more but it wasn't enough and the poor EA liaisons for the main MUT sub-Reddit and twitter agents have taken a lot of abuse throughout the year from community members.
These are all against The CPU and range in difficulty and rewards. Some Solo Challenges can be very basic one play challenges and reward as little as 200 coins. Though there are some that can take up to 30 minutes or even longer based on how The game goes and can reward as much as 30,000 coins as well as a pack. Various solo challenges are released throughout the year in accordance with events such as Team of The Year, NFL Draft, NFL Combine etc. These solo challenges tend to reward event specific items like players or collectables as well as coins to be used in sets to unlock better rewards. One example of this is with the gauntlet challenges, there were 3 releases of gauntlet challenges which each brought a new set of easy, medium and hard challenges which rewarded Gauntlet Trophies, as well as weekly Gauntlet, Unleashed challenges which rewarded 2 trophies per week. These trophies were exchangeable for different players ranging from 84-92 overall and all untradeable. Unlocking all of them allowed the user a chance to submit them all for a tradeable 94 overall version of one of them. At times Solo Challenges were praised and at times they were hated on but it gave MUT something extra that other sports titles don't have.
I really liked the solo challenges this year, there were a few thousand of them throughout the whole of Madden even though a lot of them were repeated weekly which did spoil some of the fun of them. In my opinion too many of them were full game solos too, which take several minutes per challenge and when there are 32 in the set it can take hours to complete them all only to be rewarded with an untradeable FB who is only worth a small amount even if he was tradeable (Here's looking at you James Develin)
Pros: Easy coins and other rewards
Different uniforms that reward chemistry points
Chilled out and relaxed mode
not enough rewards for some of the larger solo lists
This is a weekend only tournament which you can unlock entry to by winning a 3 match tournament during the week, finishing a season in a high league in Seasons or by earning 11 wins the previous week. This mode rewarded those who were top tier players The most and even gave the lower skilled players something for their troubles. It is a mode where all the hated on tactics are used and a lot of glitches were abused. This was the first year of MUT Champions after it was taken from FIFA who tried it the year before and it was met with positively unless you played someone who opted to abuse a glitch.
Nice addition to the game for those who want to take the game to a competitive level, adding rewards for both monthly and weekly performaces should be a feature of all modern games. This mode like i mentioned was originally a FIFA feature however differences are aparent for example the games played is only 25 in MUT rather than 40 in FUT. This was a great change by the MUT team as 40 games in a weekend is too many. 25 is still a lot to play over a 3 day period but its manageable if you are serious enough about the game and are chasing the great rewards on offer each week throughout the year.
Pros: best rewards possible
bonus monthly rewards
Cons: same plays all the time which results in VERY boring play
people abuse glitches so that they cant lose
Like the name suggests you draft a team of players from 20 options, you are guaranteed the important positions like QB, HB, CB, SS and the rest is up to you. This mode can be played vs AI, Friends or Online. The first two are free to enter with The AI option giving limited rewards and Friends giving none, however, the Online variant of MUT Draft is 15k coins to enter (Buy Tickets in The store which equates to 15k) but can net the player a lot of coins if they can win all 4 matches. The rewards vary by wins ranging from 0 rewarding 7k and a gold pack up to 4 wins rewarding either 60k or a legends fantasy pack as well as the tickets needed to play again. Therefore winning could allow the player to gain significant coins and reentry from one 15k entry.
The rewards i mentioned were only introduced late into the games cycle but the mode was reinvigorated with players because of how good the rewards were. The starting rewards made it so winning barely netted you coins if any and so after the community asked for it to be changed it was.
I hope the Draft rewards are good at the start of 19 otherwise it will be a quickly forgotten mode like this year.
Pros: Good rewards at the end
rewards good players enough to keep going
Cons:Like with MUT champs it is full of the same plays and glitches
at the start of the year it was trash
The next mode of MUT, very simple, Seasons is just an online head to head where you play a season of NFL which if you win all your games nets you a Superbowl win. The rewards for each season vary based on which division you are in from Rookie all the way to All-madden. You also earn seasons tokens from seasonal performances that can be exchanged in sets for various items including a season master item or a large quicksell. These tokens are also given as part of MUT Champions too.
Bog standard mode, its pretty good but the rewards just aren't there. You may aswell play squads since its more fun or draft since its more rewarding, without a change to the way seasons rewards are given many people just won play it again like was the case this year.
Pros: Easy MUT Champions qualification
Cons: Terrible rewards, people practice their dumb glitches on here before the MUT Champs begins
This is the final mode of MUT which pits two teams of 3 players against each other. Using your Ultimate team you can either be the Offence, where you use your offensive players and you control The QB and select / execute the offensive plays and manage the clock. Defence again you will be using your defence and you call the plays and manage the clock. or Head Coach where your coach and uniforms will be used, this means that early in the game you and your friends can decide who will play where and upgrade that aspect of your team first which is what I did, I played defence and so I made sure my defence was as good as it could be.
this is personally my favourite MUT mode as i can play with friends and try players i dont have which is fun and we also traded each other players to play on squads with since if im defence i dont need any of my offensive players so i can trade them across to the offence guy and vice versa.
They are adding a CPU squads mode for 19 that looks to be very cool and i cant wait to try it out.
Pros: Social aspects
easy to meet friends
more fun than regular seasons
Cons:if you dont have a team of 3 you are matched with a random who 95% of the time is trash or deliberately messes the game up for you
just as bad rewards as seasons
All in all i have to say that MUT is by far my favourite game mode as it allows you to use someone like Tom Brady who can throw the ball once again to Randy Moss and you can be tackled by Lawrence Taylor etc.
The controls of madden rarely change and are pretty good as they utilise most of the buttons on the controllers. Such as when you are The QB, you can Throw to any eligible receiver which is RB,X,Y,A,B on Xbox and you can modify your pass using LB, enable target passing using LT and sprint out of the pocket using RT.
Then if you complete a pass, handoff the ball to a running back or escape the pocket fully you can use B to spin, the thumbstick to juke in any direction, X to dive/slide, Y to hurdle, LT to enable the modifier for moves, RT to sprint.
While as a receiver with The ball coming you can use Y for an Aggressive catch, A for a possession catch or X for a RAC catch.
As a defender, you can use X for power moves or A for finesse moves while in a block, Y to attempt to catch The ball or X to swat the ball.
As both The QB or a defender other buttons can be pressed pre-snap that allow adjustments to the play to be made including editing receivers routes, defenders coverage and more.
The soundtrack of Madden is always great! They add a mix of Hip-Hop, Pop, EDM and country to their EA Trax list. My personal favorite this year was Wish you Well, other popular songs include Kendrick Lamar's DNA, Rick Ross's Purple Lamborghini. The soundtrack is played in all menus except when opening a pack and can also be heard at times in game via stadium speakers too. Its a great addition to the game as it allows for popular songs to be listened to via the game and the only way to improve this is to use an app on the console to play music. As well it could be a larger list of tracks as they do get somewhat repetitive after a long gaming session
The graphics of Madden for me are very mixed, at times you see the stadium and it looks good, they have captured tattoos of popular players like Odell Beckham Jr really well and the kits of both the NFL teams and the made up ones in MUT are nice but then the fans in the stand look terrible some player models look goofy and when playing in The snow all field marking are miraculously clear which just looks weird.
Here are some examples of The Madden 18 Graphics.
My scores for Madden 18
Gameplay = 8/10
Graphics = 7/10
Soundtrack = 9/10
Controls = 10/10
Overall score = 8.5/10
Thanks for reading my review of Madden 18, one of my favourite games of the year and i look forward to Madden 19 which releases on August 10th.