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Growing up as a fan of the EA Madden Series of football games, we have all witnessed some highs and lows of the franchise. When Madden 18 came around, things were changed forever. It wasn’t just the presence of Tom Brady on the cover – the second Patriot in two years after Rob Gronkowski – which stood out.

There were two noticeable changes: the main one being the inclusion of the “Longshot” story mode. The second was the game moving across to the Frostbite engine from the Ignite engine of the previous three years. EA’s FIFA 17 also moved to the Frostbite engine the year prior, and had a couple of slight nags. These did not seem to be apparent on Madden 18. The absence of the latest football news and odds for Canadian users from a live desk aside, it was clear that it was the most impressive game I had ever played.

Longshot Mode

The big talking point among football fans playing the game was the Longshot mode, which was the title’s initial venture into the story mode realm. As far as first efforts go, it was pretty cool, although not as epic as it could be. What made it appealing was the ambitious nature of the feature. It appeared that EA wanted players to truly embrace the sentimental and inspirational side of football, through a worthy protagonist.

Devin Wade, the hard-on-luck main character who goes from forgotten prospect to potential NFL stardom by way of a reality TV show, was instantly accessible. The Frostbite engine really helped to humanize what was essentially a cartoon character, and really root for him to succeed. His success obviously depends on a player’s control, so those who didn’t warm to him probably spent a little time purposefully sabotaging his career…

Gameplay

No great changes to the gameplay were implemented, but the ones which were certainly made the difference. The subtle nuances incorporated into the lead up play made things feel less mechanical and more organic, which was awesome from the perspective of a cerebral football fan. The Franchise campaign was also pretty cool, given the slight tweaks built in this time around. Playing the “Patriot way” was almost made possible.

For Patriots fans, the Ultimate Team feature also saw a cool tune-up with online cooperative play really adding to the fun. For those who enjoy playing with buddies online, or simply banding together with a group of New England Patriots fans from around the world, this can be a lot of fun. Especially if you own a headset. If not, get one. Trust me.

The game itself was a vast improvement on Madden 17. With the focus on the story mode feature, you could be excused from thinking that less attention would be paid to the gameplay itself. Luckily for fans, this was not the case, as these adjustments were pretty surgical, meaning that – without the need for great changes – things were made just right.

Is Madden 18 the greatest football game ever made? Well, little under a year later, the answer would have to be resounding “yes”.

Mike Downs 5/04/2018 03:58:00 PM Edit
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