I’m not a huge fan of Devin Wade, well I certainly wasn’t at the start of Longshot, the new Career mode in Madden 18. Life wasn’t treating him to well, but his attitude really got on my nerves. In fact, it took me a while to really like any of the cast in Longshot, but as the story moved on I really began to like Carlton ‘The Cruise’ Missile and Jack Long, the man who becomes Devin’s mentor.
During some trials he is spotted by a TV producer of a show called Longshot and he wants to Devin to be the main man. It turns out he is being lied to as there are three other opponents all trying to earn their place to be coached by an ex-NFL coach and given the chance to play in an all-star game in front of all of the scouts.
Unlike FIFA’s ‘The Journey’ you don’t play a single full game of football, instead you play mini games or take part in QTE events. What I really loved about the career mode was how as Devin you were forced to go back to basics. Devin was an aspiring QB, but life events and some poor performances saw him quit the game. During your training, you’ll learn about calling plays and what everything means. It’s hard and like Devin I struggled to remember the five components of a play call, but over time my actual understanding of the calls improved.
The majority of the supporting actors were excellent, they were either really likeable or provided some depth to the story. Some of the story was pretty easy to work out what was going to happen, but generally I found the story entertaining.
Away from Longshot, Madden 2018 sticks to what’s it knows best and adding a some pretty useful improvements too. The first big change is in Madden Ultimate Team with the introduction of the Team Squads option that sees teams of three players square up to one to another.
Although it’s welcome addition, but I’ll need some committed friends to ensure you get the most from it. I’d like to have see co-op exist outside of MUT too.
Franchise mode is still the highlight for me, taking your favourite team through preseason, then hopefully all the way to the SuperBowl.
Sounds simple, but it isn’t – You’ll need to manage the whole organisation. Keep players in contracts while keeping wage bill manageable isn’t harder than it looks. You’ll also be training players, as well as assessing injuries before playing your next match.
Scouting for new players is essential if your team has any chance for securing successful in the future. In the scouting menu, you can target select players to see if they are worth pursuing in the drafts. Using scouting points, you can unlock information about their abilities giving you and idea of where they will sit when the NFL draft begins, you may discover the next Russell Wilson.
You can spend hours in the menus, but like me you might just want to play some football. Madden 18 gives your four different gameplay experiences; You can just choose to play as offence, or defence, or just play the whole match. Finally you can play the highlights of the match, determined by the game. This is the best option if you are just looking to play a quick game, although I didn’t feel completely in control of the outcomes as both team score can score during the simulation.
To get the most from each match, you’ll need to play the whole game. Player animations have improved which is great to see, it makes those big hits even more impressive, you still see plenty of oddities still, some hits see player fly wildly out of control, I also saw too many players ghosting through each other after a play. It’s a big improvement on last year however.
As always, EA have managed to nail the presentation, with the Frostbite engine there are huge improvements to the lighting and character models. The in game UI has also had some improvements which is great, as there can be a lot to take in.
The commentary feels very natural and informative, this year it feels like you really are live, with references to upcoming fixtures and all the stats you could possibly need about players previous performances, which is great except when you are going through a bad patch.
The Frostbite engine makes a real difference to the graphics, especially noticeable is the lighting effects, with big stadiums full of floodlights it really make sure you feel like you are there.
It’s always hard to tell readers to buy games that have a yearly release cycle, but with the addition of Longshot bed the general improvements to the game, picking up Madden 18 is a no brainer.