Madden 19 is back and better than ever. It’s easy to criticise yearly releases for sports titles but EA Sports always seem to find enough improvements to justify another purchase.
Devin Wade and Colt Cruise return in Longshot: Homecoming – Despite signing NFL contracts, a year down the line sees Colt back home looking for a team while Devin is trying to save his career at the Dallas Cowboys. Longshot is made up of small sequences where you’ll take part in drives upfield, some you can fail and others just ask you to try again until you are successful.
I wasn’t sure whether I would enjoy the new stroyline, but as it moved along I found myself really getting into it. I didn’t particularly warm to Devin in the first game but enjoyed his character much more this time round. Colt was as great as ever, it was interesting to watch his struggles unfold and watch how he dealt with them.
The story lasts about 4 hours depending on how successfully you manage the plays in the game, it feels like about the right size too.
Longshot tries to teach you a little bit more about the plays and what you can do beat your opponents defence, if you understand the basics of American Football it’s helpful in your journey to learning a bit more. You’ll learn about the different passes you are able to make and how they can affect the game, if you can remember it all it will really help you when you play through the other modes and against your friends.
On the field, more refinements have been made to the players, the Frostbite engine has really helped with player movements and collisions between players is more impactful than ever before. If you choose to run with the ball and stiff arm your opponents it really feels like your decision has paid off to gain that extra yard or first down. There is still the occasional oddity during cutscenes but they are becoming less of an occurrence.
As you would expect, the game looks incredible, every year I wonder whether they could make things look better than the year before and they all seem to, stadiums seem to have more detail than ever before, while watching the teams enter the field while players perform their entrance moves that remind more of the WWE than anything else. The detail on the players looks great, you’ll notice the specks of sweat on players arms and the lighting makes a real difference to the visuals. However despite saying this, I couldn’t help thinking that during the cut scene of Homecoming that the character models were a bit clunky, especially if you compare them to cutscenes from other EA games, I’m sure over time this will improve though.
Of course the TV style presentation is still excellent, with interesting commentary that never feels forced, I also didn’t feel like there was much reputation either, although there was the odd time where the commentators seemed to be commenting on something that hadn’t happened, however it never ruined the immersion of the match.
There is plenty of content to play through too, Franchise mode and Madden Ultimate Team have returned, each with their own improvements. Both modes are now much more welcoming than to new players yet for those of us who are more experienced can get straight on with things. During both modes there is always something to aim for, you’ll be constantly updated with new goals to aim for that will result in experience points in Franchise or packs to open in Ultimate Team. EA seem to be more conscious of microtransactions this year, they are of course still there but they aren’t rammed down your throat nor do they feel like they hampering your progress.
As with most sports titles over the last few years, it’s likely that only the hardcore fans can justify the latest purchase. There are plenty of improvements to Madden 19 that make it a purchase, but it’s always understandable that some will feel that the changes are only minor. However once you do start playing Madden 19 you won’t find yourself returning to previous titles. The game does a great job of welcoming new players so if you are new to the sport it’s definitely worth checking the game out.