Another year, another Madden. Franchise and Ultimate team modes seem to carry the weight again, with the new “Longshot” mode creating some necessary waves in the title. With the focus clearly on this new narrative and the ultimate team mode/market, the gameplay seems to suffer in growth. Below I break down the positives and negatives I have with the game to explain my points:
- Ultimate Team – Still one of the coolest aspects of EA games. Building your own team and challenging the computer/other players online really helps drive the mode forward. You want to be able to compete and beat the best. With the mode being slower than Fifa, the payout from scoring feels 10x as good and rewarding!, Unfortunately, due to the circumstance of the market and micro-transactions, people had incredible teams by the time I purchased the games. I was able to win at a decent rate but many of the people I ran into had far superior teams.
- Franchise Mode – Especially with friends! Drafting teams and playing week to week was probably my favorite part of the game. We get to play very unfair computers on the highest mode and eventually play one another in division games to compete for the Super bowl. The mode does suffer after some time and struggles to keep you engaged after a lot of games in single player mode.
- Career Mode – Franchise – I always enjoy creating a quarterback or running back and take the NFL by storm. I love throwing 55-60 times a game for crazy records and enjoying a mind numbing game of Madden. That’s normally when most of the random fun happens!
- “Longshot” Mode – Not a huge positive. I know it is a step in the right direction and I love the idea of them creating a dramatic narrative for people to enjoy. Which had me glued to the TV until I realized they followed the same style as Hunter in Fifa, I personally felt no connection to it and saw it as me playing someone else’s complete story. I’d rather play as myself in the story and have more options. I’m sure they are working towards it, but it was still exciting to be a part of the story and work your way up.
- MUT Squads – My friends an I play a ton of Pro Clubs on FIFA and I could see this mode really catching on. it’ll be a big mode for the future because it relies on multiple people. I didn’t get the shot to test this mode since only one other friend got the game with me at the same time. I look forward to the mode progressing and being more applying to people as the game changes (which NEEDS to happen) if it wants to compete with future titles.
- Ultimate Team – Also in the negative. I enjoy the idea of the market but the match making for ultimate team (after the first couple matches with new people) seemed unfair. I was matching with people clearly paying to play/win. I didn’t invest at all and my team seemed to suffer. I also didn’t have the time to grind out the challenges/gridiron so I couldn’t play with those stars or sets. That being said, I did alright but clearly wasn’t going to be able to compete at the higher levels like someone can in Fifa. The issue comes with how big a gap the best players are from the good. My corners (who ended up being good) got burned by teams with top level wide outs. It wasn’t even close. Barely stood a chance in any of those games. Obviously a bit frustrating!
- The gameplay… STIFF! – I feel like it suffered another year. Maybe I’m old school but I don’t think they made many improvements that matter in the grand scheme of things. Most of the skill moves and tools are the same as usual and are most effective. Rarely can you pull off crazy plays or jukes, especially when online.
- The movement. In some crazy way EA still hasn’t found out how to make humans run like humans in the game. Maybe it’s just me! But I feel as if they look very weird and their elbow bend doesn’t make much sense. The in between play sequences seem robotic and same as previous years. Not much more facial reactions that matter. The movement still comes off as buggy to me and really needs an upgrade! Fifa looks incredible and even has certain players run how they do in real life. That technology needs to be used for Madden. I know it’s not as big a seller globally, but it’ll absolutely change the sales in the states.
- Glitches – Again, possibly something that might’ve only happened to me. But it happened often in games online with tackles that should have been and in weird styles after tackles. It also happened between plays or when quarters ended. Something I assume gets fixed with updates or future games. Some people loved how they weren’t repetitive but it didn’t seem to be much different from previous years. Or maybe I saw it often after playing multiple seasons with my QB or drafted franchise.
- Franchise – Personally where I had the most fun because my friend and some random guys from work played a season or two together, and I created my QB here and tore up the stat sheets. Outside of that, there wasn’t much replay-ability. Franchise mode has to improve and get some new features or it’ll die out with all these other modes starting to improve and grow.
Madden needs a new engine. We need people to move more authentically and act more realistic. It struggles to keep you engaged and make you feel like you’re playing a new Madden. Feels like all the old ones. I like how they introduced a couple new modes. I believe this is a step in the right direction and will blow up as Madden continues to change. Make the career mode (Longshot) more about the player with better options, add features to Franchise mode, upgrade Ultimate Team mode to be easier to navigate and compete, and create a finished MUT Squads mode that attracts new players. You do a couple of those things and I’m sure you’ll get my buy next year and increase you stock to be the sports game to buy next year. The graphics were great but engine weighs it way, way down. Improvements weren’t there in the necessary areas, but I do enjoy the attempts for new ideas. Fro a sports game my overall rating is: