I’ve not played much Madden until recently, I was a huge fan of the series on the Xbox 360 but never really got back into the series when it made the jump to the PS4/Xbox One. What interested me and brought me back to Madden was the brand new story mode “Longshot” which has followed the trend of EA adding a story mode to their sports games. I’ve been a big fan of the direction EA has taken by adding a story mode to sports games, it helps make yearly sports titles feel fresher and much more interesting.
With this being said, I wanted to focus most of this review on the Longshot story mode as it was the most important feature for me personally and it’s the feature that has brought me back to the series. I feel that there’s also going to be many other players out there who are intrigued by the series after missing a few games due to the new story mode too which makes thoroughly discussing the Longshot story mode important to this review.
In the Longshot story mode, you take control of the quarterback Devin Wade who goes on a journey to become a player in the NFL along with his childhood friend Colton Cruise. There was a few things that I noticed not too long into playing Longshot, and that is that the mode is heavily narrative driven, and you should not expect much gameplay at the start. I don’t even think I started actually play the game until 30 minutes after starting which shows how heavy the narration and story is in this mode.
I also noticed that there’s dialogue options which can actually have an impact on the story, and it’s not just thrown in as a lame way to make the game seem like it’s giving you options. The dialogue you choose will also show up in your scouting report which will constantly update throughout the story mode. It can be found in the pause menu, and it will say things for example like “spending too much time on social media” if you chose to do a selfie with Colt rather than getting to the important event.
The story mode also uses QTE’s quite heavily through out the story, which again can come back to effect the scouting report for Devin. For example missing a QTE will end up with Devin having negatives in his comments section on the report. QTE’s being successfully done will reward you with positive comments which are all important for the scouting report. The overall grade, the Football IQ and performance are dependant on positive and negative comments that you get in the Longshot story mode.
Overall I was very impressed with the around 5 hour long story mode, and I hope to see it become a staple for the Madden series in future releases. It’s story heavy and you should expect gameplay to light in this mode as story and narration is the number one focus in this mode as it should be. If you’re looking for gameplay heavy modes then there’s many others in Madden 18 like Ultimate Team and Franchise. I was invested in Devin Wade’s story and I hope to see it continue for many more years in the Madden series.
Visually Madden has never looked better, especially playing on a PS4 Pro as this is the first Madden game to make use of that extra PS4 Pro power with 4K visuals which make everything look that much better. Player models, stadiums, the crowd, everything looks sharper and a lot more eye catching when playing on the PS4 Pro. If you own a PS4 Pro and want a sports game that is enhanced thanks to that extra power then it’s going to be worth checking out Madden 18 on the PS4 Pro.
Presentation also seems much better in Madden 18 with a very TV style feel, and the commentary sounding better than ever. One of the biggest complaints I always had in the 360 era of Madden was that the commentary and presentation was below average, and that it needed to be changed up for the Madden series to not have those lingering issues that put off many fans like myself.
The Final Verdict
Madden 18 was my first Madden game in a while, and I have to admit, it managed to impress me. I think my short break from the series has done a lot of good as Madden 18 feels like one of the best and freshest Madden games that I’ve played in the last 10 years. The improvements to presentation and the addition of a brilliant story mode have pushed Madden 18 into a must buy for both yearly buyers and those who have kind of given up on the series in the past.
+ Visuals are majorly improved (especially on PS4 Pro)
+ Great presentation
– While gameplay is good, it does still feel too familiar even after a break
Final Score: 8.5/10