First off, welcome to BSR’s very first video game review. Video games are going to be a new addition to the site and we will be reviewing sports games as they come out and as we get them. This category could grow into something more in the future, but this is where we are starting and we hope you enjoy!
Madden has got the reputation of being the same game every year and most of the time that is an accurate statement. Most games seem to be a mere roster update with subtle changes that you wouldn’t notice unless you were one of those hardcore players in the Madden Tournament. This is the first Madden I have purchased since Madden 15, and this game is way more than just a roster update.
To start off the game, you are welcomed by John Madden praising Brady as they show the Madden version of Brady directing the offense. No, John Madden is not the announcer in the game, but it is cool nonetheless. Just after, you get to pick how you want to play. You can choose arcade, simulation, or competitive. The arcade version is very basic and is for those who do not want to learn a lot and just want to get out there and sling it. Simulation provides the most realistic experience as everything you do is based off of the ratings of the players. Finally, competitive is completely skill based as you only play as good as you can use the controller. After you chose your experience you can choose your difficulty.
After that, you jump into a rematch of last year’s Super Bowl between the Patriots and Falcons. There is nothing special about this game. They do not teach you how to play or anything like that, you just play the full game. It’s definitely a fun game to immediately jump into though. I automatically started out as the Falcons which I found odd considering I chose the Patriots as my favorite team and that Tom Brady is on the cover, but I guess Madden doesn’t care.
The commentary team from Madden 17 of Brandon Gaudin and Charles Davis returns for Madden 18. Although they are not the cream of the crop of commentators, they are very good. The best part about these guys is that they create new commentary every week so you rarely here the same things twice. They also talk about the issues some teams are having or quarterback competitions that are going on in real life. Just a cool feature to have.
With EA Sport’s new Frostbite engine, Madden 18 looks and feels amazing. During certain scenes and often times during gameplay when the sun is shining in the stadium, you will not be able to tell the difference between real life and video game. That’s not an exaggeration either, this game looks stunning. The physics have been upgraded very much as well. Players feel like they have weight to them and players react properly to being hit. It doesn’t look like every player has been paralyzed when there is a collision. There are a few glitches however. A guy could get popped and his legs were smoked making it seem like he just blew two knees out, but he get’s up like nothing happened. Overall, very solid physics system in Madden 18.
Running with a guy like David Johnson feels way different from running with someone like Dion Lewis, as it should. Making moves as the ball carrier feels solid as well. In previous games, you could juke all day long without losing speed and you could make defenders miss every time. In this game, a juke move or a spin move will slightly slow you down and if a defender plays you right, you will get popped. But, when you make the right move at the right time, there is no better feeling and you can take off for a long run.
Passing And Catching
Passing seems to be much more difficult this year. If you make the slightest mistake, you will get picked off. Although, in the gameplay video I have included, that might suggest otherwise as the Dolphins dropped a few bad passes. That could be because their defense just sucks though, as I am playing on simulation. I have thrown many picks in the red zone trying to squeeze one in there. The pass rush from the computer this year seems to be improved and can sometimes be impossible to avoid. If you make the proper adjustments with your offensive line, you should be able to buy yourself some more time. Something, I didn’t think of until now.
The defensive backs have become very good at batting balls away and with the new physics, balls will often be knocked straight up in the air giving you a heart attack hoping nobody intercepts the batted ball. One of the biggest flaws of the older Madden’s was the inability to throw the long ball. Whenever you you go deep, the ball would be under thrown resulting in a pick. In Madden 18, you definitely have more of an out ability to lead the receiver and connect on the long ball. However, it still is not easy, and nor it should be. If the receiver does not have a ton of room, the DB will hit the ball out of the air. If your receiver gets his hands on it, the ball will often times be knocked loose, which brings me directly into my next point.
The biggest frustration with the receiving in Madden 18 is the dropped balls. Receivers drop balls at a disgusting rate. You can connect with someone like Edelman on a slant, who rarely drops passes, and he will drop a ball maybe 5 or 6 out of 10 times. Obviously the contact is the reason, but it happens too often in my opinion. It can be severely frustrating on third downs. I have also noticed the receivers love to dive for balls as well. You can see it a bunch of times in my gameplay, but the receiver could be going across the middle wide open and then would have to dive to make the catch.
When throwing to a receiver, there is also an icon (B for Xbox, Square for PS4) above him that says RAC, or run after catch. This will allow the receiver to catch the ball and try to take off once caught. If you are hit immediately after catching it when you do this thought, you will drop the ball. Maybe it is because I see it and automatically want to hit the button, but I often do a RAC when I should just catch it and take the hit and hopefully hold on.
Defense in Madden 18 is harder than I ever remember. In my online franchise in Madden 15, I had almost 50 sacks with Chandler Jones. Just an insane amount and very unrealistic. In Madden 18, I struggle to get to the QB. You can adjust your defensive settings to be more aggressive on the line, but your players will jump on a hard count. The times I have gotten to the QB I have whiffed as the QB makes the slightest move. In the gameplay, you can see me miss sacking Cutler 3 times before he throws and 80 yard TD. The frustration was real there. Playing as a DB is still straightforward and smooth. I have rarely felt I dropped a ball I should have picked off.
I started this game by putting the difficulty on All-Pro as in Madden 15, I could still win by 30. Madden 18 is a million times harder. Me and my friend do an online Franchise and after we both stared 0-2 we switched to Pro. We are both currently 3-4. The computer is just smart as hell. If you don’t know what formations to do against the pass and run, you’re going to be in for a long day.
I have found that I am very good at giving up 70 yard TD’s. I always play on the D-Line, but if you don’t put pressure on the QB, you’re going to give up a lot of points. It can be very frustrating. It seems as though in critical moments, the computer turns it up a notch as well. On third downs whether it’s long or short, they are very good as converting. If you have a third and short or are on the goal line, they lock the hell up. This game can make you want to throw your TV out the window, but at the same time you’re having a ton of fun and are completely addicted.
As every Madden game does, this game comes it’s fair share of glitches. There is the one where the QB just threw the ball in the wrong direction for a safety, which I found very funny.
However, when a glitch happens to you, it’s infuriating. In my online franchise I was in a close game at the end of the third quarter. I scored to go up 9-7 and I had my extra point blocked and returned all the way. There was a flag on the field for something I cannot remember and I got to chose to decline or accept. I thought this was good, I would have another shot. Accept was first and goal and decline was DEF to kickoff. I was very confused when I saw this and clicked accept hoping I would get another shot. NOPE. The other team got the ball on first down…ON THE ONE YARD LINE!!! The next play they scored and went up 14-9. I wanted to break everything I saw. By far the most frustrating thing in Madden I have ever seen.
In my gameplay video I actually countered a glitch on the Dolphins’ first drive. I picked the ball off with Patrick Chung , but there was a defensive holding. For whatever reason I got to accept or decline the penalty, even though it was on me. My defensive holding call turned into 1st and 20 for the Dolphins. This one I found funny. These issues will hopefully be addressed in an update.
Pats vs Dolphins Gameplay
If you want to watch the gameplay of my game against the Dolphins, here it is. I am very embarrassed that I lost this game on a game winning field goal from Miami, but hey, it happens. The game gets intense at the end and certainly left me pissed off that I lost.
Long Shot is Madden’s new career mode and has received great reviews so far. I am only 20% in and if I actually complete it, I will do a separate review on that. However, I find it painfully boring so far.
If you’ve stayed with me this long, I thank you. With Brady being on the cover of this year’s Madden, they knew they had to come out with one of the greatest Madden’s ever. This game may not have surpassed the GOAT Madden ’04, but it certainly is the best one I have played in a long long time. If you have not gotten it yet, I highly recommend doing so as it looks and plays amazing. Just be ready to get frustrated when playing against the computer
I rate Madden 18 a 9 out of 10 on BSR’s video game review scale that I just made up.
I hope you enjoyed this review and keep an eye out for more sports video game reviews from BSR!
- madden-18-brady-og: Image Via EA Sports