Occasionally here at Player2.net.au, we will play something that deserves your attention but probably doesn’t need a full review written for it. Be it DLC for the latest AAA title, a little indie game or even an Android/iOS title. We play these titles for a blockbusting amount of time (2 – 5 hours) and report back to you the reader on what we found. So grab your popcorn and settle in for the latest episode of Blockbuster Gaming.
Blockbuster Gaming – Madden 18
Madden games are something of a guilty pleasure of mine. I certainly don’t buy them every year and I don’t obsess over them when I do, but generally, I enjoy my time with them. Grid Iron is, at its core, a turn based strategy game and I certainly love those. The only problem I have with these games is that they are clearly designed for the hardcore fan, the follower that knows the ins and outs of the sport like the back of their hand. These games, on anything higher than rookie difficulty, simply don’t cater to more casual fans that have an idea of the sport but doesn’t know the finer detail. I am pleased to say that with Madden 18, that has changed and it is the most welcoming entry for new players in years.
The biggest changes in my eyes (the last Madden I played was 16) have been the introduction of playstyles. There were three options I could choose from, Arcade, Simulation and Pro. Simulation mode is the Madden long time fans will know and love. The full tactical experience of the sport. Pro is focused on competitive online modes and puts a real emphasis on using the right stick to alter moves and improve plays. Finally, the Arcade mode is where I spent most of my time. Arcade mode isn’t a replication of NFL Blitz or anything like that, it is just a mode for people to play where things have been altered to allow more flashy plays, more big tackles and more touchdowns. I could still set the difficulty as high as I wanted so it was still a challenge but it made the game feel more like the Madden’s I grew up with. It was certainly a more enjoyable way to play for someone who gets lost with the huge amount of knowledge that goes into being a good Madden player.
The next massive improvement for newcomers is the Story mode. Called Longshot, it tells the tale of an NFL wannabe with a tragic past as he gets picked up by a reality TV show, with the goal of him getting drafted to an NFL team. The story was actually pretty surprising and it avoided a lot of the cliched sport story beats. However, the real benefit to this mode was that it taught me an awful lot about Grid Iron, especially the Quarterback position. Through the story, EA has used some clever tricks to sort out the pros from the rookies by using dialogue options. For example, the game would ask me if I knew where the Safety should be standing in a certain play. If I said yes and got it right the story would move on. If I said no or got the question wrong the game would then spend the time to teach me. I found myself really enjoying this mode because of this more than the story. It was certainly a novel, yet entertaining way to improve my knowledge of NFL.
In all Madden 18 has all the beats that returning players are looking for. Madden Ultimate Team, serious online modes and comprehensive season and coaching options. But what sets this Madden apart is the wide open arms it has for newcomers, which is something a lot of serious sports titles forget to include. If you have ever thought about dipping your toes into Madden but have been put off by the complexity, then this is the year to do it, you will probably never get a better chance.