‘Madden NFL 18’: MVP year for franchise

By Diego Ortega


This year’s installment of Madden brings out the best in the established series with the addition of the Frostbite Engine and a remarkable story mode.

Every year Electronic Art (EA) Sports games are updated in an attempt to attract bigger audiences. These additions rarely turn heads, but in “Madden NFL 18” the newest feature is worth talking about. The story mode feature, Longshot, can change the way story modes are used in sports games.

Longshot puts you in the shoes of Devin Wade, a football player from the University of Texas, who decides to end his college career early and is approached with an opportunity of a lifetime that might lead him to his NFL career.

The story’s tone is reminiscent of “Friday Night Lights,” and the inclusion of Scott Porter, an actor from the TV show, is a statement to the style the story is aiming for.

The cinematic feel of the story and fantastic voice-acting from the cast including Oscar-nominated actor Mahershala Ali are the best part of the game mode.

This mode does not include full-length games or seasons; instead it allows players to make choices that may impact the character’s career.

These choices are similar to Telltale games, comprised of timed decisions and quick-time events. This may seem like an odd fit, but it fits the story perfectly.

The players find themselves wanting to know more about Devin Wade and his situation while experiencing the pressure of an athlete trying to compete at an elite level.

Longshot does an excellent job of making the game relatable, fun and interesting — all at the same time. This short experience is a step in the right direction for the franchise and I can see this mode staying in the future.

This year also marks the introduction of the Frostbite Engine in Madden, after seeing its debut in “FIFA 17” for the first time in one of EA’s sports franchises. EA’s Frostbite Engine is known for highly detailed visuals and is a popular engine in the industry.

Games such as “Star Wars: Battlefront” and “Star Wars: Battlefield 1” are recent examples of games that take advantage of the engine’s sophistication with jaw-dropping vistas.

The game’s biggest improvement is visual. The engine’s product is apparent and immediate with lighting worth notetaking.

The largest obstacle is adapting the game to the new engine without altering the gameplay significantly; something “FIFA 17” was critiqued for.

This time EA was able to implement the engine and not only improve visuals but gameplay as well.

The gameplay is still what Madden is known for and a few improvements such as choosing play styles, improved hit-sticks, and improved ball-positioning make the gameplay even better.

The previous installment in the series was a much-needed improvement for the game and “Madden NFL 18” is an improvement in that direction.

Play Now Live is another small new introduction that allows you to play with your favorite team with updated rosters, and you can follow players’ performances

and injuries week-byweek.

With these improvements, “Madden NFL 18” has positioned itself as one of the best in the series and reminds players why the football simulator is one of the best sports franchises in gaming.

The newest additions to gameplay keep the game fresh and the graphical improvements keep the game up-to-par to its counterparts in the sports-gaming world.

The introduction of Longshot continues to add to the already vast game modes the game has to offer and creates a unique experience of interactive storytelling.

Whether you are a hit-stick wonder or new to the series, this year’s Madden is worth picking up this season.


E-mail Ortega at diortega@student.uiwtx.edu

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