Madden 19 Review

Madden 19 has hit the shelves, but how good is it?

Toby Durant by Toby Durant

Madden 19 is the latest installment of EA Sports’ flagship franchise. Madden has long been popular with NFL fans thanks to its variety of game types and the ability to take any franchise to Super Bowl glory.

This year though, EA Sports have gone above and beyond to give fans the closest simulation to date. With improved graphics and player physics, as well as the ability to truly make your mark on a team, Madden 19 is sure to keep players happy all year.

Real Player Motion

Year two on the Frostbite engine was sure to provide an upgrade, and boy has it. Real Player Motion was the main feature of Madden 19’s marketing campaign, and it doesn’t disappoint. With more fluidity of movement you can truly dominate as a ball carrier, with basic jukes and spin moves capable of freezing defenders, while the precision moves floor them. Use of the sprint button is now vital, with the ability to play as a patient running back like Le’Veon Bell or burst through the gap like Ezekiel Elliott, you now have more control than ever before over how you score touchdowns. The improvements over last year are noticeable, and will force players to get into practice mode and re-tune their skills if they want to pick up wins online and beat their friends.

EA SportsThe great thing about EA Sports focusing on in-game mechanics is that it shines through in every mode. From the second installment of Longshot, to Madden Ultimate Team and Franchise Mode. Whatever game type you like to play, EA Sports have given it an upgraded in Madden 19.

Take Control Like Never Before

In previous years you had to build your team with little overall structure. You could turn your wide receiver corps from deep threats into option-route masters and the makeup of your team would really change, but this year you can establish your philosophies and build a team to match.

You can choose an offensive and defensive scheme to best suit your play style and then build a roster that matches it. With player archetypes to help you find a speed rusher or a possession receiver, changing your teams philosophies and finding players to suit your schemes is better than ever.

EA SportsYou can take the Green Bay Packers and use their west coast zone run scheme, which the roster is 78 percent scheme fit for, or change to a vertical zone run which the current roster is a 89 percent scheme fit for. Or if your own style is more of a west coast power runner, you can pick that and rebuild the roster to suit your style. Want to play a Tampa 2 style with the Packers? You’ve got a lot of work to overhaul the defense as they are only 69 percent scheme fit. Madden 19 lets you become the head coach and general manager of your favorite franchise like never before.

A big addition to Franchise Mode is the ability to edit and create whole draft classes. Put your favorite names and faces from NFL history into the game, or recreate your entire high school team. When scouting starts in Week 3 you can use the auto-generated class or even dive into Madden Share and see what other players have created. There are already some players that have uploaded a likely 2019 draft class so you can add Nick Bosa to his brother Joey in Los Angeles.

Overhauling Player Progression

Madden 18 gave you the flexibility to horde XP and develop players the way you wanted to. You could create the fastest guard or the strongest corner in the game, or you could develop a rookie quarterback into a deadly passer.

This year things have changed. Gone is the ability to pick your path in player development, it’s replaced with points to improve your players archetypes. It isn’t as flexible, but it also takes some of the guesswork out of picking the right stats. Instead, add a point to your archetype to get a boost in several stats to improve your player.

EA SportsIt’s an update to a rather old system, and it fits well with the new schemes and philosophies either side of the ball. However, it can be frustrating to build up XP in practice and not get to throw them all into a singular area of weakness like throw power or catching. It’s something that will take seasoned Franchise Mode players a little time to get used to.

Madden Ultimate Team – Tweaking A Great

Not much has changed in Madden Ultimate Team, which is for the better since MUT is such a popular game type. However, EA have added some opportunities for new players to build their teams with solo challenge tournaments. Pitting your lineup against teams created by Madden 19 developers, NFL players, and celebrities and try to rise up the leaderboards.

EA SportsYou can also upgrade players using training points, but these aren’t locked in as the points are refundable, making the system less of a grind than it otherwise could be. You still have to collect cards, complete sets, and build a strong roster. With legends available, you can create a unique team with your favorite players.

Longshot: Homecoming

Devin Wade and Colt Cruise return to Madden 19, with Devin struggling at the bottom of the training camp roster. The direct sequel to Madden 18’s story mode, Longshot opens with Good Morning Football setting up the story of Wade struggling to call plays once again.

The game mode requires some patience, but it’s less of a slog than last year. There is more game play, but it can feel like a struggle to complete drills rather than actually playing football. The story has a tinge of Friday Night Lights to it, with the high school stadiums and off-field drama, but there is little real football involved, it’s mostly driving down the field and retrying if you fail to score. If you enjoyed the first installment of Longshot you’ll like the second, but there is such little replay factor to it that I don’t think it will be too popular.

RealSport Rating

7.8/10 – The improvement to in-game physics is a welcome step forward in both look and feel for players. Franchise Mode has a fresh feel to it compared to last years version, while Ultimate Team is still brilliant. Longshot: Homecoming is a little disappointing, but it’s just a small corner of the game compared to the vast expanse of Franchise Mode and Ultimate Team. Football is football, and Madden 19 is not reinventing the wheel, but it is improving on itself this year. 

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Toby Durant

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