‘Madden 19’ same old story for popular franchise

The popular “Madden” video game franchise’s latest release has some new features, but “Madden” is still the same as it ever was.


Photo image from Google Images (fair use)

Julian Koonce, Staff Reporter

With “Madden 19” released this fall, the game’s developer EA Sports promised a different feel for the storied franchise. For the past couple years it has been, virtually, the same game, save for the updated rosters. But with new creative director Mike Young on staff this year, big changes were ahead.

But EA Sports just doesn’t seem to have to change anything or even want to, simply because they don’t have to. Until “Madden” has a rival video game series to clash with, we’re almost guaranteed to get the same game every year that looks a bit different but always plays the same.

When you load “Madden 19,” you’re greeted to a fresh and user-friendly main menu. As soon as you hop into gameplay, you can tell the difference immediately at kickoff. Graphically, you can now tell fields are turf, and not grass which is a small, but nice detail.

Once you receive the ball at kickoff and start running, you’ll notice the running system has been changed. Wanting a more realistic feeling to the game, EA Sports made it so you can’t just hold down the R2/RT buttons and constantly stay faster than the people chasing after you. The game challenges you to stay smarter than your opponents and use your Turbo speed boost at just the right moment so your runner or receiver can zip past defenders.

This is because of the all-new RPM or “Real Player Motion” feature. It tries to take movements completed by elite players in the National Football League and make a realistic system for executing those moves, which takes a certain level of skill. Because of this, there are realistic sacks and tackles and tackle-breaks.

A fan favorite from a past Madden game returns in the “19” version. “Longshot: Homecoming,” a sequel to the fan-favorite story mode that follows characters Devin Wade and Colt Cruise’s journey to NFL super-stardom, is back. The story isn’t as strong as the original “Longshot.” Devin seems to have no character development throughout the story and Colt’s coming of age story seems very fast and forced. Unfortunately the “story” falls flat due to much more gameplay than its predecessor.

Aside from story mode, the main attraction for a lot of Madden fans is “Madden Ultimate Team.” EA Sports made it much easier for the player that can’t afford to constantly pour money into micro-transactions to build a strong team with the all new power-up cards. Some of the new cards feature a slew of former and current players including Barry Sanders, Steve Young and Antonio Brown. These cards in the “Ultimate Team” feature could be powered up to 90 points or higher. You can also now play “Ultimate Team” squads against an artificially-controlled ultimate team and build up chemistry with your teammates.

The fans of “Madden’s Franchise Mode” are not left out this year. Young, the aforementioned director, delivers on his creative promise by giving us an all-new progression system. You no longer have to save up massive amounts of points to bring your speed up by one attribute point, as you can upgrade one of the three main archetypes for your position: Either speed, power or balanced. The changes to “Franchise Mode” seemed that they’d be pretty great in numbers. Unfortunately, it seems to just be fixing the bugs from last year’s mode.

In essence, “Madden 19” looked like it’d be EA Sports’ most ambitious game so far thanks to its new cast of creative directors and board heads. Unfortunately, none of these new features seem to be enough to make a refreshing football game.