Madden NFL 19 (PlayStation 4) Review

By Josh Di Falco 29.09.2018

Review for Madden NFL 19 on PlayStation 4

Madden NFL 19 is back for another season of American Football, and EA has made sure that it is back in a huge way. Franchise mode offers a huge amount of customisation options, with choices to play as a player on a team, the coach in charge of training and strategy, or as the owner of the team bent on making the chosen club the best team in the league. Plus, Madden Ultimate Team offers a neat diversion from the main section, featuring tons of hours of fun, while Longshot: Homecoming continues the story found in last year's Madden. Plus, online offers new challenges with real world opponents to round out an almost complete package.

The Frostbite 3 engine that is used for the core mechanics of Madden NFL 19 further pushes the boundaries of that uncanny valley. With "Real Player Motions," the competitors on the field perform even more realistically than prior titles. The fluidity of the matches as players seamlessly transition from play to a stoppage, and then back into the next play, makes it hard to distinguish between playing the game and watching an actual game. Of course, that statement was a little bit exaggerated, but it is just a testament to the realism that has been further injected into Madden NFL 19.

The matches themselves wildly vary from match to match, as the differing opponents set themselves up for specific plays that maximise their strengths. Rather than facing off against the same AI with different skins, 19 does make that effort to feature varying styles of offensive and defensive strategies chosen by the teams. This does make it seem like each is being controlled by sophisticated humans as they all strive for a chance to reach the top of the mountain. The realistic player movement within the matches carries from each moment. Whether it is throwing the passes or cutting through plays and catching the ball without breaking stride, Madden 19 sets the bar for what the Frostbite 3 engine can accomplish in the field of sport, both on a mechanical level, while also boosting the graphical side of things.

Screenshot for Madden NFL 19 on PlayStation 4

It is hard to determine what mode truly takes the centre stage in terms of the number of hours spent in it, as Madden Ultimate Team and Franchise Mode are both huge features that can be the main modes depending on preferences. Coupled with the second part to the Longshot, Madden 19 is not dry in terms of the offerings from the well, as there is a hefty amount of content here that will be enough to soothe fans until EA's next annual release. Franchise Mode is basically the 'Career Mode' of a chosen NFL football team and the mode itself can be attacked three different ways. The mode can centre round a player, a coach, or the team owner, as well as giving the option to play with the pre-set rosters or to draft the teams from scratch. Making this Franchise Mode even better is that there can be multiple saves simultaneously, so that way fans are never locked into one playthrough.

Shaping the team can be confusing for those new to the series, but thankfully Madden 19 does offer a nice little help assistant called 'Scheme Fit.' This purple icon is placed on certain players both within the team, as well as in the draft, to point out what players are worth picking up and putting into the team due to how well they will fit into the team's scheme. Changing the scheme will also change the priorities over what players are needed or required to really get the most out of that scheme.

Beyond this, however, Franchise Mode gets into the grittiness of getting through a Season. From re-negotiating contracts with players and attempting to keep them happy with their salary and bonuses, to training before each game in both offensive and defensive plays. Then, the team must go out and perform to reach the coach and the club's yearly goals, while the team owner is hopeful on not having to relocate the team due to consecutive poor performances and a failing business.

Screenshot for Madden NFL 19 on PlayStation 4

Madden Ultimate Team acts as the diversion to the main year-long season, as it invokes the card-collecting element to pick up players and add them into the team. Then, completing campaigns and challenges to earn gold coins allows for more card packs to be bought in the in-game store or at the auction houses to further build the team into a better and stronger unit. While this mode will not appeal to all fans, it strikes a certain chord with the card pack elements merged into a Madden release. While the randomness of obtaining certain players within the card packs is present, purchasing these packs rarely ever feels like a cop-out. Plus, the benefit of having the auction house means that if there is a specific player who is required, then it is as simple as finding them in the auction house and placing the highest bid for them, at a specified amount by the seller. This allows for real-life trading in a way - and it acts as a great way to also offload cards that are no longer needed to earn more coins.

Ultimate Team offers many different ranges of campaigns to perform in - and there is heaps here in terms of new daily and weekly goals and challenges that will forever give a reason to return to this mode. The challenges themselves revolve around playing short-term matches and completing set objectives, such as scoring a touchdown on a pass, or kicking a field goal, or preventing the opposition from rushing ten yards within the first three plays.

By setting these challenges in short bursts, Ultimate Team never really overstays its welcome, and when it does become tiresome, it is as simple as moving on into Franchise or Longshot and then returning to it later and picking right back where it was left. Maybe the only knock on Ultimate Team is just how grindy the mode can become at the latter stages but, again, that is part of the offering and it will not be a huge issue for most as that is generally par for the course with these types of card-collecting modes found in other titles.

Screenshot for Madden NFL 19 on PlayStation 4

Longshot continues the story of Colt Cruise, as he attempts to reignite his NFL career as he struggles to overcome a new challenge in his personal life. Devin Wade on the other hand, attempts to better himself as a quarterback and make better calls in-game. While the story itself is not anything special, it doesn't go for long enough to be an issue. Longshot: Homecoming can be knocked out within three to four hours of playing, and it is generally a bunch of cut-scenes tied together with mini-challenge events like those found in Madden Ultimate Challenge.

In reality, though, fans of Madden will not be buying NFL 19 for the story revolving around Devin and Colt, as this serves as a side-feature to extend the longevity of the football experience. The true meat is in Franchise Mode and Ultimate Team, but if those two modes do not whet the appetite enough, then there is always the online portion of things… although it is a 'beginner beware' as there is no mercy when playing against real world pros who have played every Madden title to date and contain years of playing experience. Again, that is the name of the game when jumping online in any title.

While the package itself is almost perfect in both the offerings, as well as the clean presentation, the only major gripe is the occasional Internet cut-outs that would also reboot the game. As playing Franchise Mode with Cloud storage is recommended, it does mean that should the Internet cut out during a training drill, the game will fail to record the accomplishment and instead boot back to the main menu, and cause the training to have to be recompleted, and this time hope that the connection does not drop. A solution would be to not play the game connected to the online Cloud storage, although, really, even if the Internet did drop, surely having the game continue offline only to have it resync to the Cloud when the connection comes back on wouldn't have been too much to ask. This way, the play wouldn't be disrupted with the occasional boot outs, or in some cases, software crashes causing a hard reboot.

Screenshot for Madden NFL 19 on PlayStation 4

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

Madden NFL 19 is a sublime example of what can be achieved with a sports title. The "Real Player Motions" generates that feeling of not 'controlling' players, but rather living as the players instead. Seeing how lifelike all the players are within a match, and how they communicate with each other before and during plays, and then watching them seamlessly get into the next play, is freakishly uncanny. Franchise Mode is a huge mode to undertake with a large enough scope to get lost in, whether as a player, a coach, or a team owner, while Madden Ultimate Challenge is a complete time-hog due to the addictive nature of collecting player cards to boost the team. Finally, Longshot: Homecoming continues the story of Colt and Devin, and while it offers a nice little detour, it does not offer a lot more to the experience.

Developer

EA Sports

Publisher

EA Sports

Genre

Sport

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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