Madden NFL 18 Review

September 9, 2017

Review Contributed by Scott Davidson

Another edition of Madden; another video game with a disappointing career mode based off every other sports game. Madden’s decision to include the ‘Longshot’ story mode seems to have been brought upon by rival sports franchises introducing similar plotlines in years past. Madden NFL 18 represents a step forward in realism in this generation of sports game releases, but with such a big emphasis on its new story mode, your mileage may vary greatly depending on how keen you are for a Madden movie.

In this game, the storyline features schoolyard buddies Devin Wade and Colt Cruise as they seek their way to stardom from the despair of lower class beginnings. There were warning signs for me early on in the game, when playing touch football in the front yard gave you the ability to veer the ball left and right depending on the obstacles in your way. Clichéd shots of Devin looking into his father’s eyes – you simply knew where they were going with the story before the ball had even been caught.

With every cloud there comes a silver lining and despite the soppy story, which will no doubt be repeated for years to come, the Longshot feature does open the eyes of fans to the relentless world of sports media, as players are used as objects to appease investors through the cloak of a virtual screen. Unlike similar career modes in series like NBA2K, there is a major benefit to the virtual responses and reactions given by Devin Wade at each turn reflecting his draft ability. A borrowed system from post-game press-conferences in the FIFA series, this is a great way to feel in control of your own destiny.

Whether you think the Longshot story is believable or not, or even if you think its sappy subtext transcends to the bleeding obvious, which it does, there is one scene that will take your cake and eat itself too. If you think that an undrafted QB rookie from the South could get flown to Dubai with Dan Marino to throw balls at wooden boxes is something that happens to every wannabe NFL star, then you should stick to video games.

Sport games are a unique genre with an ever-growing pursuit to be more realistic and life-like than before which does make me question why they would want to incorporate such a ridiculous arcade feature as a Dubai air-base hangar, as well as balls that can float left to right by the control of the QB. Despite the lack of realism at times, the acting itself was exceptional during the course of the story – it was enough to make me question sometimes whether I was reviewing a game or an interactive movie.

But enough about Longshot, let’s talk about the updated gameplay, or to be more precise, the new three-dimension component to the game. Players are now able to play Madden in Arcade mode, Competitive mode and Simulation mode. Just to make it even more confusing for you, if you want the true essence of Madden just like as you’ve always known it, then play Simulation mode to begin with. If you’re new to Madden and daunted by the realm of screens, slips, runs, laterals and blitzes, then it’s probably best to stick to Arcade mode where players are invincible and can contort the impossible.

At the end of the day, your desire to continue playing sports games is ultimately dependent on your satisfaction and ability to learn the process of play. For non-American Football fans wanting to play Madden NFL 18 (I’ve seen stranger things), you’re probably going to be very confused by how intricate each play can become. Slant route adjustments, audibles and general front line protection will be your Achilles heal quickly as you become inundated with not only defensive pressure, but also rapid offensive precision. For experiences campaigners, Madden NFL 18 will appeal to you as always with crisp graphics, plenty of online options and the ability to create your own Ultimate Team. What’s Ultimate Team? Well, just like other great sports games have perfected in the past, it’s Madden’s turn now to allow for users to play with their own unique squad and break challenges and challengers apart.

I can’t say that Madden NFL 18 has me bouncing off walls when I get home each day, itching to play it, but at least I know that I can get my Madden fix with sleek gameplay and incredibly fast loading times. I do believe in progression and with annual sports games, I often find that they build ideas in blocks every two-to-three editions. I’m sensing that this was just a stepping stone towards something much bigger in the future. Perhaps not next year as they work to perfect the career mode, but if the series can continue to build upon the foundations laid here, a golden edition of Madden 20 will be something you wouldn’t want to miss.


-Realistic visuals
-Intricate football gameplay
-Story mode has some great acting


-Hackneyed Longshot storyline
-Emphasis on mediocre story is the focus of this year's update

Overall Score: