Madden 19 returns the primary focus where it belongs: that moment-to-moment gameplay between the end zones. It's only true stumbling point is the lackluster story mode that fails to recapture the magic of the first, but that's entirely offset by the new player handling that once again leverages the power of the Frostbite engine. Most importantly, Madden 19 has finally cracked that slightly repetitive feel that can make it tough to go on, game after game. With Real Player Motion delivering a fluid on-the-field experience, and Franchise mode customization offering another level of realism, Madden is in a great place.
The shift to the Frostbite Engine definitely lets Madden NFL 18 look fantastic, and Longshot makes great use of that to tell a short but powerful against-all-odds story. MUT Squads also opens up a new way to play with more than two players. But beyond that, the underwhelming feel of gameplay improvements and lack of much of anything new within Franchise, Madden NFL 18 sails wide-right in the final seconds. That said, being a much better-looking version of a solid football game with a great new story mode makes it at least a significant improvement, even if it's more incremental than we'd hoped from a new game engine.
Madden has finally found its comfort zone between the tackles, and offense and defense have reached a great balance. The community’s gameplay wishes were granted with a new focus on Franchise mode, led by the Play the Moments feature. Outside of its mood-killing commentators, Madden 17 is just about everything we’ve been waiting for since EA Sports took full control of the NFL license. Football is back, and it’s only a yard or two short of becoming an all-time great.
Unless you're an avid - and I mean AVID - fan of Nintendo, Mario or Sonic, or if you have kids, don't worry about rushing out of your way.