Madden NFL 18
Top Critic Average
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 18 shines brightest with its new Longshot mode, but the lack of improvements elsewhere makes this year's Madden offering an incremental – but still highly-playable – update.
Madden 18's benefits don't immediately jump out at you, but they are worth exploring
An intensely personal story mode, graphical upgrades, and frequent updates make Madden NFL 18 one of the series' best games in recent memory.
Madden NFL 18 doesn't shake up its gameplay but the new story mode is a success.
Madden 18 shines where it matters most: On the field. The transition to Frostbite is seamless, and the balance of the running, the pass rush, and coverage feels better than ever. By comparison, Longshot is a little rougher, but it's an interesting and ambitious first attempt. Between Longshot, the Frostbite transition, the more balanced gameplay, and MUT Squads, there's a lot to like about Madden 18. In a four year march that has seen steady progress with each iteration, this is the best upgrade yet.
Most of the Madden 18 experience is exactly what you expect, but the twist is the new exceptional Longshot mode that proves sports can be an avenue for video game storytelling. Turn off false start, offensive holding, and instant replay; raise catching ability through the roof; and stay away from the slimy Ultimate Team mode. Do that and you'll have a good time with Madden 18. Go Bucs!
But really the question should be what does the game add? Madden NFL 18 perhaps marginally improves on graphics that still feel stuck in the past, it introduces an ultimately flawed story mode and a gameplay mechanic that you're better off not using. All the while, it's most notable new addition, the “Play Live Now” feature, feels like you could get the same experience from a mobile phone app. Oh they have one of those, too, you say? Great.
Madden 18 is the best installment of the series in the last years. Very solid andwith stunning graphics thanks to the Frostbite engine. Great both for the veterans of the genre and for the newcomers.
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Madden 18 is yet another triumph for the series, and this year's big success story is the game's Longshot narrative. It seems incongruous to be talking about heartfelt, well-acted storytelling in a Madden game, yet it's a perfect fit, hanging some drama off EA's rock-solid mechanics and fantastic visuals.