There is one element of football season that’s almost always guaranteed; The latest iteration of the Madden football video game series will always stink. It’s not the player modeling or the depth of color or attention to detail in the uniforms or the new celebrations or even the spectacular game intros and improved halftime shows.
What’s always horrible is the tenuous grasp it seems the people developing the game seem to have for the sport of football. For years now Madden has been average, pandering to a community of players that want to fire up their video game consoles and run the same three plays that are good to get them 600 yards passing with nine touchdowns against a predictable AI that never seems to evolve from the glitchy and markedly unintelligent CPU help you have, especially playing on the hardest of difficulties.
The new one-cut ball-carrier moves are the crowning achievement and at the crux of all the positive reviews as they give you more control in crucial moments during play. Commentary is superb and adds to the ultra realism. There have been some changes to Franchise mode XP progression which might annoy hardcore Madden fans but that is one of very few negatives in this polished package.
Like FIFA, Madden aims to be a true-to-life representation of the sport and Madden 19 gets closer to achieving that then ever before. The Frostbite engine and Longshot story mode are the bedrock of another brilliant offering and with the added focus on gameplay it’s a real winner. Player handling improvements and the possibilities that are now open to us thanks to Frostbite, mean that this is much less of a grind for the gamer. Things feel fresher for longer. Quite simply this is the best-looking, best sounding, best presented and best handling Madden yet.
In terms of gameplay improvements, EA Sports has really focused on the running game.
Dubbed “Real Player Motion”, fans can expect a wider variety of animations for a more logical and coherent experience.
It’s also EA’s way of making sure players like Odell Beckham Jr catch like they do in real life. You can also juke more effectively the later you press the button.
Changes have also been made to tackling, running and catching, but they feel like animation updates rather than anything more substantial.
Some of the same bugs and glitches from Madden NFL 18 are even still in this update version. It makes me wonder if they didn’t copy and paste the bulk of the code and if the developers even bothered to go back and work on those issues? Madden NFL 19 definitely comes with entirely new set of game breaking glitches as well.
Your favorite players might not even be in the rosters yet! Chiefs backup Chase Litton, who has been on the roster since early July, still isn’t in the game, and even drafted guys like Tremon Smith have incomplete player profiles that feel hastily manufactured in an effort to do the least possible to just get the product out.
All in all, if you judge Madden NFL 19 as an individual entity, it’s great. But if you judge it as part of a franchise spanning over 20 years, it’s too minor an update to recommend.