YBLTV Review: Madden 18
The only two Madden games I’ve owned are Madden 08 and Madden 18, giving me an interesting but potentially pointless perspective of seeing 10 years difference in the franchise. Besides the obvious difference in cover athletes (how can you compare Vince Young to Tom Brady?), there are a host of both improvements and regresses over the decade. So, putting blind nostalgia away, I will attempt to compare the two games as I review Madden 18.
I played Madden 08 on an X-Box 360 and Madden 18 on an Xbox One, so I can’t judge the apparent graphical improvements. However, with Madden 18’s Frostbite game engine, the physics feel much more satisfying. When I’m running with the halfback and I partially run into my blocker, I don’t just bounce off like I would in Madden 08. The defender will now actually reach his arm out and drag me down if I get too close. The minor physics details added to this game are a crucial detail.
On the other hand, Madden 18 has been getting a lot of heat over the accusations of “scripted events”. This is absolutely true considering how heavily EA relies on animations rather than fluid gameplay, but it is most apparent only on the “All-Madden” difficulty, the hardest difficulty in the game. Now I can hear the rebuttals: “Maybe you lost the game not because of scripted events but because it was on the hardest difficulty!” That’s a fair point, but even if true, it robs the game of that fun feeling. You know, the way every game should feel. A simple fix of flipping the difficulty to “All-Pro” (just one level of difference) gives the game the challenge it needs to feel competitive while maintaining the fun factor.
All Madden fans should appreciate the franchise’s typically outstanding soundtracks. That being said, Madden 18’s soundtrack is horrendous compared to Madden 08’s. Madden 08 featured 29 tracks. Madden 18 only has roughly half the songs with 14, and it is incredibly noticeable. Madden 08 had songs and artists I have never heard before, opening my mind to unique and diverse songs that I will always associate with the game. The only track that saved Madden 18 was Kill Jill, which perfectly combines the vocaloid genre of Hatsune Miku and rap with Big Boi. Weird and surprising mix-ups like Kill Jill is the spirit of Madden, but sadly Madden 18 lacked in every other aspect on the soundtrack.
Madden 18 is a 8/10 for me. Get it? 8+10=18.
In all seriousness, the Madden franchise is in desperate need for some competition in the simulated football industry. Healthy competition leads to innovations that can move Madden, and EA as a whole, in the proper direction. That said, Madden 18 is a great game for both single player and with friends.