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Madden 18 Gameplay: What's Working and What Isn't

Madden NFL 18

Madden 18 Gameplay: What's Working and What Isn't

With the transition to the Frostbite Engine, Madden 18 welcomes a new era of gameplay to the franchise. While early impressions seem to report that the latest iteration is an improvement but not a gigantic leap forward, there are some standout additions to the gameplay and notable concerns. Madden 18, just like every game before it, has a mix of things that work and things that don’t. It should be noted that my experience with Madden 18 has been exclusively with the “simulation” game style.

What Works In The Passing Game

  • The CPU quarterbacks move around in the pocket and will take off when there is green in front of them. This really adds a new dynamic to the pass rush, as over-committing  doesn’t necessarily result in a sack or a hurried throw.
  • Quarterbacks miss throws up, down, to the left and to the right. It’s a nice change of pace, as you can definitely feel the difference between a good quarterback and a bad one.
  • Watching a wide receiver and cornerback duke it out while the ball is in the air is really fun. Jump balls, in general, just feel more realistic this year.

What Doesn’t Work In The Passing Game

  • Those same CPU quarterback scrambles often lead to the CPU running right into the defensive line for a sack that should have never happened.
  • The CPU still holds the ball for sacks during half-back screen passes. This has been an issue for years now, so it’s frustrating to see that it still results in easy sacks. In general, sacking the CPU quarterback is far too easy.

 

What Works In The Run Game

  • It’s really fun to mess around with the new weight system in place. Taking on cornerbacks with Leonard Fournette is fun. Conversely, trying to bulldoze larger defensive tackles just isn’t happening.
  • The new and improved juke tools are fun to use. It’s an understated addition, as Madden 18 is the first iteration in a while that make “stick skills” feel important and worth focusing on.
  • The run blocking, in general, is improved. Guards making quicker pulls is a noticeably large improvement.

What Doesn’t Work In The Run Game

  • The same weight mechanic mentioned above makes for some funky looking animations. There will be times where a player running full speed is decked out by a larger player who isn’t moving.
  • There is a notable lack of impact. The running game just doesn’t feel like it has properly conveyed momentum.

 

What Works On Defense

  • Linebackers play more realistically and cover less space.
  • Conversely, having large defensive tackles feels much more important than ever. Having a playmaker at the center of your defensive line takes up more space and provides better opportunities for anyone else trying to get to the ball carrier.
  •  Having a secondary that actually seeks to knock the ball down is a breath of fresh air. Jump balls no longer wiz right by a corner’s facemask, they’ll actually jump out and try to get in the way.
  • One of the neater things I’ve seen so far is a handful of hurdle animations. Watching a skilled linebacker hop his way over a chop block and zoom toward the quarterback is a fun addition.
  • Defenders tend to play their zone a little more loosely than in the past, allowing them to adapt in coverage more so than in the past.

What Doesn’t Work On Defense

  • Similar to the lack of momentum in the run game, it just doesn’t feel like there is an active push on either side of the ball. When you’re running ahead with a defensive lineman and getting stonewalled – almost as if the two players are in scripted wrestling match – it feels as if the play was decided before the ball was even snapped.
  • There’s still general ineptitude on the part of defenders and the CPU. On plays right before the half, the CPU will blitz some linebackers and drop into an aggressive zone.
  • Defenders will move toward the ball even when they aren’t looking in that direction. It should be noted that this seems to happen less than it did in the past.

 

What Works In General

  • Kicking and punting feels more realistic than ever before, mostly because the football tends to work in a more natural way.
  • The play calling feels a bit more dynamic, with the CPU playing more conservatively with their back’s against the wall and a little more risky when there’s room for it.
  • The game’s blocking schemes look and feel better, leading to less head-scratching misses.

What Doesn’t Work In General

  • The same blocking schemes that have been so improved in the running and passing are almost non-existent on kick and punt returns. While special team play (as a whole) continues to improve, kick and punt returns are still pretty boring and lack potential for big, fun returns. Especially on the CPU side of things.
  • Between the easy sacks and odd play calls, exploiting the CPU is still too easy — despite being more difficult then in prior iterations.

What are you finding to be the case with Madden NFL 18?

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  1. The CPU quarterbacks move around in the pocket and will take off when there is green in front of them. This really adds a new dynamic to the pass rush, as over-committing doesn't necessarily result in a sack or a hurried throw.
    I was shocked to see this article lead off with something positive about the CPU QB AI. I've watched several gameplay videos and read over 100 impressions and I have not seen what you are describing. In fact, the main complaint about the game seems to be QBs standing still and not running. And I've seen many times when they do actually take off and run, they make an ill advised throw as they approach the line of scrimmage instead of running for easy yards. Basically the opposite of what you said. I don't have the game yet so I can't speak about my own experiences but the contrast between your statement about the QB AI and everything else I've read is alarming. I hope the gameplay and impressions I've seen surrounding the QB gameplay aren't as damning as they sound. I hope you're right.
    Can anyone report on these reach tackles? I've always felt EA shrugs off defensive mechanics in favour for offense and reach tackles are a big addition even though it should of been in for years (APF 2K8 had great reach tackles).
    I gave up on 17 because block shedding seemed so pre-determined and you would get stuck on lineman far to easy. has this been tuned to factor in ratings and momentum/weight? The addition of reach tackles would certainly help the case for people like me who play this game more so for user controlled defence.
    Can anyone report on these reach tackles? I've always felt EA shrugs off defensive mechanics in favour for offense and reach tackles are a big addition even though it should of been in for years (APF 2K8 had great reach tackles).
    I gave up on 17 because block shedding seemed so pre-determined and you would get stuck on lineman far to easy. has this been tuned to factor in ratings and momentum/weight? The addition of reach tackles would certainly help the case for people like me who play this game more so for user controlled defence.
    BleedGreen710
    I was shocked to see this article lead off with something positive about the CPU QB AI. I've watched several gameplay videos and read over 100 impressions and I have not seen what you are describing. In fact, the main complaint about the game seems to be QBs standing still and not running. And I've seen many times when they do actually take off and run, they make an ill advised throw as they approach the line of scrimmage instead of running for easy yards. Basically the opposite of what you said. I don't have the game yet so I can't speak about my own experiences but the contrast between your statement about the QB AI and everything else I've read is alarming. I hope the gameplay and impressions I've seen surrounding the QB gameplay aren't as damning as they sound. I hope you're right.
    I agree with this 1,000%...
    Sent from my Redmi Note 3 using Tapatalk
    mykelmosinee
    I agree with this 1,000%...
    Sent from my Redmi Note 3 using Tapatalk

    +1...I have seen just the opposite regarding CPU QB play.
    Millennium
    Going to state this again:
    Writer using code with patch.
    Most with impressions using unpatched EA Access version.

    Whether this is directed at me or not I want to clarify that I'm aware of that which is why I didn't refute his claim, rather I said I hope what he's saying is correct - because it seems everyone with the non patched EA access version is saying otherwise.
    I'm remaining hopeful.
    Sent from my HTC Desire 625 using Tapatalk
    Millennium
    Going to state this again:
    Writer using code with patch.
    Most with impressions using unpatched EA Access version.

    So he has access to a patch? If so, hopefully its as effective as he is describing.
    Also it would be a good idea to put that in the thread title.
    Special teams in CFM does not work, again, due to the broken wind. It's the same bug that has been present in CFM mode for about 3 years. In every game wind blows endzone to endzone, and 8-12mph winds result in 30+/- yards on kicks and punts, which means that one quarter a team will boom 80-90 yard punts, while the next quarter they can't punt 30 yards. It completely imbalances the game and means that, yet again, you have to use SuperSim/Play The moments on special teams in CFM mode. This bug makes special teams unplayable in CFM, unfortunately, even while the team emphasized that 'special teams will be special again' in Madden '17.
    Millennium
    Going to state this again:
    Writer using code with patch.
    Most with impressions using unpatched EA Access version.

    cable guy
    So the game will be released with a day 1 patch?
    Sent from my SM-G900V using Tapatalk

    Yeah that's a good question. In the gameplay patch thread it seemed like there wouldn't be a patch for several weeks, but if retail review copies are patched then it would sound like there's an imminent patch coming.
    If there isn't an imminent patch (day 1 or week 1) then that's a very shady thing to have reviewers/media/press playing a patched version of the game and giving impressions/reviews, but then selling a different version to consumers without those patches available.
    In either event, the article should be edited to note that the reviewer/editor is playing a different version of the game than what is currently available on EA Access and, presumably, what gets released tonight at midnight.
    Agree with the wind issue.
    I'm assuming the writer has a reviewable copy or just like in the past, finds places that may sell it early.
    My bet is on reviewable copy.
    I'm not sure a writer/reviewer needs to flash that badge all the time.
    Millennium
    Going to state this again:
    Writer using code with patch.
    Most with impressions using unpatched EA Access version.

    Where does he state that in the article? I am glad it is so, but when I read the article I did not see this fact. Seems others did not either. It should have been stated upfront in article or is article title.
    capa
    Where does he state that in the article? I am glad it is so, but when I read the article I did not see this fact. Seems others did not either. It should have been stated upfront in article or is article title.

    He is a writer doing his job, though. He is reviewing the copy he has, they aren't reviewing the copies others may have through EA Access.
    I've heard other people with copies of the retail game the QB is taking off and are guessing a day 0 patch addressed it.
    roadman
    He is a writer doing his job, though. He is reviewing the copy he has, they aren't reviewing the copies others may have through EA Access.
    I've heard other people with copies of the retail game the QB is taking off and are guessing a day 0 patch addressed it.

    True...however, there is a post in this thread that implies we all should know that he has the game with updates not in the EA Access versions. That was my point.
    Anyway, I didn't think we were getting a day 1 patch or update or whatever it is. Sounds great to me!!
    I find mmchriss' insight and opinion to be pretty good. So this brings my excitement level up a notch.
    Sent from my SM-G900V using Tapatalk
    capa
    True...however, there is a post in this thread that implies we all should know that he has the game with updates not in the EA Access versions. That was my point.

    He meant that he(Millenium) said it before and it was in different thread and you also participated in that one, too.
    I'm sure he mentioned it first in that thread and had to mention it again in this thread.
    roadman
    He is a writer doing his job, though. He is reviewing the copy he has, they aren't reviewing the copies others may have through EA Access.
    I've heard other people with copies of the retail game the QB is taking off and are guessing a day 0 patch addressed it.
    Absolutely. He is doing his job. And as far as an objective review he's doing his job well.
    I don't know about anyone else, I think EA should make it a little known these issues being addressed is like, idk.... Kinda Huge! Either through MM, or someway put it out there.
    Sent from my SM-G900V using Tapatalk
    cable guy
    Absolutely. He is doing his job. And as far as an objective review he's doing his job well.
    I don't know about anyone else, I think EA should make it a little known these issues being addressed is like, idk.... Kinda Huge! Either through MM, or someway put it out there.
    Sent from my SM-G900V using Tapatalk

    Probably will be in day 0/1 patch notes
    roadman
    He meant that he(Millenium) said it before and it was in different thread and you also participated in that one, too.
    I'm sure he mentioned it first in that thread and had to mention it again in this thread.

    I don't know what you are refrrring to to be honest. I have been in and out of many threads but do not remember all posts. My point was that in this thread no mention was made of the fact that Millen thought we all should already be aware of. That's all.
    I think his assessment of QB play is accurate from my experience.
    I have played games against the following QBs 12 min quarters, sim style and a few other tweaks.
    Matt Ryan
    Jamies Winston
    Aaron Rodgers
    Ben Rothlesburger
    Teddy Bridgewater
    I played with the Bears and souped up Leonard Floyd to an 84 ovr and Parnell McFee is an 88 on the right. So I have a pretty good pass rush.
    The only QB that seemed a bit off was Jameis Winston. He stood there like a statue and took 7 sacks without really trying to move in the pocket at all.
    Him, Ryan, and Rodgers tried their best to feed their WRs on the mismatches to their stud WRs. Julio had 8 catches for 176 yards, Evans had 4 for 68 and A. Brown had 2 for 60ish. I learned to force coverage on top WRs after being torched by Julio which limited the production of the later guys. My main complaint is that the cpu playcalling didn't seem to notice and I am confident many of my sacks (i got 3-5 per game) came from coverage sacks.
    I felt a big difference between Rodgers, Rothlesburger, and everyone else. They both took off and ran a few times and worked their way through the pocket to avoid pressure.
    So to me the statue QB is relatively low and can probably be fixed with sliders and tweaks. My only concern is that cpu playcalling is still weak. At best they avoid finding ways to get their playmakers involved or working around your strategies to do so, and at worst they run the ball down 2 scores in the 4 th quarter (yes this happened)
    capa
    I don't know what you are refrrring to to be honest. I have been in and out of many threads but do not remember all posts. My point was that in this thread no mention was made of the fact that Millen thought we all should already be aware of. That's all.

    Not sure which thread came first, but he's repeated himself twice now in two different threads and the thread I will link you up with, post #26, where he answered you directly with the same type question.
    http://forums.operationsports.com/forums/madden-nfl-football/913532-gameplay-items-being-looked-first-update-2.html
    It really doesn't matter, we aren't on the same page, and probably won't be.
    This is relatively small and I'm a fan of the home and away equipment feature, but there are some players that wear the same or similar equipment (I notice this mostly with gloves and occasionally sleeves) each game...whether they're black, white, primary, secondary, etc.
    For example...Thomas Davis never wears white gloves (usually black and/or primary), but because of the feature, he does in away games in Madden.
    I don't mind changing it myself either, but once the roster updates all of that work goes to waste.
    Thoughts?
    roadman
    Not sure which thread came first, but he's repeated himself twice now in two different threads and the thread I will link you up with, post #26, where he answered you directly with the same type question.
    http://forums.operationsports.com/forums/madden-nfl-football/913532-gameplay-items-being-looked-first-update-2.html
    It really doesn't matter, we aren't on the same page, and probably won't be.

    Agreed. Lets just let it be. Time will tell if they actually fix this as it should be. Right now there is no way to tell...and the more threads one reads the more confusing it gets. My money is on "no" but hopefully they prove me wrong.
    I played the EAaccesss version as well As one of the guys who got the PS4 version last week and have played with the patch, his assessment is 100 percent correct. The CPU QB in terms of moving around and avoiding pressure is infinitely better after patch. Russell Wilson killed me with his mobility .
    Great assessment! I'm glad it's not like some reviews I've heard where it's like an updated version of 17. Can't wait to grab my copy. Also if someone can answer for me, are the tackle stats being properly recorded?
    So, word was in other threads that review copies were playing a 1.02 or 1.2, and it looks like most of the GOAT copies are 1.01. With no patch notes or anything else it's tough to tell if reviewers reviewed a different copy than what consumers sold.
    Can the article mention which version of the game is installed?

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