Connect with us

Madden NFL 19 Succeeds by Getting Back to Basics

Madden NFL 19

Madden NFL 19 Succeeds by Getting Back to Basics

A great man once asked, “are you ready for some football!?” and to answer your question, Hank Williams Jr., oh yes, we most certainly are. The long wait since Eagles’ backup quarterback Nick Foles ended Bill Belichick and Tom Brady’s bid for another Super Bowl is over, and now EA is back once again to cater to all pigskin lovers out there with the release of Madden 19. As the inevitable questions of what’s new and how this year’s game stacks up to last year’s loom large, let’s have a look at some of the areas where Madden 19 excels, and a couple of areas where it underwhelms.

What I Like

Battles for the Ball

Simply put, no catch is automatic in Madden 19. Defenders will not allow balls to be forced into tight spaces without proper resistance anymore. They are relentless now in their attempts to jump, bat, claw and do everything in their power to ensure a pass is not completed. This eliminates some of the predictability that couldn’t help but creep into last year’s passing game and makes every ball in the air a little more exciting when you’re never quite certain if your guy is going to be able to come down with it. There are even some rare instances where these battles may even stretch the limits of the NFL’s confusing rules on what constitutes a catch. Defenders will sometimes rip the ball out of a receiver’s grasp, and the pass will be deemed incomplete even though it appeared as if the receiver had secured the catch long enough to call any loss of possession at that point a fumble. Regardless, those gray areas hardly diminish the appeal of the dynamic battles for the ball.

Improved AI in Pass Coverage

Working in tandem with the aggressiveness defenders go after balls in the air, you’re also likely to find them in better positions to make a play on the ball because of improvements in how the AI performs within pass coverage schemes. In zone coverages, you’ll see fewer instances where defenders fail to properly patrol their assigned areas of the field, and instead they will latch onto receivers with incredible awareness and stick closely with them even in cases where it makes sense to follow that receiver beyond their assigned zone. But it’s clearly man coverage that has seen the most improvement this year, as a previously unreliable scheme has been revamped to allow defenders to now run stride for stride with receivers (sometimes even making cuts in unison with them), and will have quarterbacks thinking twice about challenging them. But before anyone thinks coverage is so tight it will be impossible for anyone to ever get open, rest assured coverages still break down at times, and receivers will regularly flash open for small windows of time. The point is you need to be keenly aware of where the superior defensive backs are on the field at all times because they are just as tough to beat consistently as they are in real life.

Real Player Motion and the Running Game

Madden 19’s new Real Player Motion is bound to take a while to get used to for anyone who played Madden 18. For one thing, there are moments where it feels like players are not running as fast as they should be, and then there are other moments where it just looks plain weird — as if your player were jogging or even high-stepping like Deion Sanders rather than sprinting how you’d want. But ultimately, it does seem as if this new system at least works as intended the majority of the time, making acceleration and speed more representative of players of different shapes and sizes. This system also impacts how they turn, cut and move their way up the field, making players look a little more like flesh-and-blood humans now. It successfully eliminates the superhuman abilities players displayed in the past at changing directions without significantly losing any momentum, though it may be something that gets tweaked either in patches or next year to address some of the instances where it looks and feels especially unnatural. Obviously, the virtues of RPM are especially felt in the running game, where it’s more important than ever for a back to make a cut or hit a hole at the right time. They are also much more adept at maneuvering around blockers and maximizing runs for as many yards as possible by pushing the pile.

MUT Training and Solos

Madden’s most popular (or at least, most lucrative) mode, Madden Ultimate Team, returns for another year, and though there aren’t any monumental changes in Madden 19, there are at least some new wrinkles to keep things interesting. For instance, the introduction of cards that can be upgraded with training points forces you to make new considerations when building your team, as there’s an inherent strategic element in deciding which player is worthy of spending your valuable training points on at any given time. There also appears to be an emphasis on appeasing users who don’t have any burning desire to play MUT online with plenty of solo challenges to keep them busy, including an opening series of them that functions essentially as a season for your team — forcing you to complete several challenges within each of the 16 games (and postseason) on your schedule. You can even join up with a couple of friends and play MUT Squads against the CPU this year. With plenty of coin and pack rewards to be earned along the way, it’s entirely possible to put together a respectable squad just by completing solo challenges (and new solo battles) that will earn you a host of select legends and elite players.

What I Don’t Like

Longshot: Homecoming

It’s not like Longshot’s second chapter, Homecoming, is especially terrible or anything, but it ends up coming across as a rather mediocre sports movie. The story is just sort of there, and the on-field moments you control are awkwardly shoe-horned into the narrative, so the gameplay and narrative don’t do much to lift each other up. Picking up the stories of quarterback Devin Wade and receiver Colt Cruise, we find Devin struggling to make the Cowboys’ roster in training camp, and Colt being introduced to his teenage half-sister, Loretta, while trying to establish himself in the music biz. Colt’s story takes a little too long to get back around to football, while Devin disappears for a large chunk of time after a sudden and incredibly improbable twist to his story. There’s a clichéd development involving Colt’s old high-school coach, lots of hokey speeches set to stirring strings, a misplaced Rob Schneider seemingly unsure if he’s providing comic relief or not (he’s not), and a storyline to save the high-school team that’s straight out of the Friday Night Lights playbook. Even when you do get a chance to get out there and play some football, there’s little variety to the challenges, and it too often feels like how you perform doesn’t alter or affect the story in any meaningful way.

Franchise’s New Coat of Paint

Your appreciation for the changes within Madden’s franchise mode may sadly hinge on how much enjoyment you get from looking at the inside of an office. It’s downright hilarious to think that EA could have possibly believed what anyone thought was missing from franchise mode was a chance to see your coach, owner or player in his natural habitat, even if all that includes is the excitement of watching someone talk on a phone or sit at a desk typing away. Aside from that, the franchise improvements this year amount to little more than a fresh coat of paint rather than any sort of meaningful overhaul. This includes a tweaked progression system that’s really intended as a quick fix to remove cheap exploits from users who had learned which attributes to focus on in order to create superior players. Custom draft classes are fun (and long overdue), sure, but that’s hardly enough to keep the mode from feeling a little bit stale at this point.

Final Analysis

While this isn’t necessarily a year where EA has attempted to implement any earth-shattering new features or modes, Madden 19 succeeds precisely by eschewing those in favor of getting some of the core fundamentals of football right. It may not be all that exciting to some to hear things like realistic running and better pass coverage cited as a couple of the more important items Madden 19 has to offer, but these improved components go a surprisingly long way in creating a more rewarding experience on the field. By getting back to basics and correcting these vital aspects of football that influence every single play, EA has created some integral building blocks that are necessary to take the game to the next level.

34 Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Discussion
  1. Not to hate on the review or game, but it feels like I have seen this line "EA has created some integral building blocks that are necessary to take the game to the next level" for the last 5+ years. When does it actually reach this point? We will probably be on to the PS5 and the next edition of XBOX in 2 years and the building blocks will re-appear for the first few years of that gen also.
    It's not political to say that Hank Williams Jr. is not a great man. It's political to say he's a great man. The article opens with an irrelevant contrivance that Hank Williams Jr. is a great man. That is the political statement. Even If Hank Williams Jr. were only known as a two-bit gimmick musician it'd be weird to call him a great man. But, he's not known only as a two-bit gimmick musician, he's also known for making controversial remarks that got him fired from Monday Night Football.
    Opening an article with "a great man once said..." is lousy writing to begin with. Editors should avoid cliches. "A great man once said..." is a cliche, it's something you see opening an 8th grade history paper.
    But stating that Hank Williams Jr. is a great man, to open a review of Madden, is a political statement. Just... rewrite the lousy opening to this and nobody will respond to it. Then you can safely delete every comment that is responding to this political statement. Here, I'll rewrite it for you,
    "Hank Williams Jr. once asked, 'Are you ready for some Football?'"
    Boom, no politics. He factually said that, in song form, every Monday night for ~20 years.
    I agree on everything except Longshot only because I have not played it yet, so I really have no position to agree or oppose.
    The gameplay is really improved. As mentioned in the article, defenders are making plays, or at least "attempting" to makes plays. These animations go a long way in improving immersion.
    I understand that the “additions” to CFM aren’t exactly what we all would have liked but the gameplay is definitely better than what we had in Madden 18. I, for one, am excited for the future of RPM.
    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
    Rebel10
    It's not political to say that Hank Williams Jr. is not a great man. It's political to say he's a great man. The article opens with an irrelevant contrivance that Hank Williams Jr. is a great man. That is the political statement. Even If Hank Williams Jr. were only known as a two-bit gimmick musician it'd be weird to call him a great man. But, he's not known only as a two-bit gimmick musician, he's also known for making controversial remarks that got him fired from Monday Night Football.
    Opening an article with "a great man once said..." is lousy writing to begin with. Editors should avoid cliches. "A great man once said..." is a cliche, it's something you see opening an 8th grade history paper.
    But stating that Hank Williams Jr. is a great man, to open a review of Madden, is a political statement. Just... rewrite the lousy opening to this and nobody will respond to it. Then you can safely delete every comment that is responding to this political statement. Here, I'll rewrite it for you,
    "Hank Williams Jr. once asked, 'Are you ready for some Football?'"
    Boom, no politics. He factually said that, in song form, every Monday night for ~20 years.

    Dude, this isn't the Washington post. It's an article on a sports gaming website. Your the only one who thinks it's that serious
    Hank Williams doing that MNf intro was the worst thing of your were not from the South. He looked and still looks like a total goof! I don’t care about his politics but it was an odd choice by ABC then to make this guy their music mascot.
    Should have kept the old MNF football theme from the 70s.
    ILuvOSSoMuch112
    Not to hate on the review or game, but it feels like I have seen this line "EA has created some integral building blocks that are necessary to take the game to the next level" for the last 5+ years. When does it actually reach this point? We will probably be on to the PS5 and the next edition of XBOX in 2 years and the building blocks will re-appear for the first few years of that gen also.

    Ya every year they’re ‘around the corner’ or ‘a few years away’. Then after a few years it’s another ‘few years’ away. And by then the whole game engine has changed and someone new is leading the team.
    ILuvOSSoMuch112
    Not to hate on the review or game, but it feels like I have seen this line "EA has created some integral building blocks that are necessary to take the game to the next level" for the last 5+ years. When does it actually reach this point? We will probably be on to the PS5 and the next edition of XBOX in 2 years and the building blocks will re-appear for the first few years of that gen also.

    Yes exactly we here this line every year. A nice building block yet no monumental improvements.
    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Not sure how the progression system is a little tweak to Franchise mode... that system is Franchise mode... changing how progression/regression works is a massive change to franchise mode.
    "It's not political to say that Hank Williams Jr. is not a great man. It's political to say he's a great man. "
    Well that's some seriously backwards logic. I'm guessing you're not a Hank fan.
    hyacinth1
    Hank Williams doing that MNf intro was the worst thing of your were not from the South. He looked and still looks like a total goof! I don’t care about his politics but it was an odd choice by ABC then to make this guy their music mascot.
    Should have kept the old MNF football theme from the 70s.

    If your team won 3 Super Bowls while he was singing that song you'd probably think differently. :59:
    Therebelyell626
    Dude, this isn't the Washington post. It's an article on a sports gaming website. Your the only one who thinks it's that serious

    Man while I agree with you to a certain extent I can also see how he took it that way..Hank Williams Jr. Is not looked upon kindly in some communities and I will leave it at that..but I dont think the author meant it like that..this site top notch when it comes to political or racist things so I think its just perspective.. now lets get back to the review..
    ILuvOSSoMuch112
    Not to hate on the review or game, but it feels like I have seen this line "EA has created some integral building blocks that are necessary to take the game to the next level" for the last 5+ years. When does it actually reach this point? We will probably be on to the PS5 and the next edition of XBOX in 2 years and the building blocks will re-appear for the first few years of that gen also.

    Yeah, I’ve heard this every year. A close second is the you have to play the game to feel the improvements when you don’t really see it in videos comment.
    Honest review I suppose, but it doesn’t have me in any hurry to play madden 19.
    I thought the review was very fair. But I will say tweaking progression in the way they did with skill points and schemes is not a minor upgrade at all. Custom draft classes has ripple effects for immersion for multiple seasons within franchise mode and also unlocks the door for potential historical draft class creations with classic rosters in franchise allowing us to relive eras in NFL history. Not to mention RPM. The new halftime show is nice too. The game is still missing many things I would like, but this is a step in the right direction in my book, especially for a chaotic year at EA.
    Sent from my XT1650 using Operation Sports mobile app
    Way to go EA. Congrats on implementing player motion technology 14 years after 2K did it in NFL 2K5. The Madden fans will have everything they want by 2082, keep it up.
    bears1387
    Way to go EA. Congrats on implementing player motion technology 14 years after 2K did it in NFL 2K5. The Madden fans will have everything they want by 2082, keep it up.

    I wonder what they will call it in 3 years when they tout new life like movement? I am betting on Total Real Step.
    scitychamps87
    I thought the review was very fair. But I will say tweaking progression in the way they did with skill points and schemes is not a minor upgrade at all. Custom draft classes has ripple effects for immersion for multiple seasons within franchise mode and also unlocks the door for potential historical draft class creations with classic rosters in franchise allowing us to relive eras in NFL history. Not to mention RPM. The new halftime show is nice too. The game is still missing many things I would like, but this is a step in the right direction in my book, especially for a chaotic year at EA.
    Sent from my XT1650 using Operation Sports mobile app

    Man, I have to disagree. There is no reason that names are not announced in the game. The 6 foot 4 QB dropping back to pass crap is unacceptable. That add zero immersion. The only thing that it does is remind me at how half-baked the implementation of all things franchise mode are with this team.
    The half time show reads off the same stuff that you see on the ticker.
    I am glad though that it is a better game in your eyes. Just my opinion that nothing was really done yet again.
    bxphenom7
    Can you edit your Franchise team's unis without having to relocate?* Also, if you relocate, can you hold onto the name and logo?

    I would love to know this also..
    "By getting back to basics and correcting these vital aspects of football that influence every single play, EA has created some integral building blocks that are necessary to take the game to the next level."
    Good article and good points throughout. But there's still a long way for them to go to catch up to older games. When Madden reaches that "Next level" which should arguably be the current  level by now is when I'll spend money on the game.
    Thanks EA Access for saving me $60 this year. Played one possession on each side of the ball and I'm done - I see virtually no difference in gameplay between this and last year. Worse, a whole lot of the old Madden nuggets are back, particularly the MLB with 20-foot long arms that will bat down any pass over the middle. No idea how people are spinning this positively...
    Luddify
    Thanks EA Access for saving me $60 this year. Played one possession on each side of the ball and I'm done - I see virtually no difference in gameplay between this and last year. Worse, a whole lot of the old Madden nuggets are back, particularly the MLB with 20-foot long arms that will bat down any pass over the middle. No idea how people are spinning this positively...

    Honestly, I do not know how anyone can tell a story like that and expect others to believe a single word. One series on each side of the ball? Did you try different pass types?
    Kentaurus
    Not sure how the progression system is a little tweak to Franchise mode... that system is Franchise mode... changing how progression/regression works is a massive change to franchise mode.

    A small band aid rather than the overhaul we needed
    "While this isn’t necessarily a year where EA has attempted to implement any earth-shattering new features or modes,*Madden 19*succeeds precisely by eschewing those in favor of getting some of the core fundamentals of football right."
    How many of the past iterations of Madden in a row have we been saying this because it sounds oh-so familiar. Since Madden 16 at least right? But then the core*fundamentals continue to require tweaking as far as everyone can tell after some time with the game.
    Englishtide73
    It’s been a few years since I’ve had Madden and I have 1 question. *Can you tell the difference between a good and bad player especially at QB?

    Yes you can this year. And what you can notice even more is the difference between a bad and a good lineman. It's a lot harder to run the ball this year if your line sucks.
Continue Reading

More in Madden NFL 19

Trending


Related

To Top