Every year around Christmas, EA and the Madden Ultimate Team creators come out with a themed program to commemorate the holidays. This year is no different, and Madden NFL 18 is giving us Zero Chill. With 31 solo challenges, a Daily Chill challenge and a shot to earn player cards that allow for certain stars and legends to play out of position, Zero Chill is one of the more unique programs to hit MUT so far. The program, however, does have some issues that temper some of the excitement that should come with the uniqueness of Zero Chill. Let’s jump into the review of the Zero Chill program.
Out of Position Players
Possibly the coolest thing to happen to MUT in Madden NFL 18 is the ability to earn Out of Position players. EA jump starts players with a starter pack for the program that comes with an 80 overall Bo Jackson that can be used to put Bo at quarterback. While he won’t be diming shots deep, Bo at QB is a fun and enticing way to give a zone read option a shot. There’s bosses and a Master Bo Jackson that can either be a 95 OVR offense, 93 OVR defense and can even be a kicker. This is a fun way to use Legends in different ways and is one of the more inventive things the Madden team has cooked up for Ultimate Team this season.
Daily Chill Challenge
Having a different daily challenge to earn rewards in the Zero Chill program is another fun change from the typical card series release. Instead of having a set number of challenges, you have one challenge that rotates and keeps players coming back for the duration of Zero Chill. Once the dust settles on this program and feedback comes in, I wouldn’t be surprised to see this implemented more in future card series programs.
Good Mix of Current and Past Stars
The typical variety of stars involved in the Zero Chill program is another positive for this release. Between a J.J. Watt tight end Out of Position card to the aforementioned Master Bo Jackson, there are numerous eras in NFL history represented here. Most of the Out of Position players go to a position that makes sense to minimize confusion such as Paul Krause going from WR to the secondary, though there are the occasional weird ones like Michael Vick going to CB. Some of these cards are extremely good with the Vick card being in the 90s overall, though many fall short of the magic thresholds that would make them completely overpowered.
While the Most Feared program had some really cool card art, Zero Chill falls short on that front. Using existing player images, the only difference is the border and an underwhelming blue background. For such a cool program, using something that tied more into the theme of the program might have helped separate it from the pack in terms of having really awesome looking cards. EA could’ve gone with player images exclusively from snow games or somehow incorporated more winter themes.
Upgrading is Still Too Costly
Like many other programs, the cost of upgrading and attaining Zero Chill Out of Position players is too high and can result in grinding or having to shell out for microtransactions. For example, to obtain the Master Bo Jackson card, players have to add 10 Out of Position boss cards to the set. The cost of each set is 8 gold and 2 elite OOP players. To earn a random elite OOP? 15 Gold OOP player cards. See a pattern? EA is making the grind far too difficult to get the best cards in the hope that it’ll entice players to pay for the pack offerings, most of which can only be bought with real money including the 8x Frozen Legends Fantasy Bundle.
The Elite Cards Aren’t That Great
The 95 OVR QB version of Bo Jackson isn’t bad by any stretch of the imagination, but when the Longshot version of Devin Wade has better deep throw accuracy than a master MUT card, there might be an issue. My free to upgrade 90 OVR Randall Cunningham is also almost on par with the Master Bo Jackson. Yes, Bo may still be better, but with the amount of money and/or grinding it requires to get that Master Zero Chill Jackson makes the Cunningham card more appealing to me. This extends to other OOP Boss cards as well. There are easier to upgrade stars and legends to be had in MUT and it really hurts the Zero Chill program’s practicality.
Zero Chill has some hits and some misses in terms of execution but even with some of those missteps, the program does a lot right to help bring some fresh content to Madden Ultimate Team. Having stars and Legends out of position is easily the coolest part of this program and hopefully it leads to the MUT team taking more risks in the future to keep Ultimate Team fresh for a long time to come. Zero Chill packs and challenges expire on January 8, 2018. Let us know your thoughts in the comments.