My knowledge of NFL is severely restricted. As far as I’ve ever known, it’s just rugby, with more equipment and some weird rules about having two entirely different teams.
Sure, I’ve seen some movies about American Football, but they don’t really give much away with regards to how it’s actually played. Thankfully, playing Madden NFL 19, I got a rough idea of what it’s all about.
Not much of an idea mind you, Madden NFL 19 is woefully underdeveloped in the tutorial area, but enough that I could play and enjoy myself. Even if I did throw more turnovers than anyone, in history.
Madden NFL 19 Review
Being not too sure of the rules in NFL, the first thing I did when booting up Madden NFL 19 was head into the Longshot story mode. Unfortunately for me, this year’s story mode is a sequel to the one found in Madden NFL 18. However, a brief recap got me up to speed while the story in this year’s Longshot is mostly self-contained.
I won’t give you the details, but I found Longshot to be, essentially, Madden NFL 19’s tutorial. Except that it doesn’t quite give newbies enough to be going on with. Even after going through the six or so hours of the story, I wasn’t really sure which was a good or bad play, nor was I even sure of what most of the terms and strategies even meant.
Obviously, Madden NFL 19 is designed with fans of the NFL in mind, so explaining every little thing would be overkill, I just wished there was some way to get more info and actually learn more about the sport while playing.
Difficult, yet addictive
After completing the story mode, I was stumped for ideas as to what I should do. Engaging in an entire season seemed really daunting and the MUT (Madden Ultimate Team) seemed to have some good ideas but is absolutely riddled with microtransactions.
Eventually, I decided to bite the bullet and simply play everything as much as I could, with my limited skills and knowledge, Unsurprisingly, I was mostly annihilated. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy myself, though I did get frustrated by making the same mistakes over and over yet not knowing why or how to fix them.
The best time I had with Madden NFL 19 was when I played with friends who know the sport and could give me pointers. They still mopped the floor with me, but at least I was learning.
For a game with as long a history as Madden, it comes as no surprise that Madden NFL 19 is pretty spectacular with regards to gameplay, customisation and player progression. Franchise mode is an especially good example of this and according to those same friends who whooped my butt, this year’s Franchise Mode is far, far better than those that have come before.
In Franchise Mode, you either select an existing NFL team or build your own. Unless you really know your stuff, you’re better off sticking with an established team. After that, you need to decide if you’re going to be a player, the coach or the owner.
If you opt to be a player, you’ll be playing as that sole player in games, which gives you the least amount of freedom but will give you the most authentic experience as an NFL player. Both coaches and owners need to manage the team, but via different methods. The coach role allows you to control the offensive and defensive plays, while the owner role lets you make decisions about coaches, ticket prices and signing new players.
Learn to play before you play
Whatever you choose, you’ll find yourself in a deep, engaging and complex series of games. I never quite got the hang of the sport to really succeed, though I did win a few games, so I’ll consider that a personal victory.
Madden NFL 19 is the consummate sports video game. It’s fast, fluid and pixel perfect to the real-life sport. Whether you play the Longshot story or franchise mode, in any role, there’s a near limitless amount of NFL content for you to consume, play and absorb.
It’s definitely a game for fans, but there’s enough in there for newbies, like me, to learn. In spite of the near-vertical learning curve, I found myself coming back time and time again, just because the gameplay is so good.
Madden NFL 19 was reviewed on PS4 using digital codes provided by EA.
Game Title: Madden NFL 19
Deep, engaging and customisable gameplay - 9.5/10
Incredibly complex and a hugely steep learning curve - 5/10
Gorgeous Visuals and great sound design - 9.1/10
Microtransactions are a bummer - 3/10
Longshot is a great addition, makes NFL engaging - 9.3/10