Madden NFL 19: Longshot 2 Homecoming Preview
For many who haven’t jumped into a game of Madden yet, Madden’s Longshot mode is a great entry point for newcomers. Not only do you get a compelling cinematic tale of courage and perseverance but it also teaches you some of the fundamentals of EA Sports flagship football simulator. Sure, some of those mini-games from Madden 18’s Longshot mode that have you guiding a football into the receivers hands are pretty goofy, but there is still plenty of gameplay with key teaching points. In Madden NFL 19, Longshot mode returns with more gameplay to go along with that cinematic storytelling so many of us loved last year. It also has a steady dose of cringe that somehow suits the mode perfectly.
I recently went hands-on with Madden NFL 19 in nearly its entirety at an EA Summer Showcase event where I checked out all the various modes from Franchise to MUT and I’m delighted to say that the moving and inspirational narrative in Madden’s single-player story mode is back with a bang.
Longshot 2 Homecoming continues the story of Devin Wade and his best friend, Colt Cruise. If you recall from the previous entry, the duo grew up playing the sport together under the guidance of Devin’s father, “Cutter Wade”. They made their way from an NFL combine all the way to a TV reality show. Without giving too much away for those that have yet to check it out, it is a classic underdog story that is both charming and captivating.
Homecoming takes place one year after Devin was drafted in the NFL. Things didn’t go as planned. It was a rough year for Devin and Colt as both were cut by their respective NFL teams. Devin; however, is recently signed by the Cowboys and has a second chance at making his NFL dream come true. He just has to fight to make a practice squad. Meanwhile, Colt is still waiting for that phone call.
I played the first hour or so of the mode and already I can see some improvements. First of all, there is a LOT more gameplay. While I love the cinematic cut scenes, I want to spend more time playing than I do watching. So I certainly feel like the mode is a little more balanced. Gone are those goofy mini-games. Instead, you spend more time playing traditional Madden style gameplay either on a practice field, playing an NFL game or replaying some of Colt and Devon’s memorable high school games.
From the sports talk show at the begging of the game to Rob Schneider’s shenanigans, Longshot 2 looks to feature a boatload of cringy and somewhat predictable moments; however, it remains a “sports movie you can play.” The transitions between movie quality cinematography and traditional Madden NFL gameplay is seamless. Despite some of the jumps between Colt and Devin’s story, the narrative manages to maintain a steady pace. Once again, I was fully engaged and wanted to see where the story would take me. I found myself rooting for Colt and Devin all over again.
Sitting down with Madden Producer Ben Haumiller, I learned that people either loved or hated Longshot mode from Madden 18 but that it “definitely had an audience”. He indicated they learned a lot of lessons last year and the intent this year was to get more gameplay in the mode. They had less than a year to do all the cinematics for Homecoming, so incorporating more gameplay seems to just make more sense to me.
Even with my limited time with Longshot 2, it still retains that compelling, relatable story, that gives Madden fans a break from that traditional Madden gameplay. While not without its faults, it will be my first stop when Madden NFL 19 launches next month. When the story is over, it doesn’t have to end there as you can take Wade or Cruise into your franchise mode. So while the story itself may not have a ton of replayability, the characters can live on.
Madden 19 Standard Edition will be released on Friday, August 10th, 2018. The Madden 19 Hall of Fame Edition will be released on Tuesday, August 7th, 2018.