Madden NFL 19 Preview
It feels like I have played every Madden game since the beginning of time. I know I’ve missed a couple of those early Madden games but there is no question I have sunk thousands upon thousands of hours into EA Sports gridiron game. Yet, lately, I haven’t played as much. Our league that was once 30 strong has dwindled down to a mere 10 of us. Everyone has lives, wives, kids, demanding jobs, Fortnite and all that Madden time we used to have has seemingly vaporized. I swear it’s easier to herd cats than it is to schedule our online franchise draft. It’s just the cold bitter reality of growing old and I know I’m not the only one who has strayed from the franchise in the last few years. Will Madden NFL 19 suck me back into the days when I played in 5 separate leagues? Not likely, but make no bones about it, Madden NFL 19 is a stunning virtual NFL experience and the changes made this year have me pretty excited to jump back in.
Real Player Motion is quite easily the biggest addition this year. Granted, this isn’t the first time we have heard of Real Player Motion in a sports game, but it is the first time it has been used in football. As you would guess, it is all about making that sweet NFL action look and play more realistically than ever; and it is most noticeable with the running backs.
At first, it certainly feels different compared to Madden NFL 18. Backs don’t seem to hit the holes as quick as they used to and the running game just feels a bit slower. Yet, as I became accustomed to the new one-cut mechanics, I started hitting my stride. Hardcore Madden fans may not like it at first but in the end, it does make for a more realistic running game. For instance, backs don’t get caught up on offensive lineman’s feet or get stuck behind a pile. You’ll now see ball carriers reach out and push lineman out of the way.
Also, you’ll just need to stop hitting that sprint button when running the ball. Or at least use it sparingly. If you are like me and accustomed to smashing that sprint button right away, you won’t have any success. Patience and waiting for the right time to pull the right trigger is the name of the game this year.
Brees Licking His Fingers is a Beautiful Thing
QB mannerisms are now more noticeable than ever. The way Aaron Rodgers audibles at the line is spot-on. Likewise, you’ll see Drew Brees lick his fingers or adjust his helmet. All those little quirky things QB’s do in the NFL is a part of Madden 19. It is those subtle little details that make the game more realistic and make individual players feel unique.
TD celebrations are also a big part of Madden 19. On sacks, interceptions and touchdowns, you’ll see a little icon pop up and you’ll have a choice with the way you want to celebrate. You can do something silly with your teammates or do your own individual celebration. Remarkably enough, it is quite satisfying to be able to do a TD dance after scoring. It’s completely ridiculous but fantastic at the same time.
Other subtle changes I noticed during my extensive hands-on time with Madden 19 include the way receivers react when they drop or miss the ball. No longer do they all act the same, or in some instances act like they somehow caught the ball. Now, they react in disappointment or frustration.
Franchise mode is also getting some tweaks again this year and this time the dev team are zeroing in on the skill attributes. No longer can you simply boost, for instance, a player’s speed or his run blocking rating. Instead, you need to make sure you have the right players for your scheme. So, when you play and progress you’ll only be able to upgrade skill archetypes, not individual skills. I am a bit mixed on this change; however, I need to actually play franchise mode a bit more to see it in action.
Many Changes on The Way
Other changes you can expect with Madden 19 include customizable draft classes, the coaches office is interactive, you can upgrade players in MUT, captain patches are more realistic featuring stars for the number of years your player was captain, MUT squads is back, and MUT contracts are gone. Likewise, you can expect the usual slate of upgrades to player animations, visuals and lighting effects.
Madden’s story mode makes a return this year with Longshot 2 Homecoming and you’ll be able to read more about that on July 24 when the embargo lifts.
Overall, Madden NFL 19 certainly does come across as a more polished product and could very well be “the best Madden yet”; however, it remains to be seen if the hardcore base embraces the new running mechanics. It is unquestionably going to be an adjustment for the community. Heck, it will be an adjustment for me. That being said, I am looking forward to getting back into Madden this year and as those incremental changes do seem to inch the franchise closer to gridiron perfection.
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.