While there are those who shrug the series off each year, EA’s Madden series has a very devoted fanbase excited to find out what’s new annually. Madden NFL 19 comes out in just a couple weeks, with improvements being seen in animations, Ultimate Team, and Franchise Mode. The game will also be available on PC for the first time in years, which should expose the series to new players and give returning players a chance to experience Madden in a new way.
Last week, I attended an EA Sports event and got my hands on a near-final build of Madden NFL 19 on both PS4 and PC. From what I played, this year’s Madden isn’t a gigantic leap from 2017’s entry, though the improved animation and fleshed out Ultimate Team and Franchise mechanics are noticeable and appreciated. Those playing on PC should also expect a good port, though the keyboard and mouse controls will probably take a lot to get used to.
Madden NFL 19, like many EA Sports titles this year, implements RPM (Real-Player-Motion), a new animation technology seen in titles like FIFA and UFC that makes athlete movements less janky and more realistic looking. As animations have often been a weak point for the franchise, its inclusion does make a difference. Tackles now have more momentum behind their animations, and mid-air collisions look better as well. These animations also trickle over into some other minor additions and new mechanics.
Quarterbacks have signature styles now, so players like Drew Brees will have the same mannerisms that he does in real life, like licking his fingers. This only applies to QBs in Madden NFL 19, though the developers do plan on expanding it to other positions in future entires. That being said, running backs do gain the new One Cut system, which rewards them with a speed boost if the sprint at the right time once a lane opens up, though this can be countered.
New celebrations can also be activated after a touchdown via the right stick, like NBA Live, and players will likely be using these quite a bit in Franchise mode. This is the mode I, along with many other players, spend the most time in, and it has received some exciting changes from both a mechanics and quality of life standpoint in Madden NFL 19. Scheme-based team building has been added, making the coaching experience much more realistic and involved than before.
Players can craft their players around their scheme, or vice versa, by developing their skills and increasing their player rating, which has become easier. Madden NFL 19 also features a Custom Draft Craft editor, meaning players can modify and customize every part of a draft now and even share it with the community. Menus have also been spiced up, so players won’t just be staring at a bunch of spreadsheets anymore; instead, players will see clips of players celebrating or coaches in their office in the background.
For those interested or addicting, Ultimate Team has also seen some slight improvements this year. MUT Squads can now be played against CPUs, adding a fun PvE experience to my favorite Ultimate Team mode. Player developed has also been modified so people can upgrade their favorite players and not have to worry about getting rid of them because another card has better stats.
While none of these changes are as drastic of an addition as last year’s Longshot mode, the new features do shine and should be noticeable to returning players. As I mentioned before, the biggest surprise with Madden NFL 19 is its availability on PC, and the port seems very competent. I was able to play it on an ultra-widescreen curved monitor, and the game looked even better than it does on PS4 Pro and Xbox One X.
The PC port of the game also includes all of the same features as the Xbox One and PS4, so players don’t have to worry about missing out on anything. While I was reasonably impressed with this version of Madden NFL 19, I do have one point of contention with it: the keyboard and mouse controls. Madden’s controls are already a bit complicated, but fit well on a controller; unfortunately, they become a bit overwhelming once you make the jump to PC.
Movement is controlled via the mouse, which feels a bit odd to say release. Controls for other actions like opening in-game menus or throwing in different ways also felt a bit obtuse and weirdly placed. Madden’s controls are hard to adapt, and I may get used to them on PC after playing for a while, but I could see this control style turning off many. Fortunately, the game has full controller support, which will probably be the best way to play Madden NFL 19 on PC.
While 2018 may not end up being a revolutionary year for the series, Madden NFL 19 still brings some welcome changes. The improved animations help the game feel more authentic and realistic, and the smaller tweaks to Franchise and Ultimate Team should change things up for those ready to jump into the grind again this year.
As for the PC version of the game, it seems to be a well-constructed port on par with, if not better looking, than its console equivalents. That being said, new players should be wary of the keyboard and mouse controls and opt to use a controller once it releases. I’m glad that Madden is being exposed to a whole new group of players, and Madden NFL 19 is poised to be a solid title to enter the series with.
Madden NFL 19 is currently poised to hit PC, PS4, and Xbox One on August 10, and can be pre-ordered on Amazon. You can expect to see DualShockers’ impressions of Longshot: Homecoming and our interview with Producer Ben Haumiller tomorrow.
This post contains affiliate links where DualShockers gets a small commission on sales. Any and all support helps keep DualShockers as a standalone, independent platform for less-mainstream opinions and news coverage.