Madden 19 review: Substance wins out over style, and that’s a good thing

Image credit: EA
Image credit: EA /
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Madden 19
Image credit: EA /

Longshot: Homecoming

Beware that there are a couple minor story spoilers below, though we do not reveal the ending. Proceed with caution.

It pains us to say this, but the second iteration of Longshot makes the original look like Citizen Kane. Before we get into this year’s offering, let’s take a look back at our reaction to the first season of Longshot.

“The production here is top quality. The story looks absolutely gorgeous, the music is great and the acting ranges from very good to excellent. As mentioned above, at times you’ll forget you aren’t watching a film.

The problem with Longshot is that it just didn’t aim high enough with the script. The story and direction are riddled with cliches. The underdog QB trying to make a comeback. The joker best friend with the heart of gold. The crusty mentor. The sleazy TV exec. There are copious amounts of sunbeams streaming through trees. There are pickup trucks. And of course, there is Texas, because where else would a football story be set?

All that aside, the mode certainly has a ton of promise. We’d love to see a new story each year with improved gameplay, more direction and clarity in the decision-making process and a way to skip around the longer cutscenes you’ve already seen. As a first pass, Longshot is perfectly adequate and fun to play through once. If EA can build on this maiden voyage, the story mode could offer loads of interesting possibilities in the future.”

Just like in most movie franchises, the Longshot sequel did not hold up to the original. The visuals were not as impressive, the characters were far less winning and the story felt like a group English Lit project gone wrong. The problems start with the script, which is still cheesy but less emotionally impactful. We lost count of the instances in which characters made decisions that made absolutely no sense. For example, in once scene Devon Wade’s coach tells him to throw the ball to a certain player. While walking back to the huddle, Devin’s WR Tito Flavors, who the play was not drawn up for, demands for the ball. The game’s menu prompt instructs you to ignore your coach’s instructions and to throw the ball to Tito. There is no option to follow your coach’s plan, because if you do, you simply have to “try again.” After completing the TD to Tito, Devin walks off the field, and instead of getting chewed out, his coach rewards him informing him that he made the team’s practice squad. Devin’s insolence is never mentioned. It makes no sense.

In another section, one of the characters who is a free agent gets picked up by an NFL team and is inserted into a game. The coach told our character that if he played well, he might get more playing time. Our character got three plays. The first was a punt return for 20 yards. On the second play, the player ran a perfect route and the ball was not thrown to him. On the third play, the player ran a perfect route and caught a TD pass. Immediately following the pass, the player was pulled from the game by his angry coach. After the game, he was cut.

Yeah, we’re just as confused as you are.

The gameplay is boring, repetitive and super buggy. This is very disappointing because in the regular modes, this isn’t the case. There do seem to be some meaningful mini-games that impact the progress of the characters, but much of it is boring filler. For example, in one section, you get to go back in time and relive one of Colt’s best games as a high school player. The stakes couldn’t be lower.

Longshot in Madden 18 showed so much promise that we were absolutely thrilled when we heard it was coming back with the same characters. While the first season had its issues, it was a perfectly acceptable way to introduce the new Frostbite engine and its capabilities, but Longshot: Homecoming made us feel like EA had some other projects stealing its attention.

We still believe in this mode and its potential impact on the franchise, but for now, we can’t recommend it.

Note: We will have a Madden Ultimate Team review at a later date.