So, as I’m sure you’re aware, EA have announced the release date for the eagerly awaited next instalment of the Madden NFL franchise, Madden 18.

It is being widely spread that the release date is August 25th, 2017 which is normal for the game as it is usually towards the backend of that month. From what I’ve been reading, though, EA have moved away from their usual Tuesday release day to a Friday for Madden 18. This is, from what I can work out, going to mean that we can get our grubby little hands on it on the Friday and waste the weekend locked away playing this great game, right? Well, I’m not sure that’s going to be the case unless you buy this bloody G.O.A.T edition thing that they’re said to be releasing. I dread to think how much it’s going to cost but I do believe you get extra stuff for your MUT game like tokens to get in-game items etc. If, like me, you’ll be sticking to buying the plain old boring standard edition, you’ll have to wait for a few days (until the following Tuesday, 29th) before you can actually play. Whether this means you don’t physically get your copy until the Tuesday or you do but you have to spend all weekend looking longingly at the case remains to be seen.

For me, I’ll stick to the cheaper standard edition, thanks, as I only really play Franchise Mode anyway. I kind of struggle with the MUT interface and don’t really understand what’s going on and why I’ve been given these packs to open and what to do with them. To me, that aspect of the game just seems like it’s there to make people grind at getting a better team and spend even more money on extras if it’s taking too long to earn them in-game (and let’s be honest, they are going to try steering you to buy stuff as it can take time to earn in-game).

Wow, what a grumpy, tight old **** I really am, huh? Don’t even get me started on the whole “Brady’s the G.O.A.T”, bull!

Anyway, on to the Game itself

Might as well start off with the teaser trailer:

So far it would seem that the game is coming to the Xbox One and Playstation 4, with no mention of the Nintendo or any of the older consoles but I’m sure that will change as it’d be a massive chunk of the market missed, surely.

As can be seen at the end of the trailer, the game is now on the Frostbite engine and will deliver us with better on-field graphics as we play our games but also better off-the-field animations. By this, I’m assuming they mean better coaches reactions and better animations for the players on the sidelines and crowds in the stands. This is a part that I’m looking for as I’m a sucker for great looking graphics and animations and did notice that when a play goes out of bounds, in earlier editions of the game – including Madden 17, the players on the sidelines didn’t have names on the backs of their jerseys and their animations were a bit ‘stiff’. People bumping into each other when a play has ended and not reacting correctly annoyed me a bit, too. They’d just carry on walking regardless and kind of slide sideways or backwards whilst still looking like they were walking forwards. Anyway, I’m banging on again. The Frostbite engine is what EA use for the new FIFA titles and things do look smoother on them.

Madden Curse

Over the years Madden NFL has become known as having some sort of curse that seems to be put on to the player that appears on its cover. Whether they just have a bad season following their cover appearance or get a season-ending injury, it does seem to have occurred several times. Tom Brady would appear not to be bothered by this though and has even gone on camera and said so:

A change to the process of the game for this coming year was the doing away with any vote on who should be on the cover of the game. In previous years they have let the masses decide but I guess they wanted to cash in on the popularity of Tom Brady right now and all this G.O.A.T nonsense – can’t blame them really.

Ways to Play

Other than the improved graphics engine it seems like there’ll be some other changes coming. There seem to be the usual modes to play in with some of them getting slight changes.

Play Now – This area of the game is as before, really, where you play either a head-to-head match-up between any two teams you want but now this area gets live updates to the rosters, players and team stats from as well as more regularly updated commentary.

There are also 3 playstyles in here for your play now games.Target Passing allows you more control over the passing game as you will be able to pass to an area of the field instead of to just a certain player. This should allow for more in-depth timing patterns.

You will also have more control over your assistant coaches’ AI and their styles of playcalling. I like the idea of this as I sometimes let the defensive coordinator call plays for me but now I will be able to set him up so that he calls the style of plays I want in certain situations. Kind of let him pick what’s best but from a set of parameters I’ve set.

Ultimate Team – MUT doesn’t sound like it’s changing much to me.

Play games, collect rewards and upgrade your team with daily, fun, and engaging content updates including legendary NFL players exclusively found in MUT. Continuously craft your squad to elite status on the road to building your Ultimate Team dynasty.

EA Sports

All sound like the same-old-same-old for now but I wouldn’t be surprised if there are new things in this part of the game as it must generate a massive amount of cash for them.

Franchise Mode – Sounds pretty much the same as well as it’s all about building your team through the draft, trades and free agency as you play season after season either against the AI in offline mode or against other real people in connected franchise leagues.

A big difference seems to be the addition of the Madden Companion App that will allow you to play and manage your franchise through your smartphone! This sounds pretty awesome to me – easily manage my team whilst at boring meetings or get-togethers.

Early thoughts

As usual, I imagine there will be a lot of hype surrounding the release of the title with lots of articles trying to make it look drastically different to last years game. When in reality, there won’t be a massive amount different. I hope for much-improved graphics and animation and I like the sound of the app and the ability to tweak the coach AI. Other than that, I don’t really see much different.

Of course, I’ll be buying Madden 18 as I buy the next instalment of this title every year. I enjoy franchise mode, both online and offline, and if there are some changes to that then EA can take my money.

So, do you think you’ll be buying the game? What are your early thoughts on it? As usual, let us know in the comments below.