Football gamers have spoken: Madden 19 is yet another high mark for this legendary franchise.
This year's version is less about introducing new features than it is enhancing the existing ones. Longshot story mode is back, Ultimate Team has more activities and deeper control than ever and franchise mode benefits from the overdue addition of custom draft classes.
"There is so much in Madden NFL 19 it is almost hard to nail it all down," Bleacher Report's Chris Roling wrote. "It's a jack-of-all-trades effort and a culmination of the continued upward building on a foundation established successfully years ago."
Let's dive deeper into some of the more notable expert reviews making the digital rounds.
Dustin Toms, IGN.com
While game modes and new additions typically dominate coverage of new games, there probably isn't enough attention paid to what takes place under the hood.
Last year, Madden shifted over to the Frostbite graphics engine. This year, it adopted EA Sports' Real Player Motion technology.
Toms cites those two changes as reasons why this Madden has the best look, feel and fluidity this franchise has seen:
"You'll see your stick talent translate on screen in fluid motions that'll have you pumping your fist in the air while you beat down your friends. And it's not just what you see while playing on offense juking and spinning your way to a touchdown. ... It's the way a defensive lineman can break off a tackle to crush the halfback in the backfield. The way safeties can track down the ball and pick it off before momentum carries them out of bounds. And the way play action breaks down as the edge blitz catches you off guard, nearly causing you to jump in fear."
Because current-gen consoles are so advanced, some might think graphical improvements can only go so far. But when done right, they can have the widest-reaching impact.
Gamers typically have their preferred modes, meaning mode-specific features only reach so many players. But updated visuals with improved physics gives better gameplay to everyone.
While Toms' review examines Madden from plenty of angles, it's clear his 8.9/10 rating is closely tied to the technical advancements the series has enjoyed of late.
Eddie Makuch, GameSpot
In keeping with a constant theme of Madden 19 reviews, Makuch starts off championing the virtues of Real Player Motion. From the sound of things, the ground game could be as potent as it has been in years.
"An appropriately timed cut, coupled with an acceleration boost, lets you make tight, fast and precise turns that help you get through the line or to the edge when making runs," Makuch wrote. "You can also perform hesitation moves that can make a big difference in those crucial moments when you see an opening or a gap."
Anyone who watches football understands and appreciates the importance of the short-yardage run. Anyone who's played a football video game understands the banality of a short-yardage run in the virtual realm. If Madden has made those moments exciting—Makuch says that's the case—then this game could be a non-stop thrill ride.
Makuch also says Ultimate Team "remains Madden's deepest pursuit" and has enough features to keep returning players engaged.
"In addition to the standard challenges, of which there are more than 100, there are Solo Battles where you can go up against other fan-created MUT squads in weekly tournaments," Makuch wrote. "...It's a thrill to take on a different squad each playthrough in Solo Battles, and I can see myself returning again and again to this mode to see how my team stacks up."
Makuch gave a partial grade of 8/10—the assessment is still in progress with the final review coming once the servers go live August 10—while saying this version steps forward from last year's almost across the board.
Bryan Wiedey, Sporting News
While Wiedey also starts off by lauding the visual presentation—it's deserving of the praise—he also touches on something that should excite the remaining members of the offline gaming community.
Members off the community who appreciate a challenge, that is.
The CPU is a more formidable opponent this season, Wiedey writes, which will entertain those who avoid online or use offline games to sharpen their skills. Fans of sim-style football will also appreciate the game-planning necessary to succeed, since ratings and schemes seem to have more importance this year.
"It's necessary to approach each matchup with a game plan based on team styles and personnel," Wiedey writes. "Running against the Dolphins with the Titans, for example, might seem easy. Running against the Rams with the Seahawks will seem futile. Facing an excellent QB is a much different task than a low-rated one that will struggle with accuracy."
In other words, real-life stars will be more noticeable as virtual stars, which is yet another way for Madden's universe to mirror the NFL's.
To help make these resemblances deeper and more accurate, Madden introduced several new categories of ratings attributes. Route running is broken up between short, medium and deep plays. Blocking power and finesse have separate ratings for run or pass plays. Quarterbacks' abilities to throw under pressure and break out of attempted sacks have both been added to the mix.
Wiedey's 4/5 rating speaks to other hits (streamlined player progression in franchise mode, draft class creator) and some stumbles (Longshot: Homecoming gets cliched, lack of sideline awareness). But as the number attests, there are far more of the former than the latter.
Unless otherwise noted, information courtesy of EA Sports