The Madden Mobile reviews are back! Click here for the beginning of last year’s saga.
As luck would have it, it was on this exact day last year that I started to write about Madden Mobile, the mobile version of the popular console football game. After playing this new version for almost half a year, I’m ready to express my thoughts once again.
Quick overview: there have been a lot of changes, but they are not necessarily the changes we truly need or even deserve.
Because this is EA, there have been a fair number of aesthetic changes (things like card design) and some other components like the leveling up process. Instead of capping it at level 50, we can now go into Prestige mode which unlocks “cool” new features like alternate jerseys, stadiums, and probably some other perks I can’t remember at the moment.
There are new Live Events as well, and some sets have different requirements than before. In many cases, the sets are actually easier than last year, which should ease the pain for those of us who don’t feel the need to use/waste real money on a mobile game.
Those are all relatively nice changes, but we play the game for the gameplay. Not the presentation. So let’s get down to business.
Last year there was a serious problem where your wide receivers wouldn’t be able to run their routes properly because they kept colliding with the defense. That continues in this year’s game, and even a receiver in single coverage can find himself running at maybe eighty percent of his real speed because a slower defensive back is blocking the way, resulting in an overthrown ball (or an interception).
And no, this is different from Defensive Pressing. This is just lazy programming, or some kind of prolonged glitch that EA has neglected to fix.
Another problem from last year was the fact that your offensive line – no matter how good your players’ ratings were – would sometimes be far inferior to the computer’s, even if the computer’s overall was like a 79 and yours was 95.
Your linemen would get outflanked every time there was a blitz and every defensive end was Block Shedding like J.J. Watt. Surprise! This is a problem that has not been resolved either. Live Events are generally easy, but you’ll find your linemen having trouble there too at times. That’s when you know things aren’t programed correctly.
Fortunately there is no longer a glitch for slot receivers where they were unable to catch anything because their Awareness would inexplicably drop to zero every time they were thrown the ball.
In Season mode at least, offensive gameplay is more than adequate. Although there are frustrations to be found (your quarterback continues to lack comprehensive scrambling; he must shuffle to the line before miraculously discovering the ability to run), you can now control individual players and run their routes for them.
It seems more like a gimmick for Live Events, but sometimes it can be useful if you want to make sure your 94 Larry Fitzgerald doesn’t fuck around and get stuck behind a shitty undrafted cornerback.
Trucking, juking, and other misdirection moves have been improved as well and now you can find yourself making the defense look foolish consistently. It feels good to break tackles. Very cathartic.
One last note: Domination 99 Gronkowski is not very good. While you can argue his performance is at least more tangible to judge than last year’s 99 Richard Sherman, you’ll find Gronk constantly dropping the ball and letting the defense grind him up even though he allegedly has 80 Run Block and 80 Impact Block.
Truly disappointing. If he didn’t give +5 Strength to everyone, he would be a very forgettable 99 overall player.
Once again, your defensive ends and tackles are mostly negligible here. While the computer can wreak havoc at will, you’ll find even the best players on the line are kept in check all the time, whether it’s Live Events or a Season game.
It’s better to invest in your defensive backs, and I would argue it’s probably better to focus on good coverage linebackers. Look for Play Recognition and Awareness – those can make up for subpar physical attributes like 92 Luke Kuechly, who is the definition of a playmaker.
Regardless of how good your players are though, don’t expect blitzes to work often or well. You’re better off controlling a fast linebacker like 92 Derrick Brooks and running him against the line so he can get a jumpstart and accelerate past the tackle and hopefully the halfback if he’s on blocking duty.
You can call it cheating, or you can say you’re leveling the playing field.
In any case, defense is pretty much the same as last year. Executing massive hits is still fun, although it can sometimes be tough generating fumbles.
Although I said we’d only talk about gameplay, I think it’s important to point out how lopsided some Live Events and their respective sets are. You can play a Live Event for months and never receive the last elusive piece of a set you’re working on.
It is infuriating and doesn’t make sense in probability terms. There’s no reason why, out of ten elite collectibles, one of them requires literally hundreds of plays to finally receive. It is shady and totally uncool.
Also, there are Live Events for some legendary players and once again, completing those events unlocks the same collectible for everyone – you know, the dumb positional collectible. Those are utterly pointless and actually literally does nothing to help casual gamers unlock those sweet, sweet legends.
Sure you can do them for the coins and experience points they provide, but come on EA. Stop doing us dirty.