Madden Franchise Mode and Gameplay Sliders Is It Worth It?

Madden
Madden is the Only NFL licensed video game product on the market. 
Monopolizing the appetite of American Football consumers everywhere.  
Madden is consistently one of the best selling video game products for both the 
Xbox and PlayStation platforms generating millions and millions of dollars in profit annually. 
Madden like its cross-sport counterparts FIFA and NBA 2k are annual games. 
Every year the latest version of the game is released while the previous version no longer has it’s roster updated. This is the kicker, 
 
Money flows in like clockwork. 
 
Football fanatics like myself consistently shell out 60$ plus some change every year to get our football fix. 
 
But is it worth it?
 
Most years… not really. 
But this year 
Definitely. 
 

I have played A LOT of Madden over the years, too much perhaps. Unfortunately, from one year to the next it is very typical for only small tweaks to be made to the actual gameplay. My disclaimer is that I almost exclusively play Franchise mode. General consensus holds that Electronic Arts Maddens publisher has neglected Franchise mode in favor of the more profitable Madden Ultimate Team mode. For many years core Franchise players like myself have been left out to dry. 

This past weekend I was able to take a deep dive into Franchise mode and came away seriously impressed. In my humble opinion Madden franchise mode this year has received a significant shot in the arm. I want to emphasize that I play using a custom set of excellent gameplay sliders developed by Matt10 over on Operation Sports.com who has created and continues to tune and refine a set of custom gameplay sliders. The results are fresh mechanics and a gameplay experience which feels like a significant step forward in regards to player motion and physics. 

Madden has introduced “Real Player Motion” replacing and significantly altering the role of the previous tackling and momentum physics engine. The ways in which players, cut, push, and fight their way for yards feels “different”. To me, different is a welcome breath of fresh air. This real player motion has changed the fundamental feel of Madden. From player battles and physics as they apply cornerbacks coming up to challenge crossing routes but also to the grounded feel of the churning 3-yards and a cloud of dust type run plays. Some folks would say the game is “harder” this may be true. Yet I would argue that this new framework provides a greater depth of player experience and immersion, a positive shift away from the more arcade type of gameplay and circus catches which were rampant in previous iterations. This is a video game, a modest simulation of real-world collisions and strategy at best, it is not perfect and users will always abuse gameplay imbalances. 

Madden developers have (finally) retooled the experience mechanisms and schemes within Franchise mode itself. Adding much-needed updates to player development, aging, scheme fits and the implementation of a “new” import draft class feature. Player individual rating slots have been expanded providing a more nuanced skill set per character. Route running, for example, has been expanded from one category to three, short, medium and deep. These improvements help immerse longtime Franchise mode players like myself immersed and engaged within the limits of our virtual NFL. The results are a fresh Franchise mode experience which is both more immersive on the surface and feels fundamentally improved under the hood. 

To further optimize my own playing experience I piggyback off the work of players such as Matt10 who have poured hours and hours of effort and player testing to determine the optimal “feel” and degree of player vs Artificial Intelligence scaling to create a user experience which is fun, challenging and awarding. 

The Sliders

 

If you have not been playing with Custom Sliders than you haven’t been getting the max out of your 60$ period. 
 
I’ve happily settled into All-Pro setting difficulty, with 9 minute quarters, 
plus zero additional clock run-off. Speed normal with lower injuries and a 0 speed threshold. 
 

Most significantly we set the player speed parity threshold to zero in order to emphasize the offense vs defense hand-fighting and feel off the ball plus animations. Receivers and defensive backs are noticeably more engaged in route. To my understanding by lowering the speed threshold their is a) less invisible “pulling” or “suction cup” action between players and an improved rate of triggered animations. These player animations are what breaths life and variability into otherwise linear contact.

The general feel of this slider set is to provide the user with a challanging but fair task of gaining yards and scoring points. Offensive line engagement and defender blocksheading are set in a way that makes yards tough to come by but doable (that goes both ways).

Collapsing pocket pressure means that any player worth their salt needs to be active in reading defensive coverage and fronts pre-snap, being sure to understand the concept and execute in short order. 

Implementing community custom sliders are necessary to take Madden 19 from just a step in the right direction flaws included, to a much more complete immersive experience. 

Example of unique gameplay sliders created by Matt10




 
 
 
Special shout out to Matt10 for his great work on custom sliders, 
The ongoing forum thread can be found at:
 
https://forums.operationsports.com/forums/madden-nfl-football-sliders/936260-matt10s-madden-19-sliders.html

 

-Christian 

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