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5 Tips You Need Know Before Starting Madden NFL 18

Madden NFL 18 is almost upon us, with its full official race happening in just two days. Our review for the game is already live, EA's annual football game has several new features, including a brand new story mode separate from regular gameplay, that you'll want to take stock of before just diving right in.Here are five tips you need to know before starting the game:

You Hardly Play Any Football in Longshot

Longshot mode in Madden NFL 18 is the series’ first attempt at a story mode. Whether or not it will appeal to you is hard to say, as it certainly has its fans, but it also has its detractors who say it’s watered down on both the Telltale and football aspects.

One thing is for sure, though, you don’t play much actual football in the game mode. You never play a full Madden-style 11-on-11 game. You play a few very specific scenarios under the guise of “memories.” Besides that, you play two matches of 7-on-7, one to 21 and the other ending with a cinematic after getting to 28 points.

The only time you do play a real 11-on-11 situation is during the game’s climactic challenge, but it just presents you with a series of challenges (lead a 99-yard touchdown drive, i.e.), rather than having you play the full game. Depending on how long you take with these, it’s likely that actual football will take up no more than 1/5 of your actual playtime during Longshot.

But Longshot Does Offer Useful Rewards

Sure, we may not have cared much for Longshot has a game mode, and you might not either, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t rewarding. Playing through and completing the Longshot mode will give you rewards for your MUT Squad.

The Madden Ultimate Team (MUT) is the ultimate fantasy football mode, allowing you put players from all different teams and even different eras on one roster and pit them against both CPU and Online opponents.

And while the rewards in Longshot will likely not be substantial, depending on your playthrough, I’m sure you’re not one to leave money on the table.

It’s More Adaptive Than Previous Installments

For a years now, Madden games have always tried to adapt to what’s going on in the real life NFL season. This is usually something as simple as stat changes based on players’ performance, but Madden NFL 18 takes it to a whole new level with its Play Now Live feature.

Play Now Live lets you jump into the NFL season at any point, with any team and play that match. This will take into account live stats, trades and injuries, and even the commentary will be updated to include context of how the team has done so far in real life.

Playing Madden during the NFL season might me more rewarding than ever, and Play Now Live might be the only real way to play during that time.

Trading is More Difficult to Exploit

If you’re a Madden veteran, you’re probably very practiced at gaming the system during Franchise Mode. Easily exploitable trade A.I. combined with the possible unexpected emergence of rookie players might have made your franchises pretty lucrative with just one or two trade offers that CPU teams would accept.

Well that isn’t the case anymore. The Franchise Mode AI in Madden NFL 18 has now been tuned to add bonus trade value to both rookies and players in the first year of their contracts, making it much harder to nab those players that the game thinks are up for grabs but may not be.

Also, in the NFL landscape of Le’Veon Bell holdouts and Jimmy Garoppolo holdouts, Franchise mode has also adapted to put a higher premium on backup running backs and quarterbacks. Sorry, bud.

You’re Probably Better Off Without the “Target Passing” Feature

One of the new features in Madden NFL 18 is the “Target Passing” feature. This makes it so you’re not just pressing a button to determine who to throw the ball to and holding that button down more the faster you want to throw it. Instead, Target Passing gives you more control over exactly where you want to throw the ball around your targeted receiver.

Unfortunately, this should be considered a work in progress. It seems the only real option for the Target Passing mode is to throw slightly in front of your intended receiver, which would be where it goes anyway with just one button press and no loss of surrounding vision. Any alterations to your ball placement will likely confuse the receiving AI into missing your pass.

This isn’t to say that a system that allows you to, for example, back-shoulder a pass or throw your receiver open by putting it deeper, wouldn’t be good. It certainly would be. But, as far as we can tell, Target Passing is not that system just yet. Maybe give it a few more Maddens.

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