7 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Celeste Review


It’s time to look at an indie game that got pretty well known after it came out. It always looked pretty fun so I’m glad that I’ve now gotten to try it. The title isn’t particularly long, but it’s fairly challenging and a complete title. There are no real weaknesses here and the plot is pretty fun. It may not become the next Asdivine Hearts, but I’d definitely be down with a sequel someday.

The game follows a girl’s journey towards climbing a huge mountain called Celeste. While you have the option of re-naming the main character her given name is Madeline. She is fairly timid and figures that climbing the mountain would be a very big accomplishment. Unfortunately there are many obstacles standing in her way. Aside from the fact that the mountain is already an extremely difficult thing to climb, she will also have to contend with demons and her dark side which wants to sabotage her at every corner. Madeline can’t drop her guard, but so long as she continues to believe in herself and fights hard she should be okay.

The gameplay is like a 2D platformer but you have a few extra mechanics to keep in mind. One if the fact that you can air boost. This is incredibly handy and crucial to the levels. You can stick to walls and climb up and down. This uses up energy though and when you’re out of energy you’ll just end up falling. The goal is to get to the end of the level which is usually trying to go as high as you can. At times the exit will be blocked by a locked door and you’ll have to go around activating various items/switches in order to get through. The key here is to master the air boosting and everything else will come into place. One fun aspect of the game is that it keeps track of your deaths which is really cool. In the end I died exacting 500 times according to my post game stats. I wonder if they round it at all or if I actually did happen to die at such an even number. If so then that’s also pretty neat.

You may wonder if it’ll get tedious dying so often, but Celeste actually handles this extremely well. When you die, your re spawn has no animation. You just re-appear at the start of the section and no time is lost. It would be monumental if other games could adopt this same strategy or at least a game like Mario Maker where those seconds would add up to valuable time. Each level in Celeste is broken up into many small sections and the good part about this is that you don’t lose much time. No matter how often you die, you’ll only go back to the beginning of that mini section so it’s really not a terrible penalty at all. The developers really knew what they were doing here.

The final level is especially fun since you get to enjoy some extra power. It’s sort of like playing as Super Sonic for a level. You can really feel the difference between the characters and it’s a lot of fun. The level designs were also really great to be able to handle this without breaking. There was definitely a lot of effort put into this game, that is just evident. There are so many different kinds of platforming elements thrown in here that will challenge you every which way possible. It’s never unfair either, just tough enough to make sure you’re always paying attention. I died close to 80 times per level which speaks to the difficulty, but play the level enough and you’ll learn the patterns.

The story has some mysterious elements like Undertale, but it’s not nearly as thorough or filled with horror elements. While the game has a bit of a suspenseful air at the beginning it quickly becomes more of an emotional game. It’s going for a different feel than some of the other games. Most of the other platformers I’ve played like this one would win in terms of plot (Trine, Shantae, Shovel Knight, etc) but it still has considerably more plot than some of the mainstream platformers. I think one thing that could have helped push the story into the next level would have been a final demon of sorts. Someone that Madeline needed to conquer to really end up breaking her shell. As it stands, the final boss was handled really well though. It was definitely a tricky encounter that felt very climactic.

As for the graphics, the game looks nice. The sprites are less detailed than in others and I think it’s intentionally going for a very old school look. Most of the effort is put into the backgrounds which are definitely solid. It really gets that mountain atmosphere down pat. Celeste’s music is fairly standard. There aren’t any themes that you’ll be humming afterwards and since this isn’t really a fighting game there aren’t many big boss themes either. Still, it’s a very peaceful ost which works well in the background.

As for the length, the main campaign took me 4 hours. (Pretty much on the dot) There is a bonus level and to access it you will need some collectibles. If you intend to 100% this game I imagine it’ll take you significantly longer to beat the game. There are a ton of strawberries after all. I only got 9 out of close to 200. So add all those up and you’ll be here for a very long time. That’s probably why most people take closer to 7-8 hours to complete this game. Even with 4 hours it’s a satisfying experience though and you get a good amount of story. With the bonus content you’ve definitely got enough value for your purchase.

Overall, Celeste is just a solid game. The plot’s pretty interesting and you’ll get to think about what is happening for yourself. Is there a dream element in this or is everything happening in the real world? The whole conversation with the guy at the very beginning of the game is still very strange, likewise with the phone call to the Mom. Both scenes seemingly have no purpose being in the game so I believe that it’s hinting some of these events may not actually be happening. It’s at least a possibility, but ultimately I do prefer to think that it all happened. As a result, I’m just going to roll the dice on the possibility that this is all happening right now. When you play through the game definitely decide for yourself what is going on though. Doing the detective work is part of the fun.

Overall 7/10

7 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Transistor Review


It’s time to look at a video game I just managed to complete today. It’s not a title that I was familiar with before playing so it’s always fun to enter a game blind. It’s definitely got a very cryptic environment which works well like Bendy or Undertale. Like those games there is a deep plot that you’ll understand if you pay attention and do a lot of the bonus content, but if not then you’ve got the dedicated fans who will spell it out for you online. It’s a fun experience although I do have to give the ending a thumbs down.

The movie starts off with the lead Red as she wakes up next to someone who’s been stabbed. The enemy had tried to destroy her, but they ended up getting this guy instead. When she takes the sword out it talks to her and reveals his name to be Transistor. Red’s voice was unfortunately damaged so she can no longer talk. Red used to be a singer so this was pretty tragic. The whole city (Maybe the whole world?) has been taken over by a robotic army led by the Camerata. Red needs to take them all down and steal their souls to try and find a way to revive Transistor. Unfortunately the entire city is basically a ghost town at this point so she has to wonder how much progress she is actually making.

If you want a more detailed plot definitely check out Wikipedia as they’ve got it all down there. You’ll get the basic plot as you play the game, but don’t expect to learn it all right away since it is part mystery. The pieces start to add up and you’ll come across a lot of news articles and blogs in the game. There are terminals that can be found just about anywhere. You get extra trophies for interacting with everything so it’s not a bad idea to check them all out. Now lets talk about the gameplay. You are able to hum with one button and another lets you sweep a bit. You’ll never need to use either technique, but it’s nice to have them around.

The actual gameplay is Xcom style, but with a dash of real time action. You manuever your character through a sealed off area as you try to eliminate all of the enemies. You can attack in real time with one hit at a time or you can freeze time and use a few actions as a combo. The latter is pretty much mandatory as you progress through the game. Hitting an enemy from behind will deal more damage but then you have to try and calculate their trajectory to land the follow-up hit. There’s a ton of strategy to consider here which is pretty cool. Then you’ve got a robust level up system which unlocks more powers. You have to choose which ones to equip and which to keep on standby as you have very limited space. You also have limiters you can put on which further restricts your memory, but gives you more XP per fight. I turned on every limiter I had until the very final boss.

It was fun to take off my limiters as if this was DBZ and then go wild on the guy. It will ensure you have more of a challenge throughout the game, but in my opinion it’s worth it because every level up helps you out considerably. This is the kind of game where level ups make a huge difference. You also have a beach house you can go to in order to do extra fights and grind some XP as well. There’s no need to do it as the game is challenging, but not crazy. Still, the option is there so you will want to keep it in mind. Also make sure to destroy the enemy cores after you beat the minions since they will revive within 5-8 seconds otherwise.

The actual game is fairly short at about 3-4 hours. You can stretch this out to around 8 or so if you go for everything. I think one of the trophies is for beating the game twice as well so getting the Platinum will take quite a lot of time. It’s a short title, but a fun one so I expect you’ll have a fun time regardless. The deciding factor here will likely be how you enjoy the gameplay. I liked it a lot since strategy is my thing. It’s the kind of “puzzle” in a sense that I can actually enjoy. I also did like the cryptic plot. In a way games can be extra fun when they never tell you what’s going on. You get to fill in all the blanks and whenever a game/film/any kind of media hides things rather than spelling it out I think it works really well. It just adds on to that mystery angle.

The graphics here look pretty good. It’ll remind you of some of the alien games for the Wii. Naturally this isn’t going to look at high end as the average AAA PS4 game, but it’s all still very smooth and leak. I also like the illustrations that pop up after each level. They look quite grand and I’m sure quite a lot of effort was put into them. Some of these are interactive as well so always be sure to stay sharp. As for the soundtrack, I can’t say that it was very memorable. It was cool that we got actual songs though. The song that played during the first level was quite good. I was surprised that we didn’t get many more after that, but considering that it has a full soundtrack I imagine there are a ton more that were created for the game.

As I mentioned the ending isn’t very satisfying though. I can’t really talk about it at all without spoilers, but it didn’t really work. I will say that it’s not all that selfish on Red’s part since as I mentioned there aren’t a lot of people around anymore. I was just against it on principal, but in her shoes its not as if the decision doesn’t make sense. It makes sense for sure, but in the same logic that a lot of villains tend to use in various series. It was unexpected though, I’ll definitely grant the game that. I did not think it was heading in that direction at all.

Overall, Transistor is a fun game. It’s definitely one of those titles that is a lot of fun for the experience. Once you know how things are going to end up I don’t think you would be able to play it through for a second time. At least not for a long while. At the same time the new game + may give you extra story details which would be cool. There is a lot of post game content here as well as you try to max out your level. If you haven’t played this game yet then I’d recommend checking it out. I don’t think you should really be paying more than $20 for it though considering the short length. Once you start you will definitely be sucked into it and hopefully we do get a sequel someday. It doesn’t feel very likely based on the ending though.

Overall 7/10

Game Records

Trine HD Collection Stats and Records

Stats time!

Trine 1 18/47 PS4 Trophies

Level Stats (XP)

Level 1 8/15
Level 2 33/45
Level 3 18/35
Level 4 24/45
Level 5 31/55
Level 6 23/40
Level 7 34/50
Level 8 34/45
Level 9 30/50
Level 10 22/35
Level 11 28/55
Level 12 28/45
Level 13 26/50
Level 14 30/60
Level 15 16/25
Level 16 –

Trine 2 23/51 PS4 Trophies

Level Stats (XP)

Level 1 18/30
Level 2 84/155
Level 3 48/135
Level 4 69/135
Level 5 54/110
Level 6 58/110
Level 7 53/130
Level 8 43/80
Level 9 12/45
Level 10 71/170
Level 11 42/120
Level 12 69/130
Level 13 –
Level 14 71/220
Level 15 77/210
Level 16 57/200
Level 17 44/205
Level 18 59/215
Level 19 –
Trine 3 20/28 PS4 Trophies

Level Stats (Orbs)

The Three Heroes -Pontius 49/50
The Three Heroes – Zoya 50/50
The Three Heroes – Amadeus 46/50
A Forgotten Parchment 25/25
The Astral Academy 127/150
A Lonely Knight 19/25
The Quest for Cake 47/50
A Tumble Down 17/25
Academy Outskirts 113/150
A Dangerous Outing 25/25
A Whisper of Evil 25/25
The Redwood Forest 115/150
A Wizard’s Epiphany 17/25
The Chronicles of the Guardian 138/150
A Brush with Death 19/25
An Academic Invasion 25/25
A Wizard’s Nightmare 19/25

Trine 4 20/40 PS4 Trophies

3/14 Letters
1/14 Treasure
1/19 Knicknacks

Level Stats (Orbs)

Level 1 22/25
Level 2 25/25
Level 3 25/25
Level 4 95/160
Level 5 40/120
Level 6 44/110
Level 7 30/110
Level 8 96/160
Level 9 40/150
Level 10 73/160
Level 11 43/150
Level 12 46/130
Level 13 37/100
Level 14 41/140
Level 15 46/120
Level 16 72/160
Level 17 72/160
Level 18 12/75

8 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

NBA Live 14 Review


It’s time to take a look at yet another Basketball game! These really do keep on coming don’t they? Well, I haven’t played a Live title in a little while so it was fun to float back to it. This time I actually ended up preferring it to the 2K counterpart so that was pretty neat. It’s a very fast paced installment and there’s no long tutorial to get in your way so you can dive into the action. I tried facing off against the computer on standard difficulty and then again on the toughest level. Both times the games ended around the same way which is odd, but I did lose so maybe the computer just likes to keep it close.

I’ve already explained the rules of Basketball in my last 10 Basketball game reviews so you may be wondering why I keep on doing it. Well, I figure that every review is potentially someone’s first review so a short recap isn’t a bad idea. I will be keeping this fairly brief though. The goal of the game is to score more points than the other team and the way you score points is by throwing the ball inside the opponent’s hoop. This is tricky since there is always a defender right next to you and their goal is to swipe/block the ball and make some scores of their own. You’ll need teamwork to stop these guys since just taking over a game isn’t a completely viable strategy.

As mentioned earlier one of the biggest reasons why the game is so great is because Live 14 is just really fast paced. It actually felt like I was playing one of the Gamecube installments which was definitely neat. Those were really good times and the players also felt more like pros. I was sinking a ton of 3 point shots and they just weren’t missing. On the other hand, that meant I really couldn’t stop the other team since my best bet was usually to pick up the rebounds. Speaking of which, the rebounds are tough here because it feels like your player completely freezes when the ball is in the air. I’m not sure if that’s a new mechanic or if it’s always been like that, but it definitely did make things pretty tricky.

At one point I even got a 10 point lead against these guys so you know that I was feeling pretty sharp around this point. Then half time occurred and as always the computer started to make a miraculous comeback. I still think that there’s something a little fishy here. They ended up taking a narrow win but it was a very entertaining match. At least since my players weren’t constantly missing the ball it felt like I was actually playing. I didn’t do any fancy ball tricks, but I did do a lot more passing as well. Sometimes I try to play the games fairly realistically since that’s fun in its own way and other times I just charge the ball constantly.l

Then in the super tough difficulty match I never got a huge lead, but I did have a 2 point advantage to start the fourth quarter. It still proved to be futile, but one of these days I will score a definitive win against the A.I. Defense is definitely still holding me back because if I were able to make the occasional stop that would make all the difference. You can’t win on offense alone, you’ve got to dominate on both sides of the ball. It’s absolutely crucial that you do that if you want to rise up the ranks.

The graphics are definitely top notch and after playing this one and 2K back to back you can see the difference. EA spares no expense on the mainline NBA games and it’s always hard to see how the graphics can keep improving. After a while you’ve basically just become as lifelike as you can possibly get. As expected there isn’t really much of a soundtrack to note here. It’s around, but you won’t be on the main menu a whole lot anyway.

There’s a lot of content and replay value here of course. I’m thinking that the servers for this title are probably either gone or empty, but it’s worth checking into if you have PS+. The main draw will likely be the actual games though so that’s where you’ll be putting in a lot of time. It’s always fun to see yourself improving as you play game after game and the Basketball season has a ton of matches per season so you’ll be here a long while. At the end of the day the replay value will depend on how much you like the sport. A game like Madden I could play forever while NBA I would probably clock out after 20-40 hours. Still a great value for 5 bucks though.

Overall, NBA Live 14 is definitely a great title and one of the best NBA Live installments. The gameplay is back to being very fast. It’s definitely going for more of an arcade style than the simulation gameplay that 2K brings. Both have their strengths of course, but sometimes I am just in the mood for a quick arcade bout with lots of points flying across the board. This game delivers on that and is a solid way to end my Basketball run for now. Coming up are a lot of Soccer and Hockey games so stay tuned for those as I continue to dive into my sports backlog. Knocking that down to 0 will definitely be an awesome milestone!

Overall 8/10

8 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

NBA 2K18 Review


It’s time to jump back into the world of NBA 2K! This one’s actually pretty recent so I was almost surprised that it is only a few bucks to buy nowadays. Well, that definitely works for me and the game is consistently good as always. It’s a solid Basketball game that will help you through the fundamentals and allow you to really see what it’s like to be on the court. The tutorial is a little too long to be honest, but once you’re through that then you’re ready for the full experience.

As I mentioned there is a bit of a tutorial when you start up. Basically you have to play endless games against the computer as all of the modes install and the game finishes downloading. This took around an hour and a half in addition to the 30 minute install before you could actually start playing the game. Add this in and you should get prepared for a long wait. I suppose being forced to face off against the computer is much better than just waiting on an empty menu though. At least you are given something to do right? It works as well as a classic Play Now feature so I’m guessing my experience is pretty much the same as it would have been.

As always the goal of the game is to throw the ball into the opponent’s hoop. To do this you will pass among your teammates until one of you is in range to claim the points and nail the win. It’s definitely not as easy as it sounds though since your players will routinely miss every shot they can. You can’t really depend on these guys and likewise they won’t be depending on you much either. They’re all just going to get ready to do their own thing and you try to follow along with them as best you can. It’s just odd to see these prop players missing baskets when they’re so close to the hoop. I’m sure there are some methods on how to score baskets more reliably, but until you learn them get ready to miss a lot.

Still, I did keep the game real close for the first half. I’ve noticed this is a bit of a trend as I’m right with the other team, but as soon as the halftime break ends they come out swinging. Maybe the games actually incorporate a little pep talk into the A.I. now. If so, then that’s definitely pretty interesting. Regardless, they blew me out of the water by the end, but I’m just glad that I kept it respectable for a while. I even landed a few 3 point shots, but ultimately missed way more than I landed.

As expected the graphics are pretty good here. They definitely aren’t as good as the main NBA titles, but 2K is still holding their own right up there with the main guys and that’s pretty impressive in its own right. The soundtrack isn’t memorable enough to really mention but I’m sure it’s decent. Sport games don’t tend to have my favorite soundtracks but they use a lot of real songs so that’s something. I just want some fast paced instrumental tunes and then I’d be all set.

There’s definitely a ton of replay value here of course as you try to earn all of the trophies. Each game is unique and so playing around in franchise mode will also take you a long time. In theory there is no reason why you would need to spend less than 50 hours on this game. There’s just a lot of Basketball fun to be had. Usually I’ve been preferring these to the main NBA titles, but this time it did feel a little extra slow. 2K is more about realism than bringing the party to the gameplay, but with everyone constantly missing it definitely slowed down the tempo a lot. Still, not enough so to hurt the score.

On offense I still recommend doing a lot of charging the basket and quickly passing to the outside for either a quick 3 point shot or a better angle to run in. It’s pretty hard to get in close enough to dunk and the risk with taking a super close shot that isn’t a dunk is the character tends to hold the ball a little longer than he should. At that point it just ends up getting stolen or missed entirely. On offense you just want to keep moving at all times. Do this and you should definitely be fine.

On defense there’s less I can recommend since the computers tend to do whatever they want. There’s no full proof way to stop them so my recommendation is to constantly charge into them with L2 and force them to make a shot instead of going for the dunk. At least this way there is the chance that they will miss. Additionally you can go for steals, but don’t do it too often or they all start turning into flags instead. The tricky part is that a lot of the time they will end up picking the ball back up after you knock it away because your players tend to be a little slow. Defense is never as fun as offense in any game, but Basketball’s is still solid enough. Basketball and Football definitely have the best defensive gameplay, but offense will always be my favorite part regardless.

Overall, NBA 2K18 is definitely a solid Basketball game. There isn’t really a lot that has changed since the last installment, but that means it also hasn’t gotten any worse. If you like Basketball then this is a steal for only a few bucks. You’ve got a ton of content to absorb here and before long you’ll be taking these computers down for the count. Defense will likely always be tough but you can definitely nail the rhythm on the offense and start mounting your comeback there. The important thing is to remember that as long as you have the basketball you’ve always got a shot. You just can’t panic and start relying on the 3 point shots. That’s the quickest way to concede defeat. I don’t have 2K19 but there is a different Basketball game that I’ll be reviewing soon.

Overall 8/10

7 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Beast Quest Review


Looks like it’s time to jump into the world of Beast Quest. After getting the game it was tempting to check out the books, but since there’s well over 100 of them I quickly backed out of that idea. This game’s got a very retro feel to it. It reminds me of the old PS2/Gamecube games from back in the day. It’s hard to describe as you just had to be there, but the platforming elements are basic and to the point. There’s no extra flash or specific techniques here. You’ll learn all there is to know about the gameplay within 10 minutes. From there it’s off to the races. It’s definitely the kind of game where you can also feel your progression right away.

So the plot of the game starts with an old wizard heading off to meet with the son of a legendary fighter. He tells the kid that only he can save the world from the evil which plagues it. This kid is eager to get started so he quickly gets ready with his sword and shield. The old wizard lets him know that he has to free the 4 legendary beasts which have been put under the control of an evil wizard. Along the way the kid meets up with a girl and her wolf. Together the group must accomplish this quest and make the world safe to live in once more.

It’s a humble plot but a solid one nonetheless. The accents are on point and the game has quite a few cutscenes. Voice acting is definitely important for the immersion in a game like this one so I was glad to see that. As I mentioned this is a 3D platformer so for most of the game you travel through the lands following your compass and fighting enemies that you run into along the way. When you meet up with an enemy the game turns into a close quarters combat style. You can use a horizontal slice or a vertical one. You also unlock other attack options like a flame slash or an ice blast. You can block attacks with your shield or do a crispy dodge which allows you to counter attack. As you attack you gain more meter which you can use for other special abilities. As you attack you fill up a second meter that you can use for final smashes. Additionally you have potions to heal yourself with. The game’s difficulty is pretty balanced. You’ll have a hard time at first, but then it gets easier from there.

You have an extensive level up system. You get orbs from enemies you defeat and you use them to increase various stats like attack, defense, critical, health, etc. I highly recommend going for attack first. See, in any game with an EXP system my first order of business is to increase the exp you get. Likewise in mobile games where you have to collect orbs to buy things I always buy the orb extender first. In this game attack translates into orbs and I’ll tell you why. Unlike traditional EXP, you get orbs by beating opponents without getting hit or landing a multi-KO. That means you need to be able to swing hard so you can beat them before they have a chance to counter attack. if you max out your attack then you can beat virtually any enemy in the game before they launch a counter attack which is absolutely crazy.

The attack difference is also incredibly noticeable. You do almost 4X the damage by the end and even bosses will go down in an instant. Also, if you want to grind EXP then go to the very first level in the game. Since they’re the weakest enemies that means they ironically give out the most EXP. It’s definitely an interesting system and one that I can get behind. Then with your coins you can also buy health upgrades from the shop. I recommend buying more space in the bag so you can hold up to 7 potions. Once you have that then it is very difficult to lose. The collectibles are handled really well.

The graphics may not be all that impressive, but again they have a very retro look bout them. It looks like a PS2 game. There are some glitches sadly like when the ground fell away during a boss fight, but it did make for a good view. That was a glitch that I can get behind. The soundtrack is less inspired and you’ll forget all of the tunes almost immediately. They’ll go in one ear and out the other.

There is quite a bit of replay value here. The reason for that is due to the game having such a short length. You can beat it in about 4 hours and the trophies are all surprisingly easy. After collecting everything you just need to beat the game on hard mode and then you’ll be all set. It’s tempting to go for this platinum. It’ll be on the top of my list once I become a trophy hunter again someday. It does really help cover the 4 hour campaign and since the game is fairly cheap it makes for a good value buy nonetheless.

As for the characters, they aren’t anything to write home about. The main character is your average hero, but he is very quick to let some secrets out while he is chatting with total strangers. Fortunately the heroine is here to keep him on the straight and narrow. She’s definitely a lot more on task and her pet tiger is definitely fun. The old wizard seemed shady the whole time and I was expecting a twist but it just didn’t happen. The main villain isn’t too smart though. He arrives to gloat at the characters but then you find out that he actually can’t fight. A single shove nearly destroys him and after that somebody finishes the job. It’s definitely a brutal end for the character. Maybe next time he’ll think of a good spell to use before walking into such a dangerous situation.

If I have one complaint with the game it is that its map function can break at times. By clicking on the right hand side of the PS4 controller’s touch screen you launch a glowing mine that shows you where you have to go. You chase after it like in Mirror’s Edge until you get to where you need to be. The problem is that it gets confused sometimes and just leads you in circles. At that point you have to use the master map and just find the next location the ole fashioned way. I don’t get why the map wouldn’t work at times. I’m thinking this part just wasn’t play tested the way that it should have been.

Overall, Beast Quest is more fun than you would expect at first glance. I definitely recommend checking it out. Once you’ve gone on the quest there is just no turning back. It’s a real page turner in video game format. I think one of the reasons why it works so well is because the layouts are all very clear. It’s got a clean interface and you actually feel like doing the side quests and such because they’re all just a lot of fun. So pick up this game and if you’re having any difficulty just make sure to upgrade your attack and you’ll be just fine.

Overall 7/10

9 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Madden 18 G.O.A.T. Edition Review


It’s time to look at the next Madden title. I’m really close to being caught up now, but I’ll likely wait a year before getting 19 so it drops down to the 5 dollar bin. The Madden games have historically been great. They’re consistently solid across the board and 18 is naturally no exception. This one even added a story mode of sorts although I didn’t try it this time. Basically you start out as a college kid who gets signed on to a team and during the game you rise up the ranks. It’s a pretty cool concept and while I would mainly be sticking with the tried and true quickplay battles, more options is never a bad thing.

Madden 18 has really got everything you can ask for. You can practice, play online, start a franchise, play the story, etc. They even added more options for the gameplay. You can now choose between arcade style, basic, or online for glory mode. I choose the last option of course because I want to be ready to take down an opponent at any time. It was definitely a lot of fun too and they finally brought speed back into the equation. Yes, you can run fast again and that is huge. I’m wondering if Madden 17 might have had some option in the back end where you could have switched the style. Either way, 18 definitely gets credit for showing you how to do it. It makes running the ball a lot more fun when you can just take off like this.

The gameplay is the same as it has been for the last 18 years so there isn’t much to say about it. The goal is to get across the opponent’s end zone to score some points. Score enough and you’re home free. On Offense I really like passing the ball, but it is always a lot riskier. Thanks in part to the whole “aggressive ball” mechanics you never really know if your guy is going to make the pass. There’s an equal chance that the other team’s player is just going to rocket from across the sidelines and knock the wind out of you. If that happens then you’re gonna fumble or you’ll end up throwing a pick 6. You want to only throw bullet passes and you want to do it when your guy is wide open. As a result I have to be really careful about where I throw it. You just can’t toss the ball in the air and make a play anymore.

Fortunately as I mentioned they brought the running game back. My favorite thing to do is pick a Hail Mary play and then run it with my quarterback. Most of the time you can gain an easy 10 yards. I average 10-11 yards per run with the quarterback. He almost always gets 100 yards by the time the game is over. It may feel a little broken at times, but I think a quarterback should be really mobile like that. It really opens up the offense. I get how it makes the defense a lot trickier to control, but I think it’s a fair trade considering how much better the ball covering is now. Running the ball traditionally is also good. You tend to pick up 2-3 yards. Madden continues to feel more and more like the real deal. I even get final scores that are like real games like 10-7.

On defense I’m mostly still at the mercy of the computer. I always pick a guy to try and sack the quarterback, but I only get 1-2 sacks a game. Otherwise I just hope I’m in the right place at the right time to make the stop. Otherwise I just get to watch and weep as the guy shakes a bunch of tackles and breaks an 80 yard run for a touchdown. In my defense, I usually shut the run down pretty well but when it comes time to pass then it’s all up to the luck of the draw. The computer either runs right through me or they throw some terrible passes and punt.

Special Teams is always fun even if it’s very brief. You get to do some free style running and that never gets old. Kicking the field goal and punting are still not my favorite with the new system though. It’s a lot harder since you have to press the X button at just the right time multiple times to launch a kick. It definitely does make kicking a little riskier so if that was the goal then the game succeeded. I just don’t think it was necessary. Ah well, it’s not like that really hurts the game all that much at all. A large part of the Madden experience still comes down to how quickly you can react. On any given play there is always an avenue for success when you’re on the offense. The defense’s job is to give you as little time as possible to make the right call. It’s just really hard to keep track of so many guys running on the field at the same time, but it’s exactly what you’ve got to do if you want to secure the win.

The graphics here definitely look quite amazing as expected. The players are all so lifelike and the presentation is still quite amazing. I enjoy the sound effects and the music doesn’t seem bad. You won’t really notice it aside from the main menu though so unless you stick around there for a while you really won’t notice it. The game has limitless replay value with the online mode and all the other content it has got. It’s always hard to see how you’d be ready to switch up to the next game in the following year. I suppose if you’re playing this full time then maybe you can get through it, but otherwise it probably feels like the next title is right around the corner.

Overall, Madden 18 is definitely an excellent title. Sadly the G.O.A.T. version doesn’t really change anything for me since I don’t have the online and it’s all expired by now, but the vanilla version will do quite fine. For 5 bucks you also can’t go wrong here. It’s a big upgrade over the last Madden I played and this one will rank up there with some of the classics that I’ve played. If you even remotely like Football then you’ll love this game. EA may not have the best rep, but I can say that they’ve never phoned in a Madden title. They give it their all year after year.

Overall 9/10