As we continue down the road to Madden NFL 19‘s release on August 10, 2018, it is high time that we show a little love to the sophomore season of Longshot. Following the lead of the well-regarded The Journey mode from FIFA 17, the folks over at EA Sports Tiburon embarked on their own Madden single-player narrative last year. Based off of what they managed to accomplish the first time around, it is exciting to see what they have in store for this outing.
Missing the Cut
Longshot: Homecoming continues to follow the twin-headed narrative of Quarterback Devin Wade and his longtime friend and former standout wide receiver, Colt Cruise. Since the conclusion of last season, the two friends have both gone through some tough times. Both were cut from their respective teams (which actually could have been the same team, depending upon the player’s choices last season), which also effectively works to reset the story for both characters right back to square one.
In the wake of being cut, both players have taken their own paths back to their ultimate goal of starting for an NFL team. Wade has fared better than Colt, having landed a short-lived practice squad assignment in the Cowboys organization. Colt, on the other hand, is continuing to scrape by with a floundering music career, while he actively pursues any football opportunity he can find. The poor bastard is so desperate, he has resorted to personally spamming the entire Bengals coaching staff. At least he hasn’t stooped low enough to call the Browns yet.
The jumping off point for the story finds our heroes in very different places, facing very different challenges from one another. At least initially, all on-the-field gameplay is seen through Wade’s eyes, while Colt is on the outside, looking in. This will undoubtedly change over the course of the campaign, but it is jarring how differently their respective lives are playing out.
After hearing the feedback from Longshot’s initial installment, the development and writing teams have made a concerted effort to deliver more opportunities for on-field play. However, based off of the hour or so that I was allowed to play at the preview event, the game still spends far more time off of the gridiron than on it. Hopefully the gameplay vs. interactive cutscene ratio will balance out over the span of the campaign, but I’m not holding my breath. That said, EA has stated that Homecoming will feature four times the gameplay of its predecessor. So it is probably best to withhold judgment until we have our hands on the final release.
Last season’s cast was headlined by the likes of Mahershala Ali, who just so happened to be fresh off of winning his first Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. Talk about hitting the casting jackpot! This year’s class is anchored by recent Emmy nominee Ron Cephas Jones and perennial Adam Sandler collaborator, Rob Schneider. And before you ask, yes, this is the same Rob Schneider of Saturday Night Live and Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo fame.
Both of these high-profile guest stars seem like solid choices for their respective roles. Ron Cephas Jones is the perfect choice for a disgruntled coach, desperately trying to make the most of his underachieving roster. He’s nurturing enough when it is warranted, but also has enough edge to cut through the bullshit when an ass-chewing is in order. On the other side of the field, Schneider is playing a member of the management, who is at his wits’ end with the performance of certain key players. It seems odd to see him in an intense, non-slapstick role, but he too seems like a natural fit to the narrative. I can’t wait to see where the dynamic between these two are going, because it looks like they are bound for conflict.
I personally look forward to immersing myself in a second round of this smashmouth soap opera. The foundational pieces seem to be in place to help elevate Longshot: Homecoming to the level of something genuinely special.
If our bite-sized gameplay clips aren’t enough to satiate your hunger for all things Longshot, feel free to check out the video below, which contains a full, unedited capture of our first half hour of the campaign.
And be sure to keep an eye out for the rest of our coverage from the EA Sports Summer Showcase, which will continue to rollout in the coming days. You definitely don’t want to miss our buffet of NHL 19 details. Rest assured, it will be well worth the wait.
Our hands-on Madden NFL 19 PS4 preview was done at an event. Travel and accommodations were provided by Electronic Arts.