Exciting! That’s the word that most perfectly describes Madden NFL 15. Yes, it has several minor flaws, but the improvements will wow you.
|MADDEN NFL 15
Replay Value: 9.0
Overall Score: 8.7Pros: Excellent player graphics; defense gets its props; community-sourced plays
Cons: Horrible announcer graphics; software mistakes; needs more Richard Sherman
As the game begins, you watch an imaginary 4th quarter in the upcoming NFC Championship game. It’s the Seahawks versus the Panthers — and tension is high. But wait! Suddenly, there’s a surprise. You have to play the game yourself as the Panthers’ Cam Newton.
You do really well. Then, the football gods seek their revenge as Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman makes a crazy, athletic defensive play.
And then time runs out.
But don’t fret. It’s just the tip of the iceberg. A whole new Madden world awaits. It’s a game that includes the vocal talent of quarterback Cam Newton, who will tell you about the many features within. And with that opening interactive snippet, you’ve learned a bit of “how to” without actually playing a tutorial. It’s smooth and seamless.
Electronic Arts has done something subtler this year. Yes, it has to do with the fact that it’s easier to play offense and defense. But it’s not only that.
There’s something in the way the players move on the field combined with your vision. With the next generation technology, you really see more of what’s going on. You see the way the body moves with powerful athleticism during a frantic run. And you see the way it gets hit like a rag doll when two defensive bruisers attack. Often, the in-game camera focuses on a player who’s in full revelry after the play. Why? Because it’s so exciting!
This year, the defense is easier to implement. As you go through the quarters, you actually feel like you’re controlling your player. For instance, once you engage an offensive lineman, you press X and rotate the stick to untangle yourself. Then you head for the quarterback for a potential sack. Geno Smith is easy to tackle. Andrew Luck might squirm away. Either way, you’ll disrupt the play.
A GRIDIRON EDUCATION
With Madden, I’ve been harping about one thing for years: Why doesn’t Madden give us a better guide on how to play? I don’t meant how to throw and how to block and a list of plays. But exactly why are certain plays called?
Finally, Madden helps you better understand the game of football. Cam Newton assists early on. And during the game, it’s a sentence or two per play. It’s still not quite enough, but it’s a fine start.
Madden could really have scored a touchdown if they’d had the brilliant Richard Sherman help out with the tutorials. He’s one of the smartest players in the league, and he would have been a terrific teacher.
Sherman’s and the other players’ animations are really lifelike, right down to the sweat. Aside from the players’ likenesses, though, the gamemakers don’t seem to have dedicated as much detail to other people — like coaches, announcers and fans.
Other features are more complex. In Ultimate Team, you’ll get cards of pros both current and past after you accomplish a number of achievements and goals. They even start you with a pack of cards.
You’ll get points, too. Playing and winning a game, for instance, gives you 1,000 points toward your next player pack. At first, you probably won’t recognize many of the players you get. That changes with the more expensive packs.
Overall, Madden NFL 15 is very impressive when it comes to gameplay features. But when it comes to window dressing like faces of coaches and fans and announcing, it’s very much a work in progress.
And getting deep into fantasy football and managing should to be explained more clearly.
So should you buy it? Yes, indeed. Despite the glitches, it’s better than the last few Maddens, that’s for sure.