The clock is ticking away, some would say not fast enough, to the August 26 release date of Madden 15, the latest installment in the always-popular video game series. It's also a chance for EA Sports to swing big with new features to captivate players.
One thing that can plague any video game series released on a yearly basis is complacency. Considering the insane popularity of football in this country, not to mention EA knowing it can sell millions of copies of Madden without trying, no one would blame the company for sticking with what works.
However, innovation is everything in technology and video games. EA Sports is not resting on its laurels this time around, going all-out to provide an experience fans won't soon forget. We've got a look at the best new features available in this year's game and what they mean for you.
Game Prep & Confidence in Connected Franchise Mode
As technology makes video game simulations more life-like, it's only appropriate Madden 15 would incorporate the real phases that players and teams go through on and off the field. In the past, you could just take the field, win or lose and go about your business.
Now, according to the notes from Josh Looman of EASports.com, an immersive experience before, during and after the games are over is going to make it feel more like the ebb and flow of a real NFL season.
Game prep is pretty straightforward as a way to set up a game plan in the week leading up to the game, looking at your opponent's tendencies and adjusting your offense and defense to match up with that.
Confidence is particularly exciting because it's not a set-in-stone rating, but will change from week to week, like it does in real life, per Looman:
Every player now has a confidence rating between 1 and 99. That confidence rating is dynamic and will change based on what happens to the player and his team from week to week, and is is NOT an indication of how confident the player generally is in real life.
The best part of any Madden game will always be playing as your favorite team, but what separates a good version from a great version is the ability to bring the reality of what it's like to be a player and lead a team into your living room.
Where we are with technology and the incredible engine systems for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One makes all of it possible.
Player Sense 2.0
One thing that has never made sense about the Madden video games is how players reacted based on what we (the controller) saw instead of what they (the avatars) saw. That sounds ridiculous to say, but hardcore gamers will understand what it means.
No longer will the little animated guys simply move and react based on how we tell them to, thanks to an upgraded Player Sense mode. The feature was introduced last year and gets a makeover in 2014.
According to EASports.com, the upgraded Player Sense feature will make it so that artificial intelligence is more natural. Instead of a defensive back who makes a play simply because you tell them to, their movement and reaction will be based on how they are positioned.
Player Sense unlocked the human element in Madden NFL 25 with more than 50x the contextual calculations of its predecessors.
In Madden NFL 15, Player Sense 2.0 creates the smartest playing Madden ever by improving player emotion, contextual awareness, head tracking, reach tackles and more.
It doesn't make sense to have a corner get an interception when you can see that they were never facing the play. Another aspect of this feature is it also allows defenses to play closer to how they do in real life.
There is no reason that a zone coverage should be treated the same way as man coverage. They are two distinct styles and should feel that way when you are playing the game, which it will now.
Better Tackling Mechanics
In keeping with the Player Sense 2.0 upgrades, one of the things that Madden has never gotten 100 percent right is tackling mechanics. You look at past games and see that as long as a defender is in the vicinity of the ball, they were going to make the tackle.
Fans are smart enough to know that's not how things work in real football. EA Sports apparently took notice of it, too, which is why the company has introduced an improved tackling system that will play more like what you see in real games.
The biggest change, according to EASports.com, is the integration of a "Tackle Cone" that basically serves as the defensive version of the old "Quarterback Vision" first introduced in 2006.
User controlled defenders now have an all-new Tackle Cone that is used to determine if they can complete a conservative tackle. If the user presses A (Xbox One) or X (PlayStation 4) while the ballcarrier is somewhere in defender's Tackle Cone, the defender will engage in a non-big hit tackle animation. Success of this tackle is based on a number of factors, primarily player ratings. that may or may not be successful based on a number of factors.
There are also two different types of tackles (conservative and aggressive). Aggressive tackles are more likely to create a fumble or big hit, but there's also more risk that you can be swiped away like a bug by the person carrying the ball.
This also requires video game players to be more decisive when picking a defensive player to control. For instance, a great tackling linebacker like Luke Kuechly or Patrick Willis has a better chance to make an aggressive tackle than one who is better in coverage like Lance Briggs.
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