The moment I saw what Madden 15 had to offer, I got excited for Madden 16. It's not because this year's version is bad. It's actually quite the contrary. The gameplay is so good, I can't wait to see what will happen when the modes and options catch up with the on-field action.
How good is Madden 15 for the new-generation consoles?
From a gameplay standpoint, it's the best it's ever been. The balance between offense and defense is exceptional. Visually, it finally looks the way a PlayStation 4 and Xbox One game should, and the presentation has seen a huge upgrade.
There are still a few things lacking on the customization side.
You can't edit draft classes and there's no create-a-team option. In Ultimate Team, you still can't create logos, uniforms or stadiums to truly put your stamp on your fantasy squad.
If these options were available, it would be very difficult not to score the game close to a 10 considering the strides made in gameplay and visual appeal.
As it stands, I scored the game a very solid 8.25 in my in-depth review. You can read it here.
While the appropriate due diligence was done to arrive at that score, it's still just one man's opinion. Let's take a look at what a few others said about the game.
Good Game Bro
When it comes to sports and shooters, the guys at Good Game Bro have become a force in the world of video games. Their impressions, reviews and gaming companion pieces are now a vital part of the sports video game scene.
Here's their synopsis of Madden 15.
Madden NFL 15 provides enough improvements in gameplay and presentation over last year’s debut on the new generation of consoles to feel like the first true start to “next-gen” football. For the first time in a few years, both sides of the ball are enjoyable and exciting to play, providing a balanced experience on the field. Career modes remain a weak point in the overall package, and some gameplay legacy issues remain to be addressed as the franchise continues to develop, but this year’s game comes recommended as a “Buy” at launch.
GGB brings up some of the same positives and negatives that I raised in my review. The career mode would have the life and identity required if gamers were allowed to add more of their own personal touches.
The sandbox approach is always best when it comes to franchise modes. Essentially, developers should take a load off and let the community add the personality. Even with that assessment, GGB agrees that Madden 15 is still a must-buy,
With the most powerful community in the sports video game world, Operation Sports' opinions on any new sports video game title holds major weight.
While the site doesn't generally score games within the first week of release, OS's Chris Sanner did offer a detailed first impression. Sanner said:
Thus far, Madden NFL 15 is really shaping up great. I still have a lot to check out within the game before I end up posting my final review. However, my initial thoughts are pretty strongly in favor of this year’s Madden. This is still Madden football, just a better and more true to life version of it. It’s too early whether to say Madden belongs amongst the discussion with the traditional great games in our genre, but I would be lying if I said it wasn’t tempting to suggest its possible at this point.
OSers are not easily impressed, so this positive account of the game speaks volumes of its quality. The fact that positive reception seems to be the trend, those of you who are still skeptical might want to really consider making a trip to your local video game retailer to pick this year's game up.
David Light of Go Madden had a positive account of the game overall, but he did bring up some specific issues.
He talked about the simulated stats of quarterbacks during Connected Franchises as one part of the game that needs improving. Light wrote:
In simming an entire season, rookie QB Blake Bortles only managed 1,407 yards, 1 TD and 7 INTs while playing in 15 games. Sorry, that’s not just bad, that’s downright broken. When looking at end-of-season stats, it becomes evident that this is a trend to some extent — the best QBs in the league for the season rarely pass more than 25-30 touchdowns, and 4,000 or so passing yards seems to be enough to take the passing title. When the best players at the position like Peyton Manning pass for 13 TDs and 10 TDs, you know something is wrong.
That will certainly be an issue for those of us who love realistic stats in their franchise mode experiences. While it's a relatively significant error, it's also one that should be pretty easy to tweak.
Because of the attention it's getting from gamers like Light and the OS community, it wouldn't be surprising if this was patched by the time the game releases in stores on Tuesday. At the most, a week after.
I'm not sure if gamers will need to wait to start their CFs until the patch is live, or if it'll automatically correct the issue on CFs that are in progress.
Stay tuned for more information on that.
Light also took issue with the play-calling menu. It is less than ideal for sure. It seems to default to plays that are suggested by the community and you have to waste time flipping to the formation you want to run if it differs from the suggested play.
This can actually cost you a few precious seconds on the play clock. It's unlikely this is something that will change post release. We may have to look to Madden 16 for a fix on this one.
This year gameplay is king and the modes and options are just approaching the throne. Because most of us value the action on the field above all, the enjoyment level for this year's game should still be high.
Follow Brian Mazique aka FranchisePlay, the Sports Video Game Journalist on Twitter.