The anticipated start of the 2014 NFL season means that Madden 15 is almost here.
The popular video game will be released August 26, complete with updated rosters, new features and the best graphics yet. With the next-generation consoles of XBox One and PlayStation 4 becoming more prevalent across the country, more fans will get to enjoy even bigger improvements.
At this point, the question is how it rates to past versions as well as other games available. It does not make sense to spend $60 on a game that is not worth the cost.
Fortunately, the reviews have been mostly positive heading into the worldwide release. Here is a look at some of the latest evaluations of the football game with scores for each.
Alex Rubens of IGN (Score: 8.7 out of 10)
One of the biggest changes to the game is the improved gameplay on the defensive end. Rubens highlights this as a major improvement after a "hugely important and long-overdue upgrade."
The latest version of the game allows you to face the quarterback on defense, giving a more realistic approach to the football. You can play as a linebacker or safety who is truly reading the play as it develops or as a lineman trying to bust through and penetrate into the backfield.
This is part of the reason for this becoming one of the best versions in years:
After the letdown of Madden 25 last year, Madden 15 feels like a mostly fresh start for the series. The increased emphasis on defensive play, a great new play-calling system, and the return of long-time favorites makes this year’s Madden one of the best in recent memory, even if it could still use work in regards to its stale commentary and longstanding bugs. As a lifelong Madden and football fan, I’m impressed. This year’s game is both exciting and reassuring that EA Sports isn’t wasting opportunities to improve the series.
The biggest critique of the Madden franchise is that it does not need to make major improvements due to the lack of competition. EA Sports has the ability to simply update the rosters and make some visual changes and call it a day.
Fortunately, it seems like the creators did much more than that to create Madden 15, with a few big changes to the format.
Brett Molina of USA Today (Score: 3.5 out of 4)
Another reviewer fond of the defensive improvements is Brett Molina of USA Today, who enjoyed seeing the improved intelligence for players on that side of the ball. Cover athlete Richard Sherman has become almost impossible to pass against.
Meanwhile, he notes the cone of vision for defensive players as an upgrade that will help you individually.
Still, Molina points out that this is the only major improvement for the game. While the Franchise mode and Ultimate Team are still great features, they are very similar to what we have seen in past years. After recapping the latest changes, he explains:
However, Madden NFL 15 does lack that one significant feature that sets it apart. Instead, players get a series of smaller improvements to bolster the experience. But it seems EA is better suited to managing the growing pains that come with the shift to new hardware.
It is obviously important to make sure a game keeps moving forward instead of remaining stagnant or possibly falling behind. Even without major leaps, the fact that it can keep up with the changing consoles and various other changes is respectable.
Meanwhile, it is good for the game to not change what has worked for so long. Bigger changes to the gameplay supersede small additions to the modes that are already incredibly popular.
Anthony Taormina of Game Rant (Score: 4.5 out of 5)
It is clear that this newest game is far from perfect, which Anthony Taormina of Game Rant points out.
Like many others, he complains that the "commentary by Jim Nantz and Phil Simms is still a little stiff." This has been an issue for years among many gamers, although the possibilities are relatively limited with pre-recorded segments.
Besides, Nantz and Simms are not usually the most memorable announcers in the game to begin with.
Additionally, Taormina has issues with the randomness of gameplay, which sometimes features luck when it comes to catching passes or completing tackles. Once again, this comes with the attempt to make it as realistic as possible.
Despite the issues, he still has great things to say about the latest version overall:
Madden NFL 15 is the best the series has looked and played in years, and is very close to coalescing into something truly impressive. One or two more years under these new consoles and more changes like those featured this year, and Madden just might reclaim its old glory.
Every year, we are looking for improvements from a game that could end up looking similar to past years. While this version is not perfect, it is clear that it is headed in the right direction.
Taormina thinks that we are just a few years away from really reaching the franchise's potential with the new consoles.
Phillip Martinez of International Digital Times (Score: 9 out of 10)
Most people who have bought the football game every year until now will buy the next version regardless. This makes it less important to convince these types to buy the game, as opposed to those who have avoided it in the past.
International Digital Times' Phillip Martinez is one person in the latter group, avoiding the franchise over the past 10 years due to a lack of legitimate improvements. However, he admits that Madden 15 has become "a turning point for me in my gaming life."
From the presentation to the gameplay to the game modes, each part of it has improved enough to justify a purchase of the new game.
He recaps his feelings by saying:
All in all, Madden NFL 15 is a welcome addition to the franchise bringing in more mechanics to make each game feel like a real life NFL game. The graphics are amazing and there is plenty of replayability with the Gauntlet and Connected Franchise modes. [...]
Playing EA's latest football game has brought this Sports nut back to loving sports games again and whether you're new, left the genre like me or a seasoned Madden player you'll love this game.
If this game can bring back people who have been avoiding making the purchase for years, it is obviously doing something right.
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