Football fans are ready for the Tuesday, Aug. 26 release of Madden NFL 15, and gamers are trying to break down expert reviews in order to better understand the improvements and changes to the latest edition of the game.
With a plethora of new modes added this year, major upgrades to the visual presentation and wholesale changes to both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball, the 2015 edition of the annual Madden release has fans buzzing.
Here are the early expert reviews of Madden NFL 15.
Matthew Kato of Game Informer
Score: 8 out of 10
One of the best parts of Madden is the Connected Franchise Mode. The ability to control an entire franchise over the course of several seasons against other players across the world makes this one of the biggest attractions of the series.
Instead of resting on the success of last year’s changes, EA Sports has once again made major fundamental changes that will give gamers an ability to dig deeper into the job of a general manager more than ever before.
Kato spoke about the upgrades and changes to the CFM:
Connected Franchise's big additions are player confidence (a new attribute) and game prep, where your coaching staff applies man-hours to increase your players' XP and confidence through drills and non-interactive classroom work. These systems kept me engaged in a mode that has its lulls, even if managing game-prep hours and keeping confidence bolstered can be like keeping spinning plates aloft.
While it seems tedious from the description, the addition of a confidence attribute sounds like a new wrinkle gamers will need time to master. The ability to control how well a player does by building or breaking his confidence adds a sense of realism to the game most fans hadn’t imagined.
One of the main complaints was the lack of in-depth focus on improving players during the offseason and week-to-week, but the addition of film study and on-field practices will offer gamers an immersive experience.
Brett Molina of USA Today
Score: 3.5 out of 4
EA Sports understands that playing offense is the biggest reason fans love the football series and have made major upgrades to the play-calling system. With the ability to decipher defenses and capitalize on favorable matchups, playing this year’s Madden will be more fun than ever.
When talking about the offensive improvements, Molina explained the changes both veteran gamers and newcomers will experience when playing this year’s edition:
The offensive side has experienced a few tweaks, too, particularly before the ball is even snapped. Plays can be sorted by personnel, scheme, even concept. Players can also gain advice on what plays to run, based on the player's history, as well as the opponent's tendencies. It's a solid option for novices, but most veterans will likely stick with the straightforward schemes and run their plays.
Players can also view individual offensive weapons and compare how they match with their defender. Does it appear your slot receiver has a big speed advantage? Exploit it on the fly by calling an audible to send him on a deep route. It's much easier to uncover mismatches.
These are some of the changes hardcore gamers have been calling for over the years. The ability to decipher how a defense is set up and call audibles based on the matchups presented will give Madden fans the chance to become the video game version of Peyton Manning.
Who doesn't want to have ultimate control of the offensive unit?
The upgrades on offense came at the perfect time as well. EA Sports has created a more responsive defensive system, and the increased skill of the defenders will force offensive players to be sharper with their passes and better running the ball overall.
Ebenezer Samuel of the New York Daily News
The focus is always on the offensive upgrades made in the game each year, but playing defense is one of the lost arts in Madden. While hardcore gamers complain that playing defensive line is for novices, the developers have made the changes necessary to make even first-time gamers enjoy playing defense.
While much of the focus has been on offensive upgrades, Samuel spoke about the defensive improvements in Madden NFL 15:
There are more prominent new defensive toys as well. As a pass-rusher, you’ll get visual cues before the snap, simulating the guessing game that defensive ends play every Sunday and letting you gain an advantage over offensive linemen. Tackling receives an overhaul, too; approach a ball-carrier, and cone will appear by your player, helping to indicate when you can go for a tackle. (Hint: Oftentimes, it’s far earlier than you might think).
The biggest upgrade is the tackle cone. Instead of being forced to make contact with an opposing player before initiating a tackle (often resulting in a defender falling to the ground), any player within a defender’s tackle range can be grabbed.
The key for players will be which tackle type to use and less about timing it perfectly.
One of the biggest notes about this year’s edition of Madden was the visual upgrades made for the next-generation consoles, but gamers will be looking to get a chance to utilize the improved defense and further dominate their friends and family.