The new Madden is now just a day from its release in the United States, and this year's version looks like it could be one of the better iterations in quite some time.
From exciting and much-needed new features to plenty of game modes and a core game-play model that remains enjoyable, Madden NFL 15 appears to be a step in the right direction.
But you need to be the judge of that yourselves, so below you'll find a slew of videos, reviews, new features and player ratings to help you make a decision on the game.
The Release Date
Aug. 26 in North America and Aug. 29 in Europe
PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One
Alex Rubens of IGN: 8.7 out of 10
Brian Mazique of Bleacher Report: 8.25 out of 10
Matthew Kato of Game Informer: 8 out of 10
All of this year's player ratings can be found here.
The New Features
Player Sense 2.0
War in the Trenches
The general impression you get when reading the various previews and reviews of this year's Madden is that the game offers a dramatically improved experienced on the defensive side of the ball. The artificial intelligence in the secondary play is smarter, the tackling experience is improved and the "War in the Trenches" offers a nice mini-game within the larger game.
It's a nice step in the right direction, because for too long games of Madden have been far more fun when you're on offense as opposed to on defense.
Generally speaking, the game also looks quite nice, namely on the PS4 and Xbox One. Even the coach models look better, even if they often have wonky animations. But in general, the graphics are far from this game's weak point.
The aforementioned weak point would seem to be presentation, namely in the play-by-play department. This is nothing new for a Madden game. Few games are as good in that department as the NBA2K series, now the golden standard for game presentation. But other EA titles are far better than Madden in this regard, with the FIFA series coming to mind. It's disappointing that Madden continues to disappoint on the play-by-play front.
Other issues seem to be that defenders still drop too many interceptions that smack them in the hands despite the improved secondary play. That was a major weakness of last year's version, as time and time again defenders reacted like they were wearing boxing gloves. This year's iteration has improved upon that glitch, but it's still not perfect.
There are other nice features incorporated directly into the game to make up for Madden's weaknesses, however, including a new play-calling system that will make suggestions based on your down, distance, the tendencies of the defense you are playing and the play success for other Madden users. EA Sports posted about this feature in more detail at their website:
Players can leverage data from millions of online games with all-new crowd-sourced play recommendations. For example, if Madden NFL players like spreading the field with four wide receivers on third down, you’ll see some of the plays that get called most often, as well as their success rates.
The improved game-flow system is not just limited to community success, but also opponent tendencies. This new data results in better suggestions than in years past, and replaces the “Ask Madden” feature.
NFL teams surely do something very similar with their own play-calling and the tendencies of their opponents, so this new feature is not only helpful, it's also a realistic way to pick apart your opponent. Basically, Madden is giving you a statistically informed offensive coordinator you can lean on every time you call a play. That's pretty cool.
All in all, this year's Madden feels like the start of a new era for the series—namely on current-gen consoles and not the PS3 or Xbox 360, where the game is inferior—while last year felt like too much of the same.
Is it perfect? No. Is it a revolutionary sports game? No. Is it worth your time this year?