Madden 15: Rounding Up Latest Expert Reviews of Iconic Video Game

Donald WoodFeatured ColumnistAugust 26, 2014

John Madden speaks during the enshrinement ceremony at the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Saturday, August 5, 2006, in Canton, Ohio. Madden was inducted in the Class of 2006. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
TONY DEJAK/Associated Press

The release of Madden NFL 15 on Tuesday has created a buzz around the video game industry once again, and fans of the series are looking to the latest expert reviews before making their purchases.

There will always be a vocal minority of video game snobs who complain about the Madden series, but for the rest of us, this is an annual event that reminds everyone that regular-season football has almost returned.

Here are the latest expert reviews of Madden NFL 15 before you hit your local video game store.


Richard Grisham of Games Radar

Score: 4 out of 5

One of the biggest upgrades to this year’s game is on the offensive side of the ball with the improved play-calling system. The goal with the football simulator is to make gamers feel like they are in complete control, and the changes help new players get up to speed almost immediately.

Grisham spoke about the positives and negatives of the play-calling changes in the game and the effect they will have on both veteran gamers and novices:

Longtime Madden veterans definitely have their work cut out for them in the play-calling department, as the new menu system for selecting your personnel and strategy takes some time to process, especially when analytics are served up at the same time. Madden is more intent than ever on making play recommendations, and now that it backs them up with quantitative reasons for its suggestions, it feels like you’re the head coach watching an offensive or defensive coordinator sending in the plays. It’s very easy let Madden pick every play for you, and veterans of the series may resent the need to do more work to drill down into formations and specific calls. Conversely, newcomers are given a much clearer idea of what may be a good idea to run and why. Regardless, the navigation here is a drastic change from a decade-old template. It's easy to read because the visuals are extremely large and in your face, but a more toned-down approach would have made the system feel less busy.

Hardcore gamers will initially complain about the way plays are suggested, but they will work through the frustration and master the system. Once the artificial intelligence begins learning a player’s tendencies and defensive habits, even the most jaded gamer will have to admit at how comprehensive the experience has become.

Casual fans of the Madden series will be able to understand why the game is making the selections and learn from the concepts. Whether it’s running the ball on a short-and-inches play or going deep on a 1st-and-5, the play-calling is fluid and will change depending on each individual scenario.


Alex Rubens of IGN

Score: 8.7 out of 10

There were serious concerns after a lackluster showing in Madden 25 (the transition to the next-generation consoles stunted the growth of the franchise last season), but the developers at EA Sports have done everything possible to answer the bell from the fans critical of the series.

Madden NFL 15 is one of the most improved games of the year.

While some reviews have been critical, Rubens spoke glowingly about the game and gave it an impressive 8.7 out of 10 score:

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.

There is still plenty of room to grow for the franchise, but this release is a step in the right direction. Now that EA Sports has had a full year to work on the next-gen systems, it can focus more on the modes and gameplay upgrades and less on the visual improvements.

The presentation of the game is by far the best in the history of the series. It should be easier as the seasons progress to continue upgrading the visuals, and the focus on graphics this year will allow EA Sports to put more of an emphasis on further improving flaws for the 2016 version of the game.

It’s an exciting time to be a Madden fan.


Brett Molina of USA Today

Score: 3.5 out of 4

One of the most beloved aspects of the Madden franchise is the Connected Franchise mode.

Fans are once again focused on getting the most realistic experience out of the game as possible, and there is no better way to achieve that than by becoming the general manager of an entire franchise.

There are many aspects of the release that have fans excited, but Molina talked about CFM and how the immersive experience is exactly what many hardcore gamers and football fans want:

Most of the game's primary features remain intact, including an incredibly deep Connected Franchise mode, in which players can join a team as a superstar player, coach or owner. They can opt to pick a current NFL employee, create their own or choose an NFL legend.

Franchises can now get ready for games during the week with Game Prep. You can use this to earn experience for players, which includes running drills or installing the offensive game plan. Players have a set amount of points to spend during the week, which varies based on the timing of games.

The most exciting upgrade looks to be the off-field assignment of practice and study time. The object of practice is to improve each player’s ratings, and EA Sports has overhauled this process. From a new confidence attribute to a film-room option, Madden NFL 15 should appease all hardcore fans.

The ability to connect 32 different teams from across the world in one league is one of the reasons the CFM has taken off with gamers, but the upgrades made for this year’s Madden will help make this the best edition to date.


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