The reviews on Madden 15 have come pouring in, and the feedback has been largely positive. According to Metacritic, the average rating for the game (the PlayStation 4 version) from 21 critics is an 82. That's a high B on the site's scale.
In my rating, I gave the game an 8.25, which is pretty consistent with the consensus collected by Metacritic.
Owen Good of Polygon had one of the most ringing endorsements. Good said:
This is the first time since Madden NFL 10 where I've had that a-ha moment where all I want to do is go play Madden, and it's not because of some role-playing device in the career mode, or a nifty collection of throwback uniforms, or the fact there was a military flyover before the Super Bowl.
It's because the gameplay is focused to raising my knowledge and skill rather than accommodating or minimizing the lack of it.
Good seems to be referencing the Skills Trainer and Gauntlet. These modes do an excellent job entertaining and teaching you the game of football. Never before has the game taken such a hands-on approach to instructing gamers on how to read coverages and counter just about any strategy in the sport.
Perhaps the best thing is that it was done all while keeping the game fun and exciting.
Mike Suszek of Joystiq.com talked about the improved graphics and presentation. He writes:
Madden 15 brushes up a few presentation elements as well, including well-detailed player models with exceptional likenesses given to the more popular athletes. The slick half-time show package pulls highlights from the first half of matches with spliced-together voiceover descriptions.
Without question, the visuals are what one would expect from the current console generation. It would be nice to see more player faces accurately captured, but with such large rosters in the NFL, it's easy to understand why some aren't as accurate.
The halftime show was a much-needed addition. For whatever reason, presentation hasn't always been a priority for this series, but there's been an obvious attempt to present a TV-style broadcast in the game. There's still room for improvement with the halftime show and the in-game commentary.
Phil Simms and Jim Nantz could have more conversations with each other, and a larger database of names would be nice as well.
In the halftime show, Larry Ridley doesn't mention as many player names as he should. This makes the experience seem generic at times. The comments regarding distance and impact on the game also aren't specific. These are all small details, but they are noticeable omissions.
While we're just taking baby steps with the presentation, pregame and postgame shows during Connected Careers would be fantastic. Talk about engrossing gamers in the experience. If the best highlights of the week were stored and then displayed during a weekly wrap-up or used to heighten excitement before the week begins, it would be stellar.
Brian Peterson of Gaming Age really loves the game. He went all 80s rock on us. Peterson said:
All in all, what more can be said about Madden NFL 15 other than to quote Tina Turner and say it’s “Simply the Best.” From the way the game looks, plays, and how much the it offers for only the games’ second year of being a new generation release, there is little if much of anything to gripe about.
Well then. Seriously, I'd have to agree for the most part with my namesake. Madden 15 is the best of the series. The gameplay is at its peak, and it's on another level visually. If Madden 16 builds on these concepts and makes a few tweaks and additions, we might be looking at a game that I score a nine or above.
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