It’s football season baby! You know that football is just around the corner when your friends start fretting and/or bragging about their fantasy drafts and when Madden releases shortly before the NFL’s opening weekend. Unfortunately, most pin Madden as one of the worst examples of annual franchises that barely change from the previous year’s iteration. It is satisfying to say that Madden NFL 15 establishes itself as the one of the franchise’s best installments, a proper introduction to the NFL for the next-generation of consoles.
In the past, Madden games remained fairly similar from year to year. It is difficult to expect EA Tiburon to create drastically different games when their development cycle of 7 months is severely shorter than most other AAA titles. Yet it is also difficult for the developer to expect fans to be content with purchasing identical games year after year. Madden NFL 15 takes a sizable step in the right direction by making enough changes to the gameplay, presentation, and content of the game without straying too far from the series formula.
For example, managing defensive plays always felt like something that was forced upon you while you waited to get your hands back on the ball. It was hard to do anything on defense that made an impact and not mistakenly give up a 70 yard play, it was easier for the computer to take control and occasionally hit the tackle button once in a while. In this year’s Madden, defense truly matters. The revamped system gives players the means to make the play and stop the offense, not just slow them down.
The first major improvement to the series in Madden NFL 15 is the new and improved play-call system. Where in years past most players would choose the first play they happened to see on the screen, the new play-call system gives players strategic choices based on the context of their situation and takes in a number of factors. If you’re backed up on 3rd and short, the system might suggest running a HB screen based on the defense’s stats against that type of play, the success the play has had with community Madden players, and how often you’ve called that play yourself. Now you can understand why the system is suggesting a certain play instead of going in blind and hoping for the best. This, layered on top of the standard formation/play-type/player-specific play-call categories, provides Madden with the first system that really works and can actually stick around for a while.