This year Madden NFL 15 has put the emphasis on defense. The cover athlete, Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman, is a defensive player and the changes made to gameplay will benefit players on that side of the ball. One of changes is the new tackling mechanic. As you approach a ball carrier on Madden 15, you will have a cone that appears in front of your defender. The size of the cone lets you know what type of tackle (conservative or aggressive) you should use. You can also square up using the LT/L2 buttons, and this will help you with open-field tackles. The type of tackle you go for will provide the typical risk/reward we see in sports video games. Going for the big hit could force a turnover, but it can also result in a badly missed tackle and huge gain for the opposition. The conservative approach won’t force the turnover, but the opponent is less likely to break your tackle. Player ratings also play a factor.
My favorite gameplay additions for Madden 15 are the new sets of tools you have while playing as a defensive lineman. You now have the ability to jump the snap by hitting RT/R2 at the right time. A well-timed jump will give you an advantage on the opposing offensive lineman. And even if you don’t get the perfect jump, you have a new block-shedding mechanic to use that will help you get pressure on the quarterback. While engaged with an offensive lineman, you can use the buttons on the controller to perform a finesse or power move. Just like everything else on defense, time it right, and it will reward you. As someone who typically plays as a defensive tackle, I have enjoyed this new mechanic. And if you don’t shed the block, you can still disrupt the play by using the new block-steering mechanic. With block steering, you can try to move the engaged offensive lineman into the running lane and disrupt the play.
The overall presentation of Madden 15 got a huge upgrade this offseason. Players have the option to change camera angles at the line of scrimmage. There are also new camera angles on kickoffs and new player cut scenes in between plays. Madden 15 has also added a new halftime show with commentary, stats and highlights. These upgrades, along with improved player models and the overall stadium atmosphere, make this most visually stunning Madden I have ever played.
In this age where we use data to make better decisions, Madden 15 now gives players data on the average yards gained by the online community per play. Madden 15 takes all the data from users playing online and calculates it for that particular play. The hope is that you can use this information to have more effective play calling. After every play in Madden 15, you can see what your opponent just ran on offense and defense. Some people might find this unfair as it shows you what play your opponent just ran. Others will like it because it will stop guys from cheesing the same play over and over and the opponent can make adjustments.
Madden can be an intimidating experience if you’re not the type of player that plays year-to-year. With that in mind, Madden 15 features the brand-new Skills Trainer. This not only teaches you how to use the basic controls, but it teaches you how to read a cover-2 or cover-3 defense and what type of plays on offense best counter those formations. This is very useful for someone new to the franchise or returning after not playing for a few seasons.
Madden 15 isn’t without its issues. There are those yearly problems that always bug me during a game. For example, when a ball is underthrown by the quarterback, your receivers just keep running the route like the pass is on point, while the DB swoops in front and makes a pick. Now that we are on the next generation, I would like to see receivers have some more intelligence and fight for the ball. When running routes toward the sideline, the receivers will catch the ball in stride, but run straight out of bounds because it takes a ridiculous amount of time to shift the player’s momentum upfield. This was one of my big issues with Madden 25 and unfortunately it’s made its way to Madden 15.
But these are small issues that don’t ruin the great experience that is Madden 15. Improved gameplay, fantastic presentation and multiple game modes make this Madden a must own.
SCORE: 9 out of 10