Review: Madden NFL 15 (XBOX ONE)
I’ve been playing Madden Football since I can remember. The first system I played it on was the Genesis. I remember the cartridge. It was the tall cartridge with the green background with the words All-Madden Football on it. I used to love playing with my favorite team, Washington. Back then they only had Washington… Not because they found the name Redskins offensive, but only because EA Sports didn’t have NFL licensing.
Fast-forward 20 plus years… Now EA Sports is the sole owner of the NFL licensing for third-party football games. Since the end of the 2004-2005 NFL season, Madden NFL Football is the only NFL football game that has been released on major consoles.
Why am I telling you all this in a review? It’s simple. I believe that the last great Madden NFL Football game was Madden 2005. It was the first game with the infamous Hitstick. Unfortunately for consumers, it was the last Madden that had legit competition from a video game competitor.
That was ten years ago. Madden NFL 15 is the tenth straight Madden to release without any competition. Since they lack competition, I believe that this Madden has failed again to live up to it’s fullest potential. Even as I sit and play it on both the X-Box One and Playstation 4, I feel underwhelmed.
If it’s one thing that Madden failed to beat it’s old nemesis, 2k Sports, it has to be presentation. If you saw on the page about a week or two ago, there was a video comparing the halftime shows of NFL2K5 against various Madden NFL games. EVEN STILL! TEN YEARS LATER! EA Sports has failed to even come close to providing fans with an impressive presentation aspect for Madden NFL. Yes, Madden NFL 15 does provide decent presentation. It’s not like they put out garbage; I just don’t understand how a football game from 2004 can still provide a better presentation style than a game in 2014.
Madden is still a good football game. I have played it for hours, and I still have fun playing it. I love the improvements they have made to the running game. Last year, it seemed like I could run the football at will. I could easily pickup 200 yards with pretty much any decent running back. It didn’t matter the skill level, rookie, All-Madden, custom sliders, I still put up big yards. This year, no such luck. You have to earn your rushing yards.
I also like that the passing accuracy has been adjusted to the point where I can feel comfortable that my QB can deliver a deep pass to a wide open receiver, and the ball doesn’t consistently float 15 yards over his head.
On the defensive side of the ball, I very much enjoy the new pass rushing system. It seems that the power rush moves and the swim moves have gone away from using the stick, to now using buttons to time your rush move.
The zone defense also seem to be more effective in Madden this year as well. Last year, it just felt like if I ran a zone, that the pass will be completed. This year, I think that the computer actually plays their zone a little better. Is it perfect? Of course not; but it’s better than before.
Another new feature I enjoy is the Skills Trainer. The Skills Trainer is not only full of tutorials and drills that could teach novice Madden players, but it also features a very challenging mode called “The Gauntlet”. The Gauntlet is a series of random drills that also randomizes the difficulty. It also has a “Boss Level” every fifth drill that features an interesting twist on specific drills.
Connected Franchise vs Madden Ultimate Team:
Honestly, this is where Madden starts to lose me. The Connected Franchise Mode is pretty much the sole reason I play Madden. I like playing in my online league against my friends. It’s a fun and challenging way to keep Madden fresh. Yet EA Sports failed to give major enhancements to the Connected Franchise Mode. They let me down. Instead, they put more energy into Madden Ultimate Team. Madden Ultimate team is pretty much a cash cow that EA uses to capitalize of the popularity of fantasy football. I can’t tell you how good the mode is because I don’t play it. I rather not spend money buying players to use for five games just to spend more money on more players. They should have put more energy into the franchise mode. It looks to me as if they barely touched it. In fact, outside of improving the graphics and minor gameplay improvements, not much has changed for the hardcore gamer.
With all that being said, I know it sounds like I’m whining and complaining; I hear you. Madden NFL 15 is a good game. It’s a game that if you love football, you will very much enjoy. I’m not saying it’s a bad game. No, what I’m saying is that this game could be, and should be better. EA Sports has gotten lazy putting out their best effort, and we as fans continue to get a lackluster game. I will buy the game, I will enjoy the game, but what I won’t do is give EA any praise for continuing to coast on the development of their NFL video game franchise.
- A more realistic rushing attack with the running back
- Improvement on deep passes
- More realistic defensive zone coverage
- Defensive pass rush improved
- Presentation still lags behind what we saw ten years ago
- Lack of improvement to Connected Franchise
- Too much emphasis on Madden Ultimate Team