It’s great being a Seattle Seahawks fan at the moment, we’re Super Bowl champions, we got off to great start in our first game (though we lost our second) and generally things are pretty good, so it was great joy that Madden 15 fell my way complete with the Legion of Boom gracing the home screen.
After really enjoying Madden 25, I was looking forward to seeing the updated rosters and how the new gameplay features would improve upon the last game. The biggest change you’ll notice if you have played the previous games is that the defence had has some great change made to it. Being able to swap the camera round so you have the defence in front of you is great because you can get a much better of view of what’s going on with your team. For those with quick reaction there is a mini game that involves pressing the right trigger when the play is made and you feel the vibration, which can help give you that extra time to go for the QB, if you get blocked you’ll have one more opportunity to get past the offense by pressing the corresponding prompt that comes up on screen.
I didn’t notice any real change in terms of the offence, but there is a subtle new feature that can prove quite useful, Tempo changes allow you to alter the how quickly your team responds to the play clock, trying to wind down time to protect a win? Then you can ‘Chew the Clock’ to hold breaking your huddle until as late as possible, the opposite gives you the option to have no huddle and get through your plays as quickly as possible. The playcalling as had some interesting changes made to it to, especially if you like your stats. While choosing your next play you will get to see some historic data showing things like how many times you have called the play or the average amount of yards gained by the community using that play. As in previous games the playbook is full of combinations of plays based on formation, player types, or if you want to play it safe you can go with the Coach Suggestions.
As much as I love to watch the football and to play Madden I’ll admit that I’m trying to learn the different plays and even some of the terminology, and if you are in a similar position I fully recommend spending some time with the Skills Trainer in Madden 15. You’ll play through all sorts of drills teaching you the basics of tackling right up to learning how to read different plays, if you are prepared to take your time learning your way through this mode you’ll be a much better player for it. There is also a great new mode called gauntlet, which will give you challenges to try and complete. They start of quite simple, making a specific type of play while outnumbering the defence, but every 5 levels you’ll come across a ‘boss’ level which will throw you a complete curveball like trying to score a 90 yard field goal in hurricane speed winds, or running through a media scrum while your team try to tackle you. It’s very much luck of the draw as to what type of challenges you’ll come across, and you’ll have 5 lives so there is some room to make mistakes. The best I’ve managed is level 24, but I’m confident I could beat it if I practiced!
Visually the game is as good as you expect from an EA Sports title, the stadiums look great and the crowd finally look like a crowd of individual people. The lighting effects are superb, it’s most noticeable on players wearing visors and when it’s raining but overall the presentation is excellent. There are still glitches with players, the ragdoll effects are still odd at times and Tiny Titan has made a name for himself in the past few weeks, even getting a game mode out of it. It doesn’t have any negative affect on the gameplay which is the most important thing, but tis something that will need addressing for the next Madden release.
Madden Ultimate Team returns to Madden 15, for those that don’t know this mode allows players to pick their team, collect their favourite current and past NFL players, and upgrade their squad to create their fantasy team. You can purchase packs of players, coaches, playbooks, stadiums, and more with coins they earn by competing with other players online or by completing single player challenges. EA have given the mode a spring clean to make things easier to navigate and make things a bit simpler for newbies like me. When you begin MUT you’ll choose a team to determine your home and away jerseys as well as the stadium before choosing a play style for the team. Play Style is a key element of MUT team construction. As you gain more players that fit your chosen Play Style, your team will receive a ratings boost to certain stats. Much like FIFA Ultimate Team this is one of those modes that will make you lose hours of your life and it’s great.
All the old modes such as the Connected Franchise and Head to Head play are still there and are well worth your time. Year on year Madden has got better and better and this year’s effort is the most enjoyable and accessible yet, the skills trainer is excellent and MUT is a whole world of fun. If I haven’t done enough to convince you how good it is why not check out the 6 trial on EA Access, you might surprise you self!
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