With another year comes another Madden, but what is special about Madden 15? It is the first Madden made specifically for the Xbox One and PS4. So the question is does all this new tech lead to an improved football sim or another disappointing Madden season?
On the presentation front, it is a definite yes. Pregame, half time, and post-game shows have been added to make it feel more like an NFL broadcast. The graphics look fantastic, you can almost see individual blades of grass, players have little details like tattoos, and the style of equipment they wear. The animations look smooth, and tackles no longer have crazy glitches or weird hiccups. At times you could mistake it for a real NFL game. Sound is where things are mixed; while crowd noises, hits, and on field sound effects are the best they have ever been, the color commentary on the other hand is still garbage. What is worse is not only is the color commentary garbage, the post-game, pregame, and half time shows all have the same level of awful commentary. So you have the most realistic looking football game ever, with wonderful on the field sound effects and crowd noise, all somewhat spoiled by awful commentary. That said it doesn’t completely spoil what should be a treat for the senses.
When it comes to gameplay all the modes are back with some minor changes to each. The biggest changes this year are to the core gameplay. The improvements to AI makes it so defenders and receivers act correctly in coverage and defensive backs will actually jump routes. Size matters, so bigger receivers will use their size to beat short defenders. The offensive line almost acts like a real offensive line, blocking as team, pulling at correct depth, and going to second level.
On defense, the defensive line has been given an option to jump the snap, use different moves at the right time to beat the offense, and is just generally more fun to play than ever before. Then a new tackle mechanic has been added so when a defender is going for a ball carrier if you hit the button at the right time you do a full wrap tackle and bring them to the ground.
The other improvements are pretty minor; more in depth playbooks, game prep in Connected Careers (basically just selecting things on a menu for short term gain or long term), and tuning to the passing allowing you to lead receivers almost anywhere you want to lead them as long as your quarterback can make that throw. It all adds up to make the core football experience the best it has been in years.
Madden NFL 15 on the PS4 and Xbox One is the best Madden in years. There are still some problems though. Color commentary is weak, the interface could be better, and I personally miss having licensed music in the menus. That said it is also one of the most realistic, entertaining, well-made football sims around.
Final Score: 8.5/10