|System: Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS3, PS4|
|Dev: EA Tiburon|
|Pub: EA Sports|
|Release: August 26, 2014|
|Players: 1 (2+ Online)|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p|
by Jason Messer
EA looks to prove the best offense is a killer defense!
I don’t have to explain to you the long, storied history of a franchise like Madden, as I’m sure you already know all about it. Even if you’re not a football fan, the very name is an instantly recognizable presence in the game industry (as it has been for ages). While the fun factor has been there from the start (thinking back on the hours well spent with this series and my 16-bit Sega Genesis), Madden has always strived to push the envelope. Even after EA acquired the exclusive rights to the NFL brand, the franchise could have easily kicked up its feet and coasted on its previous accomplishments, churning out the same tired experience over and over (simply updating the player roster).
Fortunately for us, that wasn’t their plan. Striving to create the most realistic football-sim available was more their speed.
Each year, EA brings a new Madden to the table that tries to build on the strengths of its predecessor. Of course, I’m not saying their always successful, but I recognize when a company is legitimately putting an effort forth to innovate. That’s why the franchise has enjoyed such longevity. Sports fans (and Madden fans specifically) appreciate the intricacies of tweaking this rushing game here or adjusting that player’s stats there. The last release saw the celebration of the 25th anniversary in a big way, EA is back to business as usual with Madden 15 for the Xbox and the PlayStation!
The casual fan might get the impression that yearly releases in the same franchise could just run together. This is the challenge EA is posed with: how do they walk the line between innovation and familiarity? After all, hardcore fans often live inside a certain comfort zone, so flipping the script too much could result in some very unhappy campers. In 15, EA looks to the presentation as an area of improvement. Hoping to give the virtual experience a more real-world flair, a recent press release touts that we’ll “…experience an entirely new broadcast presentation that delivers Madden NFL game day like never before with dramatic all-new camera angles, as well as dynamic pre-game and halftime features. It’s not just football, it’s Madden Season.”
Also, a new focus on improving both the pre-game and half-time shows hopes to immerse gamers a bit more. By featuring actual clips from the action on the field (and tying it together with focused commentary and a killer highlight reel) fans should feel as connected to the gameplay as if they were watching SportsCenter on a Sunday afternoon.
While improved camera dynamics and killer half-time content is great, the real tale of tape will be told on the gridiron itself. Enhanced tools and play mechanics are what really set each new version of Madden apart from its previous iterations, and 2014 looks to bring a slew of fun goodies to the field. If you enjoy shutting down your opponents on the defensive side of things, this year you’ll have several new toys to play with! Players will have the ability to choose between “Aggressive” or “Conservative” tackles on the fly. Although the latter means you are much more likely to engage the ball carrier, being aggressive rewards you with things like fumbles or your opposition losing yardage. However, the stakes are higher and so is the risk, which can sometimes force players to consider if their gamble is worth it.
Plus, the new Skills Trainer is a step in the right direction of making this iconic franchise more accessible to casual fans. Figuring out which plays to run or what direction to line up your defense can be a daunting task for someone who’s not a seasoned pro. However, Madden 15 will walk you through real-life football fundamentals, and then allow you to test your newly acquired knowledge in a gauntlet of challenges and boss battles. If that’s not enough, they will even provide an extensive database of plays and formations (based on the field positioning at the time), which you can pull from in order to ensure certain victory!
This will also be the second entry of the series to appear on both the current and previous generations of consoles. Naturally, the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 versions will no doubt push the limits of visual fidelity, Madden 15 is sure to offer the same level of depth on the aging 360 and PS3 as well. Even though we still have baseball season to finish up first, it’s never too early to break out the tailgating gear and warm up with the old pigskin.
August 26th (the game’s official release date) is right around the corner!
Date: June 9, 2014