Every year around this time we get to dig into the new Madden game. Over the last 8 years it has been for Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3, but this year we start off with the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 versions of the game to wet peoples appetite for NFL Football which is just around the corner kicking off on September 4th. So let’s dig in and have a look at Madden 15.
This year’s Madden focused a lot on defense and I am happy to say that once I got better at making play calls I could see the difference. A lot of my frustration so far with the game has to do with not really being able to stop the CPU passing, the developer claims to have made CPU passing more inaccurate but I just don’t see it, conversely however I can still pass quite well too, so there is not an unfair advantage but I was expecting more of a difference there in terms of passing efficiency. Maybe I have to screw with the sliders.
Other than that the game feels really good, it is a battle pretty much every game, I did 4 franchise games (which is why you see the Barons as one of the teams in the above screenshot) and I went 2-2, losing the first two and finally getting a little flow going the next couple of games, none of the games were blowouts in my experience, it made for some fun tight games but also some frustrating moments when you gave up a key first down or scoring drive.
On offense it is critical to capitalize, I found myself having multiple drives of 5 plus minutes, part of it was playing chickencrap football but the main reason was strategy, it slowed the pace down and it rested my defense. I found myself running quite a bit but I did mix in quite a few passes, I mean hell when you have a 99 rated QB you sort of need to use that skill-set and Blake Bortles did indeed have a spectacular skill set and a good complement of WR’s including Keenan Allen.
Overall the game played pretty smoothly, as I said earlier, my only real complaint was the CPU QB being to automatic, I will probably have to tinker with the settings to get the results I desire.
The graphics are stunning, it is amazing the difference a year makes for Madden. I thought the visuals in last years game were good on PS4 but I didn’t think that they were stellar, but once you enter Madden 15 into the discussion and see it on your TV you should be blown away with how good this game really looks, seeing it on a computer just does not do the game any justice in my opinion.
Connected Franchise Mode
Here is a mode that I love to play, I love the aspect of building a team from disaster to winner, as you will see in the screen above, I won the 2019 Super Bowl with the Brooklyn Barons, or if you will the New York Giants that I relocated.
It was a rough road to start because despite winning 2 Super Bowls the Giants have become somewhat of a mess over the last year or so and the ratings on the team reflected as such. So what I did was I pretty much went into rebuild mode, after unsuccessfully trying to trade 79 rated Eli Manning, I ended up releasing him and starting the young back up but he never really developed into anything. As I mentioned in the gameplay section I ended up paying a steep price to acquire Blake Bortles from the Jacksonville Jaguars, but it was the piece I felt I needed to bring in once I moved to Brooklyn, N.Y. to continue my journey to deliver the Tri-State area a Super Bowl Championship, God knows the clown show called the Jets weren’t going to do it!
All Jets bashing aside, CFM is a really good experience. Not much has changed but the few changes that were made seem to be a nice step forward. For example, the new Game Prep feature is a nice step forward because you can gain experience points for a young player, improve the confidence of a player, and/or go into a drill and work hands on with a player you might be trying to develop.
The Game Prep feature can be simulated but I find that if I want to develop a young QB I need to manually go in and assign my coaches to work on him only otherwise the development will go slow, another hurdle at that point was probably team confidence because we were a losing team for awhile (which is a good reason to turn off coach firing) so I think the losing trumped development some. I say this because later on I had to trade Bortles and as a carry over to the next draft (because the one that Bortles was traded before had no good QB’s) so I signed Nick Foles as a free agent and he was a 77 overall, at the end of the season my team went 16-0 and Foles was a 96 overall.
Another thing I was found of was the ability to hire and fire coaches during the season, I used this feature a couple of times to try to shake things up when the team wasn’t doing well even though I had a solid roster.
Overall though CFM feels a lot like the Madden 25 version but with a couple add ons, not the worst thing in the world but there is definitely room for improvement down the road such as the ability of hire/fire coordinators and position coaches, and in owner mode it would be nice to have the ability to select a custom color scheme for the created logos and pick from more than 3 uniform types.
From an offline gamers point of view Madden ’15 is a very solid game, especially for casual Madden gamers such as myself. Gameplay improvements on the defensive side of the ball is a nice addition, but you will probably need to use sliders to get what you want for balancing to your preference, as I said I don’t put too much time into Madden during a given year so the default settings are good enough for me to enjoy the game. If you know true football skills in Madden the defensive changes should be a nice change, but if you’re not an X’s and O’s type of player like me then you will definitely need to take a few games to make these defensive changes actually matter.
Connected Careers Mode is a good game mode overall, but with a little more depth it could be an absolutely amazing mode online and offline. Like I mentioned about the ability to hire/fire more staff members, and adding more in depth numbers in the financials could help the owner mode go a long way, and bring it back to the depth of the PS2/Xbox days when Owner Mode was flat out amazing.
Visually the game is a tremendous step from last year to this year, the winkles in the jerseys and the lighting add a new layer of visual appeal to the game.
If you are wondering if this game is enough of an improvement to buy from last year, I would recommend it, it is a very strong game all around. While it isn’t perfect it is a very strong foundation moving forward for a franchise that in the public eye has a lot of improve upon.