Madden 15 Review Part 1: Presentation and Gameplay

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Developer: EA Tiburon

Publisher: EA Sports

Platforms: PS4 (Version Reviewed), Xbox One, PS3, Xbox 360

Release Date: August 26th

Madden 15 from Electronic Arts has been out for just over a week now. That has provided enough play-time to deeply explore all of its modes and everything the game has to offer. In this multi-part review, all aspects of the game will be covered from every glorious NFL camera angle.


Load up Madden 15 and pictures of Seattle’s starting secondary will grace your screen while the game loads. Cornerback Richard Sherman may be on the cover, but then entire “Legion of Boom” gets equal billing inside the game.

The entire presentation of the opening graphics and menus are sleek and sharp, and free of most the annoying load-lag that plagued past versions of the game. The programmers finally seemed to have learned their lesson and are no longer letting menu animations stand between gamers and gameplay.

Once the game is loaded, you’re greeted by the voice of Carolina quarterback Cam Newton proclaiming that this version of Madden is the smartest game in franchise history. He’s correct in this statement, but more on that later.

The game then drops you directly into the skills trainer. Madden has had versions of this in the past, but this is clearly the best one they’ve put together. The early drills are tedious, like how to throw a lob pass vs. a bullet pass, but the football IQ of the drills slowly progresses up to a point where most football fans can learn something by playing through these drills.

This includes concepts like how to identify when the defense is in a particular defense like Cover-1, and how to attack it. Much like the in-game action, the concepts taught are pass-heavy, but they do a good job and are mostly true to the real NFL game.

As stated above, this truly is the smartest Madden ever created. Unfortunately, that isn’t saying as much as EA’s PR team would like it to. Madden has never been a particularly good simulation of the game of football. Being better than awful doesn’t necessarily mean that it is good.

Madden 15 is still clueless on zone-blocking concepts in the running game, defenses are still organized by right and left rather than by strong- and weak-sides of the formation, and the concept of a defensive sub-package is still an alien idea in Madden.

Overall though, this year’s Madden is a massive step in the right direction for the franchise, and it provides hope that the good people of EA Tiberon will eventually be able to refine their game into a true NFL simulation.

Next Page: Gameplay