Review: EA Madden 15

Alex Mazer

Madden 15 Review

In EA’s long line of annual football video games, its latest Madden 15 did not fail to impress.

Grades

Gameplay: 9.5/10

With the same controllers associated to gaming consoles, there’s limited flexibility in which developers can improve from year to year, but this was a fortunate exception.

The simple controls of stiff arm and dive remain constant, but the more complex ones like various jukes and shuffle steps were made much more accessible to the amateur player. Having the ability to make these moves with the already used analog stick eases the learning curve, as well as opens up more opportunities for them to lure in new customers.

My personal favorite upgrade from this year happened to not involve their controller at all, but the multiple available perspectives in which the game can be played. Users now have the ability to play from angles 10°, 20°, 40°, 60°, the classic 90° overhead, and the newest: a 45° side-view. The innovative 10° outlook gives players the opportunity—especially on offense—to have the ground-view that the actual players have during games, making the gameplay much more realistic.

MaddenNFL15_03 Madden-NFL-15-announcement Gameplay Screenshots

 

Graphics: 6/10

This grade is misleading, so do not value it highly, but in a sport where most is broadcasted from an overview perspective, there’s a limit to how sharp their graphics can be.

When playing, it’s easily possible to depict the faces of players and distinguish them by factors other than their jersey numbers, but compared to the face definition of EA’s counterparts like NBA 2K, they’re on a completely different level. In attempt to exhibit a third dimension with distance, Madden often blurs out the closer player, offering an extremely unrealistic viewpoint of the scene.

I do commend Madden for trying to bypass that inadvertent issue with their incorporation of player introduction video clips. There, a brief, high definition clip of a team’s best player is shown, analogous to what an actual NFL broadcast would feature.

Ultimate Team: 7/10

Madden is known for their ultimate team game mode, allowing users to basically turn their trading cards into a unified team that can actually be played with in games.

This was Madden’s trademark, its legacy that nobody else could match—which NBA 2K attempted and failed miserably. Except, they cease to make progress or deter from the negative path they’re heading in.

Formatting-wise, MUT (Madden Ultimate Team) did its job with continued augments in organization, but that’s really where the compliments end. Playing this game for about a month now, I came to understand that if I did not pre-order the game—which gives $15 worth of MUT cards—then my team would be stuck in turmoil. I managed to have some excessive luck with those promotional cards, allowing me to increase my team’s overall rating to an 86, and it has stayed there since. Once one reaches the 86 mark, there’s no room to improve without the use of additional cash investments into the game. Even with some luck in purchasing packs with saved coins, auctioning off that player results in only a 90% return. Why? Madden implemented their own auction tax… on imaginary MUT currency!

That’s the point, that they’re basically asking for criticism.

Connected Franchise: 8/10?

As eloquent as this new name sounds, it’s simply the name for their season mode.

Madden will continue to earn such high ranks on this mode for the sheer purpose of how flexible it is. I personally am a MUT loyalist, but the option to play as a single player—created or existing—coach, or owner is certainly appealing.

This is basically Madden’s safety line. If nothing in their new game exceeds expectations, then they’ll always have this simple mode as a punch line. There’s few aspects in which errors can be made here, so Madden needs to take note of their successes and understand that sometimes less [changes] is more, and simplicity can actually be best.

Overall: 7.7/10

Madden is a great football video game, the best on the market, but their inadvertently low graphics will always keep their overall rating a sub-8.

I personally wait all year for the release of the next Madden, but no game is perfect and this one certainly fits that moniker.

Word of advice: Madden, stick to what you were good at in the past and continue developing that, there’s no need to test new ideas on a mature fanbase.