As technology continues to evolve, video game designers push the envelope of realism. When it comes to our sports games, we want authenticity. That means virtual reality versions of the players we know and love that look and perform like their real-life counterparts.
The Madden series has managed to stay popular since its first release in 1988. Developer EA Sports has sold more than 100 million copies of the yearly series, generating over $4 billion in revenue.
According to Forbes Magazine, Madden 15 was the second best-selling game of 2014. Despite the high sales and popularity, many hardcore fans feel the developers have gotten lazy.
EA sets out to create a realistic sim that is in-depth enough for the biggest fan – but easy enough for the casual one.
Attention to detail.
Before pressing start, you are greeted by Giants star wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. The virtual counterpart of this year’s cover star is an exact replica of what you see on Sundays. From tattoos, to hair to his signature “Whip” celebration dance – it’s all in the game. EA has done a great job of making sure that players look, move and feel like they should. Signature styles and traits are fully represented – the throwing style of Phillip Rivers is completely different from that of Tony Romo.
Commentary by Jim Nance and Phil Simms will force you to mute your TV. You will hear the same lines repeated throughout games, and they fail to recreate the action on the field.
For those new to the series, Madden offers several in-depth tutorials to help you get familiar with controls. Madden features several modes that will keep you entertained – whether you are home alone, or have a full house.
Fan favorite Ultimate Team mode allows you to create a team using card packs of low rated players, and build your team through earning coins that land you better cards. This year the Auction House is introduced, allowing you to purchase and sell players. It helps to speed up the process of creating a team that suits your playing style.
Madden is tackling Fantasy football in its newest mode, Draft Champions. Players are thrown into a 15 round draft were they are forced to make tough decisions. Do you draft a star running back first? Do you pick a defense before a go-to receiver? With the option to draft stars of the past, it creates plenty of on-field possibilities. Compete against the CPU tournament style or go head to head with players online.
For old-school fans that just want to take their team to the Super Bowl, Connected Franchise mode has been improved. Off the field, everything is in your hands – whether you choose to be a player, coach or an owner. On the field, goals are set for every drive of every game. Meet your goals and you will be awarded with points to improve players.
On the field, the physics engine has been improved. Blocking is given a major overhaul, as players no longer take up space. Footwork is smoother, and player’s move like their real counterparts.
This year the passing has been tweaked, introducing catches being dictated by pressing one of three buttons. It’s up to you whether you want to go for a big catch, be conservative or rack up yards after the catch.
The biggest problem in the game is the Aggressive Catch feature. No matter their rating, receivers almost always catch the jump ball, no matter how contested. It is enough of a problem that EA will be releasing a patch.
Tackling is still a major problem, as momentum does not play a part in direction of tackle or fumbles. Bodies collide like rag dolls – and after the whistle players just lay dormant for seconds at a time.
For every complaint about Madden, there are several improvements. Daily updated rosters and tuning will keep the game fresh for months to come. There is enough variety in game modes to keep you entertained on and off the field.
With the NFL season now underway, gamers have a treat in one of the best installments ever of the Madden franchise.