Madden 15 (PS4) Review
Sean Gibson / Sep 3rd, 2014 No Comments
Madden is back on the PlayStation 4 with Madden 15, touting better graphics, improved gameplay, and huge advancements on the defensive end. The second incarnation of the Madden franchise on the PS4 promises to make positive leaps based on the lessons learned from Madden 25.
The good news for football fans is that there is little doubt that Madden 15 isn’t just the best looking football game ever made, it’s one of the most visually brilliant video games released for new-gen consoles. Between the transcendent graphics and markedly improved gameplay, Madden 15 is the true evolutionary leap football fans have been waiting for.
Madden 15 – Major New Features
As with every new edition of Madden, there are improved graphics, better Artificial Intelligence (AI), and updated rosters. While those upgrades are a given, a lot of attention was given to improving the defensive play in this year’s version of the game. Some of the more impactful new features include…
Cycling Camera – Using the D-Pad, players can cycle through a variety of camera angles on both sides of the ball. This comes in handy during different situations during the game, including where the ball is placed and what down it is. The feature is at its best during goal-line situations where a QB has to make split-second decisions.
Pass Variety – In previous installments of Madden, the quarterback would either throw accurately or bizarrely off. Historically, this led to mobile quarterbacks with good arms dominating games, even if there was a significant skill difference between their real-life counterpart (see Geno Smith). Now, quarterback accuracy is affected by movement and pressure, with throws ranging in accuracy instead of the Boolean outcome.
Zone Coverage Improvement – Previously, zone coverage could be carved up and even the best cornerbacks could be taken advantage of. Zone play has been enhanced so that secondary players, specifically corners, read the quarterback with stunning accuracy. Cornerbacks react to throws as soon as the quarterback squares up to throw, meaning a good corner (i.e. Patrick Peterson in our experience) will snipe just about any throws for a pick-6. While it will feel ridiculously overpowered at first, players can no longer get away with bad throws near an elite corner. Just take Richard Sherman’s advice and don’t disrespect him, because he WILL make you pay.
Defensive Line Improvements – The line of scrimmage has been improved with several new features. There’s a new “Just the Snap” feature that makes coming off the line almost a mini-game. Players are presented with immediate feedback (too late, perfect, etc) and can press an additional button for added strength to get through a blocker. Disrupting the line has been given new gameplay mechanics so players can more easily shed blocks. It makes playing as a defensive lineman or a blitzing linebacker much more engaging.
Gameplay has been drastically changed from the defensive side of the ball. Players will no longer be punished for taking over as a safety or corner, while those that prefer playing as a lineman or a linebacker will be rewarded. The control system for all defensive players has been improved to the point where players should feel much more engaged on both sides of the ball.
On the other side of the football, a price has been paid. Elite cornerbacks such as Patrick Peterson and Richard Sherman are simply superhuman. Much like in real football games, players should totally avoid throwing to their side of the field. On comeback routes or anything long, superior corners will react incredibly fast, get a break, and have a pick-6 in the blink of an eye.
The realism of the playbooks is still outstanding, translating into great gameplay on the field. Running backs still perform much the way they did in previous Madden versions, assuming players take into account some of the controls for jukes, all of which can be learned in a fun and interactive way via the Skills Trainer.
The significant game modes, specifically the Connected Franchise mode, will earn the major bulk of the time spent in the game, with so much depth it is hard to fathom an individual fully realizing everything that Madden can offer. Most online play will likely involve finding a random opponent and playing a game, but hardcore players should form or join an Online Connected Franchise. A new game mode feature, called The Gauntlet is a fairly entertaining and insanely addictive way to improve Madden skills.
Graphics and Sound
Madden 15 not only boasts the best graphics that the franchise has ever seen, but they rank as some of the best graphics seen on the PlayStation 4 to date. While much has been made of physics glitches that have made for some hilarious Vines, the truth is that there are some minor glitches that will be patched and fixed. Player models are outstanding, stadiums are picture-perfect, coaches finally look good and there’s really nothing that stands out as even pedestrian. It’s clear that graphics and menus were a focal point for improvement.
Playing Madden 15 on a Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound System or a headset with simulated 5.1 technology feels like being on the field. There is a tremendous audio experience in Madden 15, as players crash, crunch, bash, and slam into each other. Players on the sidelines and fans can be discretely heard during huddles and pre-snap activities.
As usual, Madden 15 features a great soundtrack, which is enjoyed most during time spent in the menus, Skills Trainer, and tending to your franchise. The play-by-play team of Jim Nantz and Phil Simms offers much of what they did last year and while it continues to improve, there is no major progress in this department. The broadcast team will continue to say the same things every single game and eventually become monotonous to the point where players will want to turn off commentary completely.
Madden 15 on PlayStation 4 is the way football gaming was meant to be played. Both sides of the ball offer engaging, realistic controls and are coupled with gameplay mechanics that are easy to figure out but require some time to master. There is no question that Madden 15 is a gorgeous game with an excellent visual quality that really takes the franchise and all EA Sports titles to a completely new level.
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