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There are a few constants in life: death, taxes, and Madden. Every year, without fail, brings us another iteration in the classic (and only) football franchise available on the market. This year is no different, and so Madden NFL 15 releases on nearly every console currently available: Xbox 360, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4. Sorry, Wii U fans, but you'll have to make due with last year's version, as the game isn't being released on your system. For this review, we're going to mostly concentrate on the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 versions due to these versions being the definitive version of the game.

 


Last year, Madden 25 on the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 was no slouch in the graphics department, but Madden NFL 15 manages to eclipse it by a wide mile. If you were to show this game off to someone who didn't know any better, they might swear it was a recap of the past week's football highlights. Character models are spot on to their real life counterparts, the stadiums come to life in amazing accuracy, and the shadows and lighting effects are truly outstanding. Electronic Arts realizes that presentation is one of the most important parts of the franchise and has spared no expense in making this game look truly realistic.
Unlike EA Sports UFC, which sacrificed gameplay for graphics, Madden NFL 15 only improves on the already solid gameplay systems in place. Of special note this year is the retooled defense system, with special emphasis on physics and camera angles. In most football games, the most exciting part is the offense, but with Madden NFL 15 we'll likely see a lot of players start to favor the defensive side of the game more.

All the fan favorite modes return in Madden NFL 15, such as Franchise and Connected Careers, but even these feature a few new additions. The most notable is the new Confidence statistic, which will determine how well your players perform depending on what happens. If a player fumbles a game winning catch in the previous game, expect his confidence to be shattered in the upcoming game. Likewise, if he catches a game winning catch, expect his confidence to rival the level of Richard Sherman post NFC Championship.

Online play returns, and it's what you'd expect: primarily lag-free gameplay with the same modes as previous years. If you enjoy online play (and who doesn't), you won't be disappointed here.
The theme of this review is “the same great gameplay with some much needed tweaks,” which is primarily true for the franchise on a yearly basis. Rather than overhaul its gameplay year after year, the Madden franchise wisely focuses on one area that fans feel is lagging and overhauls it. In Madden NFL 15, the focus was on defense, and the development team succeeded in finally making this a portion of the game worth playing.


If you're a football fan, or a Madden fan, you don't need this review: You've likely already made the decision to buy this game. However, if you're someone who felt that last year's version of the game was disappointing and not what you'd expect from a next generation game, know that Madden NFL 15 turns things around. Disregard the previous year's game and consider Madden NFL 15 the first true next generation football game: You won't be disappointed.

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