Madden 15: Defense Wins Championships
Madden 15 has hit the streets and we had the chance to pick up the sticks and try it out. The smooth game play, incredible graphics, and updated rosters that you expect with a new iteration of Madden are all there. Richard Sherman is gracing the cover this year and it’s clear to see that defenses are taking control of the game.
The Defense is Stout
In previous editions of Madden, most of the advantages were given to the offense. Receivers could usually beat press coverage. Offensive lineman would easily pancake Pro Bowl-caliber defenders. In Madden 15, defenses are smarter and work together better than they ever have before. You can even disguise coverages.
You can also shift the camera angle to your perspective and lock onto a selected defensive player. This is fantastic for those 3rd and long plays where you need to take control of the best lineman on your team and get after the opposing quarterback. There are also exciting new pass rush tools that can help you jump the snap and beat your assigned blocker.
When taking control of a defender, you’ll notice a new proximity cone that can help you judge whether you should take a chance on leveling a big hit to force a fumble or just settle for the safe tackle. We did notice that defenders don’t have the sticky hands that they’re known for in Madden. There were at least 6 dropped interceptions in one of the games we played. However, the pass defense reaction time can be adjusted in the game play sliders.
Learn the Skills
Have you ever had trouble reading a zone-blitz defense? With the new Skills Trainer, you can learn about play calling strategies and how to read an opposing team’s offense or defense. This is especially helpful against teams that run complex defensive schemes or read-option offenses.
This is also a great way to learn your team’s strengths and weaknesses by preparing new game plans for your Connected Franchise each week. The passing drills are great for learning what your QB can do in the passing game. Quarterbacks don’t have the game-breaking arm strength and accuracy that they did in years past; so it is crucial to avoid mistakes and know where you can hit your spots.
The Right Players in the Right Situations
This year, we noticed that there is a major difference between elite players and those who are just average. During our game, Jamaal Charles was able to wiggle through smaller gaps and always seemed to fall forward after contact. Trent Richardson, however, would usually go down after contact and didn’t fight for extra yards. Quarterbacks who can accurately throw on the run are also extremely difficult to defend and make stick throws with ease.
Play calling has also gone through an upgrade with the new crowd-sourced recommendations. You can now pull information from the Madden community and find out what plays are called most often and carry the highest success rate. This is especially useful for finding that perfect play call against a look that you haven’t seen before. It flows well with the game action and will continue to offer more detailed information as the season goes on.
With a renewed emphasis on defense and smooth next-generation game play, Madden 15 has everything you could ask for from a sports game. If you’re playing solo, the revamped AI offers a new challenge against the computer. You can also play online against your friends and compete in leagues that last all season long. There is an enormous amount of replay value with the Connected Franchise and Madden Ultimate Team. So take control of your favorite team, prepare your game plan, and bring home a championship with Madden 15.
I’d to extend a special thanks to Troy Lehan for helping with this post and for handing me my first loss of the season.