Replay Value:
Online Gameplay:
Overall Rating:
EA Sports
Number Of Players:
Release Date:
August 26, 2014

Football must be one of the trickiest sports to realistically depict in the world of interactive entertainment. There’s such a wide variety of player types on the field, each with distinctly different jobs, and if even one element feels off, the production will feel incomplete. Even when the developers make great strides in one area, there’s always room for improvement; it’s just so complex. The latest entry in the long-running Madden franchise addresses a few lingering issues and enhances the game’s cosmetic appeal, but 100% authenticity still eludes us.

Each player is meticulously designed and depicted, and the added effects are excellent. You can see the sweat on a player’s brow, and many of the players boast excellent animations that reflect their athletic prowess and style. Toss in those wonderfully detailed and atmospheric stadiums, plenty of vibrant color and the TLC given to each competitor, and you’ve got a well-rounded and impressive technical presentation. It’s not all roses, though. For instance, there’s still some clunky movement and the occasional clipping issue when players get all jammed up together.

On the audio side, we once again receive great commentary and a kickin’ soundtrack that fits the football milieu. Some of that in-depth commentary, while appreciated and often impressive, can suffer from inaccuracies, but that’s to be expected. Announcers are a big part of watching football on television and with advanced technology, they play an equally large role in the virtual world. The on-field effects are top-notch as well, as there’s a distinctive crispness to the harder hits, and we appreciate the ambient sounds that turn any stadium into a living, breathing organism on game day.

Last year’s anniversary title, Madden NFL 25 , was a solid football simulator but it had several problems. It was an inconsistent and mildly disappointing production that had some glaring flaws, especially on defense. On top of which, the mechanics simply felt dated. With Madden NFL 15 , we get a more cohesive game that addresses a few of last year’s issues: First up is the defensive overhaul, to which EA Sports has frequently alluded in previous months. This is undeniably the highlight of the new installment and a big step forward for the franchise.