Madden NFL 15 feels like a reboot for the series. Defence, which previously felt like a time to check text messages and emails, now becomes an integral part of play.
Being able to battle at the line of scrimmage to try desperately to get a sack really adds impetus to every snap. Rather than simply leaving it to the AI to duke it out for possession, the player now becomes an important part of the action. The only issue is that unless you're playing on All-Madden, sacks are far too frequent, but hopefully a patch can address this.
There's been a high barrier to entry in the Madden series, but 15 comes with an excellent tutorial that even well-versed players could learn a thing or two from. Not only does it teach basic controls, but also more in-depth concepts like reading defensive set-ups. It's a great addition that'll have you feeling like a true tactician rather than randomly hitting X, Y or A.
Coupled with this is the great new community play selection. Offensive or defensive plays are offered based on the context, drawing data from both community and AI behaviour. Your choice of three plays will be accrued based on opponent tendencies and community popularity, both of which will show you their success percentage and the average yards gained. It incorporates the SmartGlass features included in Madden NFL 25 in a much more seamless way, meaning you no longer select plays based on whether they're simply "man", "zone", or "blitz".
Persistent issues of the series sadly remain. Commentary still sounds disjointed and forced, the player impact engine frequently results in hilarious collisions, and online stutters too frequently for a game released in 2014. Progress has been made, but there's still plenty for EA to sort out.
Madden NFL 15 is an excellent return to form for the series. Yes, it's still plagued by legacy issues, but the leaps taken on defence, coupled with the spiffy new graphics and excellent gameplay, make this an essential purchase for longstanding fans and a great starting point for players looking to jump on board.
Version Tested: Xbox One.