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Review: Madden 16

Aug 25 // Steven Hansen
Madden NFL 16 (PlayStation 4 [reviewed], Xbox One, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360)Developer: EA TiburonPublisher: EA SportsReleased: August 25, 2015MSRP: $59.99 Madden 16 makes an interesting opening gambit, once again going right into a game, this time a fabricated Super Bowl 50 starring the Cardinals and Steelers. No one wanted to watch that match up seven years ago (except me because of the Kurt Warner), but EA insists on framing this nostalgia-less, fake match up with Any Given Sunday editing, close ups on players, and even tepid, badly-acted football dialogue, the kind of jawing written by someone who has not played sport.  Fuck, is it boring. It introduces new (very simple) catching mechanics in painful slow motion setting up situations (oh, one of the teams is trailing!) we're supposed to have emotions in, like I have any stake in Fake Super Bowl 50, like I'm supposed to feel something when alleged rapist Ben Roethlisberger (who narrates later tutorials) tells his mates, "It's time to be the team we're supposed to be right now. Believe in the man to your left and to your right. It's our time right now" like he's reading commercial cue cards. At least the San Jose 49ers' digital Levi's Stadium field hasn't turned to pudding like the real one. This is what Madden is, though. In past years I have creatively ripped on the series for aggressive advertisements of real-world products, which this one seems to have toned down significantly (unless they're coming dynamically as updates post launch). But! Madden is a yearly advertisement for the NFL. From the start menu it encouraged me to share my information with the NFL, promising digital playing cards as a reward. This is what it means to have exclusivity rights to the only meaningful football league (because no one internationally gives a shit), the commodification of players. It is cool to see the increased likeness of Arizona's head coach whose fascinating neck folds and face-scanned pores have him looking like a corrugated version of Dana Carvey's turtliest member of the turtle club. [embed]307755:60128:0[/embed] In 2006 (that would make it Madden 07) I distinctly remember when I fell into the habit of abusing slot receivers instead of number one and number two wide receivers. This meant a lot of balls to the perfectly serviceable Kevin Curtis instead of two of the greats, Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt. The worst thing about those slot receiver posts, or crossing routes over the middle, has always been linebackers undercutting the passes for picks. Here is the scenario: a player looks reasonably open for a pass. It is a pass any NFL quarterback could make. It is a pass I, an idiot with bad knees, could make. You throw it with a nice arc over the front defensive layer and before the safeties. Madden has never wanted to give you that pass and it has taken near 10 years for the series to introduce "touch passing," a double tap that lets you drop balls into open zones. Ten years. Low and high throws are executed by holding L1 (high) or L2 (low) while passing. The passing game has seen the most new features added this year. Aside from the aforementioned quarterback stuff, there are three types of catches, done by holding one of three buttons while the ball is in the air en route to the receiver. The Aggressive catch (triangle) is for leaping catches and bodying cornerbacks. RAC (square) encourages the player to make a catch in motion and continue running up field, provided they're not about to be clocked. Possession catches (x) are for keeping feet in-bounds or making sure the receiver hangs on to a first down. These useful buttons encourage more user interaction during catches and also speak to a refined interplay between defensive backs and receivers. On the other side of the ball, you can have defenders play the ball (hold triangle) to go for an interception or deflection, or more conservatively play the receiver (hold x) to ensure you make a tackle and possibly knock the ball from them. There is much more realistic jockeying for body position and faithful physics so long as you don't stare too closely at the instant replays. Eventually you'll notice some similar, more dramatic catch animations (a particular one-handed one stuck out), but it is a plus on the whole for verisimilitude, for giving weight and feeling to awesome athletes interacting in a confined space. That's about it, though. There are some neat presentation additions (statistic graphics overlaid on players) and the menus are well laid out, though they are also pretty slow. Load times, too, are still a bit of a problem (and intrusive presentation elements are bothersome when running a hurry up offense). The insistence towards microtransaction-laden Ultimate Team and the new fantasy football-cribbed Draft Champions modes is useless. Throwing, catching, and defending throws have seen some welcomed, long-ignored additions that get a couple yards closer to faithful simulation. You can decide if that's enough. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]
Madden reviewed photo
Mildly deflated
I do feel, some, for Electronic Arts and the people responsible for making Madden every year. This is only my 4th year (out of  27 releases) covering it and I fear I may have peaked with last year's review. But like a fr...

Madden 16 photo
Madden 16

EA goes way over the top to promote Madden


We didn't see this coming
Aug 21
// Brett Makedonski
EA Sports' promotion of Madden has largely been the same for years now. Gameplay trailers, new features, interviews with developers -- we've been there and done that. This is different. This is...weird. And, kind of amazing....
NHL 16 photo
NHL 16

Patrick Kane taken off NHL 16 cover during sexual assault investigations


No new cover announced
Aug 12
// Brett Makedonski
Chicago Blackhawks star Patrick Kane has legal troubles, as he's the subject of a recent rape allegation. The incident allegedly took place at Kane's lakefront home in Hamburg, New York last week, though he has not yet been c...
FIFA 2016 photo
FIFA 2016

FIFA 2016's FUT Draft mode gets a trailer


Oh that banter what cheeky legends
Aug 05
// Joe Parlock
Want to see two footballers have some incredibly forced “top quality bants”? Want to have your soul ripped out of your eye sockets and fed to a swarming flurry of crows? Well don’t worry, EA has you covered...

gamescom photo
gamescom

'Xbox players love their fut' and crappy FIFA deals


Xbox One bundle, week early access
Aug 04
// Steven Hansen
That is FIFA Ultimate Team, the thing EA uses to somehow make more money than just releasing a new FIFA every year (two when it's a World Cup year). "FUT fans this is a deal for you." Xbox One folks get FIFA 16 one week early...
NHL 16 photo
NHL 16

NHL 16 goalie trailer shows none of the best things Patrick Roy ever did


Home of the Roypper
Jul 24
// Brett Makedonski
Goaltenders have exactly one job: tend to the goal. Don't let the puck hit the twine. Accomplish that through whatever means necessary. Force them to the glove side where you make web gems like Willie Mays. Flash the five-ho...
Madden tricks photo
Madden tricks

Madden 16 screenshots lie about Marshawn Lynch dick-grabbing mechanic


I'm just here so I don't get fined
Jul 23
// Steven Hansen
Madden 16 used the above photo for Marshawn Lynch in its running backs player rating reveal. He is, naturally, number one at 96 overall. He cannot, however, grab his dick in defiance, as he is wont to do in real life. Seriously, watch this.
Alongside Messi photo
Alongside Messi

Women's national team players grace FIFA 16 cover


Alongside Messi
Jul 20
// Steven Hansen
FIFA 16 marks a first for the series with its inclusion of women footballers in the form of 12 playable women's international teams from Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, England, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Spain, Swede...
NHL 16 photo
NHL 16

NHL 16 video shows off the literal small steps the game's taking


On Frozen Pond
Jul 15
// Brett Makedonski
Avalanche forward Nathan MacKinnon isn't always going to zoom up ice, spin around Blackhawk blue-liners, and leave Corey Crawford looking for his jock in the rafters. I mean, that'll happen a good chunk of the time, but not ...
PGA Tour photo
PGA Tour

I didn't know a golf trailer could be so annoying


Making me LMFAO TBH
Jul 06
// Brett Makedonski
Even with its new Battlefield infusion and nighttime mini-games, golf is mostly a low-key and quiet affair. Everyone stays really quiet and still; when something good happens, we'll all golf clap -- a really quiet and s...
EA Sports Trainwreck photo
EA Sports Trainwreck

EA Sports was the most cringeworthy thing at E3 thus far


But it's still early in the week
Jun 15
// Jed Whitaker
This is an actual tweet from an actor hired to be "Tha Hoop Gawd" by EA to pretend to be a celebrity during its conference. This was approved by someone at EA. Tha Hoop Gawd came on the stage to demo the GameFace app for NBA...

Battlefield found a way to infiltrate EA Sports' PGA Tour

Jun 15 // Brett Makedonski
Speaking with a PGA Tour representative, the publisher has plans to tie more EA franchises into the game. Coyly, the spokesperson said that the Battlefield course will be the only one that's available at launch. It's a fair bet that more courses themed after EA series will make their way into PGA Tour via paid DLC. For the time being, Battlefield is the only addition players will initially see. It might not be what we expected, but maybe EA needed to add a bit of irreverence to liven up its leading golf title. And, when you want to get back traditional golf, PGA Tour certainly has that in spades -- it's just sans explosions.  
PGA Tour photo
Well, that was unexpected
Golf has a reputation for being a stuffy game played by uptight, proper folks. After spending some time with Rory McIlroy's PGA Tour, we can safely say that the majority of it lives up to those expectations. However, there's ...

These are EA Sports' big focuses for Madden, FIFA, and NHL in 2015

Jun 15 // Brett Makedonski
Without a doubt, Madden is the EA Sports franchise that's been given the most attention over the years. It'd have been easy for the publisher to ask for some more subtle changes like even slicker presentation. To EA's credit, it's working out a new take on a gameplay staple -- a risky venture in an "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" culture of gaming. EA Sports has coined the term "Air Supremacy" for its Madden focus, and it begins at the position everyone starts with: Quarterback. There's greater control over the passing game now when helming a football team. Touch passes have been implemented to offer some variation in between lobs and bullets. The developers have altered how passers move on the run by using different animations for rolling out (yet looking for a receiver), and a full-on scramble. Maybe the biggest change to the quarterback position comes in the form of body positional passes. As an example, the presenter brought up the Seahawks' last offensive play in the Super Bowl this year. Russell Wilson threw a mid-body pass, and it was picked off. If he had thrown a low one (as he should have), the worst case scenario would've likely been an incompletion. With this installment of Madden, the player will have that sort of pinpoint control over every pass. However, passing is a two-way street, and no quarterback will put up Hall of Fame numbers without an apt receiving corps. Madden 16 also focuses on wideouts, as they can implement different styles to make catches. Maybe an ill-thrown pass calls for them to go up and challenge a defender for a ball. They likely won't gain many yards after the reception, but they might actually catch it (and more importantly, the chances of an interception go way down.) Or, maybe the situation is optimal for them to rack up some yards after catch. Do that, and pick up a first down. Those are just a few of the circumstances where Madden 16 lets you choose how to catch the ball after it lets you choose how to throw it. Lastly, ever eager to capitalize on the growing fantasy football trend, Madden 16 has a new fantasy mode. Draft Champions is a 15-round fantasy draft that allows you to build a team from all NFL players and play a full season. The publisher described this as the type of mode you might play if you had a couple hours to kill before you went to bed. The seasons are designed to go quickly, allowing you to draft an entirely new team relatively quickly after finishing one campaign. While Madden's focuses are easy to identify, FIFA 16's are a little more nebulous (apart from the women's national teams that were added.) They're centered around the player as the playmaker, but mostly in how all the surrounding pieces move. In a nutshell, EA Sports is upping the competency of FIFA's AI. It's improving positional defensive sense and how they defend as a unit. The goal (GOLAZO!!!) here is players have to be more strategic with their attack. Passing better be done with a purpose, or the opposition will just take the ball from you at midfield. But, working down the pitch and clinically finishing should feel like an actual accomplishment, one that sends you running and shouting toward a section of fevered supporters. This is the most difficult enhancement in the three games to recognize at a preview event. These are changes that define the very core of the sport. For instance, with Madden it's easy to play and realize "oh yeah, the quarterback is doing those things they said he would." It's not as simple with FIFA this year. If it's as improved as EA says, hardcore fans might recognize it, but more casual players might just think "Yeah, this is a good soccer game." As subtle as FIFA's intentions are, NHL's are far more brazen. It's eschewing the likes of physics and presentation for something else this year. Basically, EA's looking to add in a lot of the stuff that was inexplicably absent in NHL 15. Those who are dedicated to the series should be content, as long as they weren't too put off by last year's game. The most notable (re)addition to NHL 16 is EA Sports Hockey League -- an online competitive team mode that was quite popular. It was cut from NHL 15 due to "quality control," but it's back this year. Actually, EA's inclusion of several modes and features is a testament to the fact that it's listening to the fans (or to how awry the last game went). Also present are offline, single player Hockey Ultimate Team; simulating to the next shift in Be a Pro, along with playing a career beginning in the minors; and the ability to manage individual players in Be a GM. As it's moving beyond the growing pains of developing for new consoles, EA Sports is making strides with its hockey franchise. It sounds like NHL 16 will end up being the game NHL 15 should've been. It's just a shame it took an extra year. So, that's where EA Sports' intentions lie for Madden 16, FIFA 16, and NHL 16. They're all different in the varying degrees of change that needed to be made. Some, like NHL are more apparent, while Madden just moves a bit closer to that sim experience. But, they all look to be on track to be an improvement thanks to their one big focus.
EA Sports preview photo
EA Sports round-up!
Another year, another collection of EA Sports titles. EA's in a fortuitous position in that it has the video game rights to three of the five most popular athletics wrapped up. Demand for these games seemingly never wanes bec...

FIFA 16 photo
FIFA 16

FIFA 16 includes women's national teams (finally)


Four top players did motion capture
May 28
// Brett Makedonski
The FIFA video game series has been around for two decades, and in that time, it's been a boys only club. There's been outside pressure to reform, notably in 2013 when Spanish player Vero Boquete started a petition to u...
Madden 16 trailer photo
Madden 16 trailer

That Odell Beckham catch looks way less impressive in Madden 16


Another year another Madden
May 14
// Steven Hansen
In case you were concerned, yes, there will be a Madden this year. Madden 16, so expect it to feature a lot of One Direction and complain about how it wanted the 7 series BMW, not that poverty-lined 4 series. It seems the on...
Gawlful photo
Gawlful

EA's PGA Tour gameplay trailer is just as boring as watching real golf


Look at that grass, though!
Apr 24
// Brett Makedonski
Golfing is fantastic. Reckless cart driving, endless jokes about "ball washers," and your friend puking in the rough on the 14th hole because he's somehow on, like, his 14th beer. Swat a tiny sphere a few hundred feet every ...
Rory McIlroy PGA Tour photo
Rory McIlroy PGA Tour

Rory McIlroy replaces Tiger Woods on EA's PGA Tour


Rory McIlroy PGA Tour
Mar 17
// Steven Hansen
Tiger Woods' name has gone from being synonymous with golf to being a different kind of pop culture reference. I'm not even sure if he golfs anymore. I just know he shows up to places missing teeth. Of course, EA's PGA Tour ...
EA Vault photo
EA Vault

Madden NFL 15 latest EA Vault addition


Boom!
Mar 04
// Robert Summa
EA Access continues to prove itself worthy as Madden NFL 2015 has just been added to the current lineup of available games in the The Vault. It's a shame Sony turned down this service. Despite their concerns, it appears to be providing plenty of value -- at least it would for me.
NBA Live 15 photo
NBA Live 15

NBA Live 15 added to EA Vault


Kind of like when gramps gets shipped to a nursing home
Feb 24
// Robert Summa
Times have never been so low for those of us who love basketball and the games the sport inspires. While the NBA2K series may appear to be good enough for the majority, there is a growing minority that has become fed up with ...
EA Sports UFC photo
EA Sports UFC

It's now easier to unlock Bruce Lee in EA Sports UFC


Old-school cool via free download
Dec 23
// Jordan Devore
Martial artist Bruce Lee is in EA Sports UFC, somehow. You can play as him after besting Career Mode on Pro difficulty or higher, or instantly if you pre-ordered the game. Because money. That's how it was, anyway. Electronic ...
EA Access photo
EA Access

EA Sports UFC (and Bruce Lee!) joins EA Access on December 18


Seventh game in The Vault
Dec 11
// Jordan Devore
Damn. Started my last post about EA Access by admitting I keep forgetting the service exists, so it'd be poor form to do that again despite my continued forgetfulness. And now I've muddied this post by calling attention to th...
NHL 15 photo
NHL 15

NHL 15 predicts entire hockey season, probably gets it horribly wrong


L.A. Kings again?
Oct 01
// Brett Makedonski
EA Sports used NHL 15 to simulate and predict the upcoming NHL season which begins next week. The results are most likely terribly wrong because nowhere does it anticipate that the Colorado Avalanche will be crowned Sta...

Review: NHL 15

Sep 24 // Brett Makedonski
NHL 15 (Xbox One [reviewed], PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3)Developer: EA CanadaPublisher: EA SportsRelease: September 9, 2014MSRP: $59.99 The direction of EA Canada's focus on developing a hockey title for the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 is clear -- prioritize the actual game of hockey. Through a thorough revamping of the physics system, the action's more convincing than ever. With the puck acting as a puck and not a spherical ball, small quirky plays happen with regularity, such as a pass hopping over a forward's stick. Likewise, the new physics make their impact on the 12 players on the ice. Crashing the net has never been so fun, as the huge pileups can lead to plenty of sloppy scoring chances. It's also a joy to watch the goaltenders make save after save in differing fashion as they react to the chaotic nature of both the players and the puck. It's tough to estimate exactly how nuanced and deep this physics rehaul goes -- like if the boards at Joe Louis Arena are livelier than other rinks -- but it's enough to make a noticeable and constant impression. For all the work that's gone into physics, it'd be a moot point if NHL 15's AI didn't act like hockey players would. Fortunately, they do. Defensemen will almost always stay at home, making it incredibly difficult to go coast-to-coast alone. Forwards will immediately jump on the backcheck after a turnover, getting the headstart on regaining control. Everyone usually just feels like they're in the spot they should be. [embed]281559:55723:0[/embed] This AI competency means that there really isn't anything in the way of a consistent scoring glitch or strategy that I could find. Maybe wristers halfway into the attacking zone went in more often than they necessarily should, but there's no wraparound trick or one-timer combo that will almost always work. Despite its mostly spot-on gameplay, NHL 15 isn't without its occasional moments that remind you this is just a videogame. In Be a GM mode, I lost Gabriel Landeskog for an extended period of time, but not before he skated up-ice flawlessly and scored a goal immediately after the commentator declared that "he looks shaken up." Likewise, I once surrendered a penalty shot for an infraction along the wing, despite having another defenseman directly in front of the net. Moments like these are staunch reminders that even though the gameplay is good, it's still far from perfect. Really, the one thing that may go the furthest toward tying together NHL 15's illusion of "this is real hockey" is the presentation. Featuring a commentary team of NBC Sports' Mike Emrick, Eddie Olczyk, and Ray Ferraro, fans would be hard-pressed to ask for a better line-up calling the game (except for you, everyone in Canada). The beginning of each match-up starts with a "live broadcast" that genuinely makes each game seem more important than it really is. What's most impressive about the presentation is how in-depth and dynamic it is. The team will talk about different angles to the game, profile certain characters, or discuss who's on a recent hot streak. Even though you think you know what they're about to say, the commentary's almost always a surprise, as there's a bevy of lines for many situations. Adding to that effect is the mid-game contribution from Ray Ferraro, who's at ice level, and will periodically analyze a player's game, whether it's showcasing his big hits or chronicling his tremendous saves. Of course, this excellence in production translates to the visuals, as one would expect from a game on current consoles. Everything that's happening is sharper and more detailed. The player models look fantastic, and give plenty of reason to watch post-goal celebrations. When you watch the ice shavings as the goalie carves up the crease after an intermission, well, you get sort of nostalgic for that trademark hockey rink smell. But, for everything it does right on the ice, NHL 15 missteps horribly off-ice. This year's iteration is simply stunningly lacking in game modes and options, especially compared to NHL 14. Fans of the franchise will likely be affected in some way, as the list of things nixed is too great to ignore. Just as a sample, gone are EA Sports Hockey League, GM Connected, Winter Classic, Be a Legend, and regular old season mode. Those are just some of the greater examples. Even for the modes that remain, many are scaled back in inexplicable ways. For instance, in Be a Pro, it's no longer an option to simulate to the next shift. You're just forced watch mindlessly from the bench. Unfortunate enough to take a penalty? Then you might as well just go make a sandwich or take a restroom break. Be a GM is similarly stripped. For a mode that thrives on control, NHL 15 gives you next to none. The AHL affiliate teams have been done away with, and players in the minors don't accumulate any season stats -- they just sort of exist without any progress that you can control. There are no longer any goals to aim other than winning (I guess). Probably most egregious, the year-end draft is completely run by the CPU, and the preseason and fantasy drafts are gone. Predictably, the Hockey Ultimate Team mode is plenty intact. After all, EA looks at it as a central piece to making $1 billion from extra content this year. However, the only way to earn pucks now seems to be from playing online -- no longer picking up a few from time spent in singleplayer modes. Or, (as EA would surely like) just open up that wallet of yours. For what it's worth, EA's patching some of these missing features back into NHL 15. Already added are a playoff mode, coach feedback in Be a Pro, and the three stars of the game (how the latter was ever overlooked, I'll never know). Coming soon are online team play and the aforementioned ability to control the draft in Be a GM. That's the extent of the plans that EA has outlined thus far. It's all such a shame because at its heart NHL 15 is a very solid hockey game. It just doesn't do any of the non-hockey stuff right. Honestly, newcomers to the franchise might not even notice. But, series veterans would feel incredibly cheated. If nothing else, this is a great foundation for EA Canada to build on as it gets more comfortable developing for Xbox One and PS4. There are undoubtedly great things in the pipeline for the NHL franchise, but NHL 15 isn't a part of those plans.
NHL 15 reviewed photo
On-ice first star, off-ice distraction
With regard to sports games, the most important facet of any given title should always be the actual playing of the sport. That's how NHL 15 is. It mostly shines when you're on-ice, leading the charge through the neutral...

Soccer suckers photo
Soccer suckers

FIFA 15 PC glitch just runs everyone to the center of the pitch


Good job, EA
Sep 24
// Steven Hansen
FIFA 15, just released yesterday in North America and yet to be released in Europe and the UK, is already having some troubles. Maybe you're in luck if you buy it on Xbox One, PS4, Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, 3DS or Vita (and b...
Madden GIFerator photo
Madden GIFerator

We had entirely too much fun with the Madden GIFerator


No one uses this thing for trash talk
Sep 06
// Brittany Vincent
EA Sports had this crazy idea that sounded as though, in a perfect world, it just might work. They empowered football fans to create their own GIFs complete with player animations, backgrounds, and smack talk with an impossib...

Review: Madden 15

Sep 05 // Steven Hansen
Madden NFL 15 (PlayStation 4 [reviewed], Xbox One, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360)Developer: EA TiburonPublisher: EA SportsRelease: August 26, 2014MSRP: $59.99 It is interesting how strong perspective is at making Madden NFL 15 brought to you by Under Armor™ Dental Dams (Protect THIS house!) feel different. It's a trick, really. The new default camera zooms in and angles more towards your players' line of sight than Tim Tebow's God's bird's-eye view. Thankfully, the camera angles can be adjusted via the directional pad and you can go right back to that series standard view and think, "Good, things are familiar and that makes me feel safe." If you are feeling radical, though, try out the new defensive camera (while on defense) for a third-person, behind the back angle from your defender's point of view. I also recommend locking yourself as that player so as to avoid disorienting camera angles when you try to shift to a DB after a throw, unless you must get every hit yourself (fumbles are in vogue this year). Me, I mostly stuck to playing on football's best defensive line (St. Louis). Hitting sprint at the snap gives you an indicator of your timing ("perfect" or "late") and now you know one button is for finesse moves and to disengage, one button is for power moves. This new camera does make defense fun. Piling up three to five sack per game (with one player) is fun, though maybe cruel. [embed]280704:55570:0[/embed] The defensive view can gum up Madden NFL 15 brought to you by Tang™ (make SPACE in your pantry), particularly when opponents are running the hurry up. Rather than default to your last play (on offense or defense) and requiring you audible out, the hurry up zooms in on obscuring close ups of the quarterback and offers you three other plays (like the traditional play call screen), or the option to opt out and return to your original play. You have to pick one of these four options before you can see all the players lined up proper. Occasionally this led to, when I finally got back in position, the camera view switching back 180 degrees, which is disorienting. A couple times I found myself offsides. Small price to pay, though, for making defense fun. The close up perspective, combined with a tackle cone (like the QB vision cone, but good) also makes it easier to judge distance, not whiff on tackles, or effectively disengage a blocker to drag down a running back (or mobile QB).  The other thing Madden NFL 15 brought to you by Bengay Spermicide™ (Nukes the swimmers AND burns the glans!)  does right is offer a decent, albeit annoyingly branded Skills Trainer, which it forces you into immediately (though you can skip it). Combined with additional information on the play call screen (suggestions for what type of plays work against what types of defense, notes on how often team's run certain sets on certain downs and distances, etc), there's a decent attempt at teaching new players the systems, buttons and rules of football.  Then of course there are niggles and legacy issues. Defensive backs are turned up in the Richard Sherman era, making a lot of picks, especially undercutting shallow routes. This is partly because receivers (still) won't try to muscle toward the ball. The only time I remember one coming to the ball was when he was sitting -- completely uncovered -- in a curl route in the endzone. The one time I want a receiver to sit there and catch the ball, he ran out of the endzone (on 4th and goal) to catch the ball, locking me in an animation and leading him to get tackled before I could turn him back into the endzone.  The first thing I do in Madden brought to you by Verizon Wireless Prison Cells™ (Your inmates will be LOCKED IN to these plans!) is go into the settings and turn the commentary volume off because it is (still) horrible. At least it is a passive assault on the player. Worse is the forced pageantry, the "presentation" elements that slow the game for no reason. When I jump offsides, I don't need (or want) to see my player look grumpy for 7 seconds, and then the coach look angry for 5 seconds, and then the referee do stupid hand gestures for 13 seconds, and then the two possible results of the penalty for 6 seconds, and then an opposing coach look happy for 3 seconds, and then be asked to call another play. I just want to play a football game. Don't even show me replays. There's an Instant Replay feature if I want to see something again. Don't make me mash the X button and stare bug-eyed at whomever's in the room with me for 30 seconds until the stupid halftime pageantry is over. Halftime is one of the parts of football nobody likes because football isn't happening. Why don't you put a commercial after a touchdown, then another 15 seconds later after the 2 yard kick return while you're at it? (Please, don't.) NFL Blitz just had an Extra Point play that you'd press and it'd immediately say "Here's another point!" for a second and then the opposing team would already be receiving a kick off. You don't have to be that quick, but show some hustle. I'm sorry some underpaid, under stimulated artist had to realistically render Andy Reid's mustache bristles, but I don't ever want to look at him.  Madden NFL 15 brought to you by Crazy, Concussed Joe's Discount Corporate Billionaire Wig Refinery™ (We PASS the shavings onto you!) also makes a big deal about putting quarterback accuracy "at a premium," but I ran into the weird happening of QBs, even junk ones, regularly fielding completion percentages in the 90s against me. Maybe all the sacking and run-stopping led to too many short, high completion percentage plays, but I found it odd how I'd dominate games, but the opposing QBs would be 19/20. And I, rarely using top QBs, didn't have accuracy issues (just hawking DB issues). Actually felt a little easier to put certain kinds of touch on the ball.  Mostly, offense feels the same. Running on friends seems to work fine, but running on the computer is a nightmare unless you a) do the bad-football-thing of running laterally and turning a corner up the sideline, or b) catch the defense in a bad set and then no-huddle call the same play over and over, picking up ten yards at a time and going all the way down the field. You don't have to be Jon Bois to break Madden. Someone already figured out how to stand still and not get tackled for over a minute. More will come. I also recommend leaning on tight ends, five wide sets, and general open field manic running (nothing as bad as playing against old school Mike Vick, but, still). I still want nothing to do with microtransaction-laden Ultimate Team. Connected Careers is still dull in Owner Mode (halfhearted management sim) and filled with unnecessary gimmicks in the rest (don't worry about Confidence, just dump XP direct into player stats and win games). Load screens and game sims are still long (I don't even watch the pre-season; I don't want to play it), though at least the cluttered UI doesn't hitch at every button push in the PS4 version like it does in the PS3 version (makes upgrading players and everything else a nightmare on last gen). Madden NFL 15 brought to you by the NFL's classist, uncaring, voracious appetite for profit and general moral failure as a multi-billion dollar business built on the backs of broken, mostly forgotten workers™ takes its existing defensive framework and makes it not suck. This lets me hit quarterbacks more and release the aggression that wells up when I see any of the in-game advertisements. The rest is Madden 25, but less hideous.
Madden review photo
There's a team called the 'Redskins' in this game, which is super racist!
Madden 15 on PS3 and 360 is bad garbage that EA shouldn't get away with releasing. Alright then, onto current-gen.

GIFs photo
GIFs

Ah, so that's where those silly Madden GIFs are coming from


Create your own monstrosity
Sep 04
// Jordan Devore
I don't care at all about Madden, but GIFs? Damn you, Electronic Arts. You've won. The company has created a GIF maker for Madden NFL 15, "designed to help fans celebrate their favorite team's biggest plays and challenge thei...
NBA Live 15 photo
NBA Live 15

Not enough basketball in this NBA Live 15 trailer


And 2K is still streets ahead
Sep 02
// Steven Hansen
After taking several years to reboot NBA Live and still stumbling out of the gate with a crummy NBA Live 14 last year, EA isn't winning anyone over with a Visuals video or a face scanning video or a cover star announcem...
EA's DLC photo
EA's DLC

EA aims to make $1 billion from extra content this year


Sports franchises being big contributors
Aug 26
// Brett Makedonski
Everyone knows that downloadable add-ons for videogames have become a profitable trend in recent years. This year, EA's aiming high and hopes to rake in a record amount of revenue from DLC. According to an article on Bloomber...
NHL demo photo
NHL demo

NHL 15 demo is up on PS4 and Xbox One


Play it if you want. Or don't. I'm not a cop.
Aug 26
// Steven Hansen
You can play as either the New York Rangers or LA Kings, test out that new skill stick they're flaunting, or go into a free skate practice mode if you're new. 

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