It's that time of the year again, the last couple weeks of August always marks the release date for EA Sports' Madden franchise. Like clockwork, you can always expect a version of Madden on every possible home console and, also like clockwork, you can expect few improvements to the game and usually end up being correct. EA very rarely releases a new Madden with much innovation; there are nearly as many years of regression in quality as there are actual steps forward for the franchise. However, this year represents a legitimate advancement in general quality thanks in large part to the legitimate (last year's version hardly counts) introduction of the franchise to the new generation of home consoles and the focus of the development team on making defense fun again.
In years past, defense has always been the worse part of any game of Madden. You simply need to control too many players to have any real production and the AI does not work well enough to actually help you against an opponent's offense. In general, I find the opposing offense to be either unstoppable or merely bogged down by their own poor execution. The defense was so poor and unfun that I usually find myself simulating through any defensive situation and straight to another drive for my team. The difference this year is that I actually feel some level of involvement on the performance of my defense. The tackling is improved, the block shedding is useful, and overall everything feels like you now have more control over your team.
Madden 15 represents the best visual performance yet from the franchise, but honestly compared to other sports simulators the game still feels lacking in the graphics department. A lot of detail has went into the stadiums, uniforms, and general game atmosphere (think rain/snow), but this makes it even more obvious just how drastically bad the sidelines and audience look. The players represent the top of the heap in terms of character models but even they still lack many refined details present in many current games as popular as this one; when you see someone without a helmet on like a coach or announcer it is hard to shake the feeling that parts of Madden 15 do not feel haphazardly created. Speaking of the announcers, it is absolutely ridiculous that they not only still look as poor as they do, but that their speech still does not correctly match up with their moving mouths.
Overall, I will give the same recommendation of Madden that I would give every year. If you enjoy the Madden franchise then this is the game for you; it is in fact more Madden. If you don't enjoy Madden but felt compelled to read this entire review then I suspect you have some reason of interest in the game so go ahead and check this year's much improved version out. The difference this year is that I can fully recommend Madden 15 to everyone who bought Madden 25 from last year. For any fans, you absolutely will not regret it.