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Madden NFL 15 provides gamers with a respectable halftime show

In an age where technology is forever molding and changing, the growth of ideas must be able to follow along with all things new. Madden Football is no different. The NFL as a whole has become one of the biggest money-making, attention-grabbing companies of all time. We see major interests in fantasy leagues, cities constantly building new stadiums to house more fans, and college players becoming megastars before they even turn professional (make it rain, Manziel). Simply, everyone wants to get their hands on the product as much as possible. And Madden NFL 15 is here to satisfy that craving. The harder you work, the harder it is to lose. For Connected Franchise, Madden’s deep career mode, a new push-and-pull between Confidence and XP creates a very clear dividing line between weekly play and long-term development. Each week leading up to a game, it’s possible to work with the team on menu-based and playable exercises that boost either Confidence or XP, but never both. The former affects how players perform going into the next game; a confident player is less prone to making mistakes. XP is for long-term growth; earn enough for a player and you can spend the amassed points to improve some stat or another.
 
The look and feel to Madden 15 is stupendous. The graphical overhaul performed since last year has trumped what's come before it, and the NFL Films touch on pregame and post-game delivery makes the game feel like Sunday every day. At the same time, there's room for improvement. For instance, a lot of the videos before each game cannot be skipped. Surely, a lot of the game's loading is intended to be disguised by those videos, but it can become more frustrating to watch the same video over and over as opposed to simply looking at a slightly longer loading screen. At the same time, the efforts put into the game by NFL Films is indeed stellar, so it's worthy of praise in and of itself, but this is still a video game that's going to be played by gamers, so there will more than likely be some animosity toward this addition.

 
Gone from the past are repetitive and annoying cut away videos that used the same handful of actions, and in their place are more lifelike experiences that showcase a player’s spontaneity and emotion. Changing cameras on the fly before the play doesn’t hurt either, providing you with the best read of the field you need for any play you pick. Madden NFL 15 provides gamers finally with a respectable halftime show complete with highlight clips, a recount of actions, and commentaries on scores, turnovers and other big moments that shifted momentum of the game. What’s more the game even has between quarter sponsors that really bring the broadcast feel to life. Sure some people may complain about the sponsor use, but someone has to pay for some of this stuff right?
 
This little scenario between the Panthers and the Seahawks took place while the game was still installing on my PlayStation 4. After my thrilling defeat, Madden NFL 15 fired up a few videos that highlighted the game's new modes and features-and took me into the revamped Skills Trainer. Tackling is also updated in Madden NFL 15. When the ball carrier is within range of a tackle, a cone appears that shows you the effective range of a conservative tackle or an aggressive tackle. This helps you know whether to go all out or simply try to make contact. The right thumb stick still functions as the hit stick for a directed tackle, while the Square button makes an aggressive move. I found the tackling cone helpful as I got used to the new game. After a while, I started nailing ball carriers without even noticing the cone.
 
I mentioned at the outset how impressed I was with the visuals and presentation in Madden 15. While not much has been done with the fans and stadiums (not necessarily a bad thing given how good they look) the players received major enhancements. The attention to detail is stunning and its eye popping from the moment the team’s lineup for opening kick-off. While not all players in the NFL have had their face scanned into the game, most of the star players have and the results is impressive. One look at Russell Wilson or Colin Kaepernick and you will see how far along this Madden game has come in the visuals department. My only disappointment with the games presentation rests with some of the similarities between Madden 25 and Madden 15 in terms of the layout and menus. The windows-like panel menu system is back. It is easy to navigate and loads up quickly. Sure it looks nice but resembles a little too much like Madden 25’s layout. Likewise, the look of the Connected Franchise menus is nearly identical to last year’s game.