Madden 15 is continuing the annual release cycle this August, and EA Sports has promised a slew of changes to the standard Madden formula. Obviously, the main changes relate to graphics and presentation like they do every year, but EA Sports has stated that a majority of the changes were made so playing defense would actually be fun this year. EA Sports also promised a new playcalling system that would change Madden for both offensive and defensive players. What are these changes, and will they make Madden 15 the best iteration yet?
Apparently, EA Sports has gone all out to improve tackling mechanics during games. One of these changes was adding multiple methods for tackling. Previous versions of Madden had the hit stick (for massive collisions) and regular tackles, but Madden 15 will now have three different versions of tackling. Conservative tackles can now be initiated when the runner is in a tackle cone. If the conservative tackles aren’t preferred, players can now use the hit stick and go for an aggressive tackle.
Obviously, this hit stick tackle is more dangerous than others because there is a greater risk of missed tackles; however, a third type of tackle has been introduced that should change how defenders chase down ball carriers. The aggressive button can now be used for diving attempts at tackles when neither conservative nor hit stick tackles are an option. This type of aggressive tackle is high risk because it relies entirely on timing and position, but it can also stop a big play in its tracks.
Smarter Defensive Backs
EA Sports has promised changes for the defense, and the defensive backs are a main part of these changes. In Madden 15, EA Sports has created a new system called player sense 2.0 that is supposed to change the way defenders react to plays based on their common sense, emotion, and real world experience. For example, certain corners will be better suited for zone coverage because they have the speed to close on a receiver. Other corners will be better suited to man coverage, which will affect how much separation the receivers get during their routes.
The third change that EA Sports has promised is better decision making when defenders go for a swat or an interception. Certain defensive backs will recognize the route and go for the more appropriate defensive move. However, EA Sports also mentioned that computer-controlled quarterbacks have better AI as well, so they will recognize defensive patterns and adjust the plays accordingly.
Playcalling has long been an Achilles heel of Madden. The Gameflow system seemed too simplistic, and the Ask Madden system rarely provided a good option of plays. Generally, the best method for finding plays was to use the entire playbook and scroll through formations, wasting most of the play clock. This method may have provided a larger variety of plays, but it also made specialized plays like halfback passes and fades almost impossible to find. EA Sports has promised a new playcalling system that gets rid of Ask Madden and focuses more on success rates of plays.
Gameflow has been redesigned in Madden 15 to focus more on the plays that work for the community. The new system takes information from online players, ranks the play suggestions, and shows the success rate to make choosing plays easier. In addition, Ask Madden has been replaced by a system that tracks what plays tend to get called more often, regardless of success rate. The other redesigned aspect of Gameflow is a feature called Plays By Concept. This system lets you choose a play based on what you want to do; end zone fades, option routes, and halfback passes are all arranged by concept so finding the fancy plays is much easier.
Will These Changes Matter?
Honestly, I have no idea if these proposed changes would make playing defense any better, but I would like to hope so. The smarter defensive backs sound promising, but will EA Sports keep the db’s running in the right direction as you take control? Normally, switching to a corner or safety when the ball is in the air results in them turning and running away from the receiver. This is especially frustrating when you often play against someone that throws the ball deep on every play.
However, I’m very excited for the changes to playcalling. I have had nothing but problems with the Gameflow system, so I will welcome any changes that make it better. Normally, I rely on curl routes and tight end screens for offense because every other play is too difficult to find. Now, I’ll be able to mix up my playcalls and potentially win some more games. These playcalling changes should help on defense as well. Normally, I just look for either a random blitz or coverage play depending on the situation, but now I might be able to actually figure out what defensive plays work for stopping my opponents.
Hopefully, all of these changes will make Madden 15 seem like a more advanced game than previous iterations. We won’t know for sure until August 26, but you can prepare for Madden’s release by checking out our articles on Madden’s position rankings.