5 things we are excited for in Madden NFL 15

Madden NFL 15 Screenshot - Johnny Manziel

Another year, another Madden. After playing the game at E3 and being involved in numerous interviews, this is the most excited for a Madden game that I've been in years. There's lots to love, but here's five things in Madden 15 that we are most excited for...

NFL Films Presentation

During my hands-on time with Madden 15 at E3, the thing that impressed me the most was the presentation. EA Sports put in a huge effort to overhaul the presentation, and they've succeeded in doing so. I haven't played enough of the game to see how much more commentary there is by Jim Nantz and Phil Simms, but this year's game looks a lot like a real NFL broadcast. While showing the down and yards to go arrow on the field with the offensive team's color and logo is a nice addition, adding real footage from the NFL makes a huge difference.

When possession changed and Cam Newton ran on the field, an overlay came over showing real highlight of Cam's, as well as his stats. It adds a lot of authenticity to a game that desperately needed it.

Johnny Manziel

I can't wait to get my hands on Johnny Manziel. I want to hit him so hard that he calls his mommy up on his money phone and asks to be picked up because the other boys were mean to him. With Johnny Football, you either love him or you hate him. I'm assuming that Cleveland fans love him right now – until he leaves and they burn his jersey, that is. Manziel is flashy, cocky, arrogant, and has one of the most obnoxious t-shirts I've ever seen.

That's why I'll be rooting for the #1 rated rookie QB over him, UCF Knight Blake Bortles.

Game Prep in Connected Franchise

I never touch Ultimate Team, so I don't really get excited for that game mode. What I do get excited for is Connected Franchise. I love taking the Broncos and guiding them for 20 years, doing a fantasy draft with my friends and seeing who can make the best team, or taking over a lowly team like the Raiders (who will be improved this year), moving them to another city and giving them a new name and uniforms.

The problem is that it's hard to grow a team through the draft. In last year's Madden 25, you had to increase your players' ratings by playing them and spending points they earn. Unless you're getting a stud with a high enough overall to start right away, prospects are hard to improve and pan out unless you play them.

That's changing this year, according to Gamestop's product details for Connected Franchise, which says,  “Interact and build your team with more control in Game Prep all-new to CFM. Want to develop your backup QB? Between matchups, spend extra time on him each week to earn training points without having to force him into the real games before he is ready. Also new in CFM is the Confidence rating system. Build your teams' confidence through performance and front office transactions. Balance keeping player's confidence up, to increase abilities and build player XP.” 

Defense

Defense has always been the problem child of Madden. EA Sports has focused on the war in the trenches, new tackling mechanics and Player Sense 2.0. Building on last year, rushing the passer is a whole new experience in Madden 15. You're not using the right stick to rim and swim anymore. In addition to a revamped “Jump Snap” mechanic and a varied snap count, push rush moves have been moved to the A (finesse) and X (power) button. Once engaged, with the blocker, you'll get a visual queue on what button to press and when.

Tackling now has a tackle cone so players can visualize the appropriate distance to the ball carrier to trigger a tackle. There's also different types of tackles to perform at different distances – conservative tackles, dive tackles, and a bit hit.

Then there's Player Sense 2.0, which supposedly improves player emotion, contextual awareness, head tracking, reach tackles and more. In zone coverage, defenders will break quicker on throws if they have a high zone coverage rating. Defenders are smarter in going for an interception or swatting the ball down. Man coverage ratings will now determine how much separation a wide receiver is able to get on cuts and routes. And then there's the addition of disguised defenses, where defenders will show one coverage and then give another.

Getting revenge on the Seahawks

I'm a Broncos fan. Needless to say, the Super Bowl was tough to watch. Denver was outplayed the entire game, and they lost to a better, more dominant team. That said, the sore-winner Seahawks continue to run their mouth to the NFL, Broncos, Cardinals, 49ers and fans about how amazing they are. I don't care if I sound salty. The Broncos have gotten tougher and better on defense, adding Aqib Talib, Demarcus Ware and TJ Ward to a defense that already has Von Miller and Terrance Knighton aka Pot Roast. On offense, they've shuffled their offensive line around to get more physical, replaced Decker with Emmanuel Sanders, and drafted a physical receiver that should open some eyes in Cody Latimer.

They play the NFC West during the regular season, and I can't wait for the Broncos to face the Seahawks in Seattle during week 3. Until then, I'll have to settle for beating up the Seahawks in Madden NFL 15, and that's what I plan to do.

You can follow Features Editor Lance Liebl on Twitter @Lance_GZ. Or you can email him at LLiebl@GameZone.com.

 

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Lance Liebl Gamer, Disney enthusiast, opinionated sports fan, movie buff, and a father of two. You can follow Lance on Twitter @Lance_GZ.
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