Even more thoughts on Madden NFL 15

I just finished my first season, going 14-2 and capturing a Super Bowl championship. On All-Pro, no less, with some slider adjustments. I’m not sure if drafts are generally lower caliber, but I got a bunch of 70s and 60s; no 80s.

Regarding gameplay, I’m on the fence. Running has never been tighter and more satisfying in Madden, but passing… I’ve had to seriously nerf AI QB accuracy, for one thing. And it’s still too high. Seeing a completion percentage under 70% is frankly unheard of. The AI is much better at interceptions on AI teams than user controlled teams. In fact, the last five games of the regular season and throughout the postseason, I had zero. This comes from the game’s biggest flaw: QB decision making.

EA promised reduced QB accuracy; I can’t say they’ve totally come through, but you will see even the best QBs make bad throws, that is to the good. However, the AI simply does not throw interceptions. It goes through the progression too quickly and, if it comes down to it, will eat a sack rather than throw a bad pass. Even if this happens 13 or 14 times a game. AI Screens work really, really well unless you have supremely good tacklers. They love to throw it short and get an 8 or 9 yard gain — and then do this for the entire game. Because it’s so hard to pick off passes (even for Joe Haden), they keep getting away with it. The entire passing AI needs to be rewritten, and I have a feeling that it won’t be, which is a shame. Perhaps for Madden 16.

I do really like the ability to progress players as you like, and confidence is a nice addition too. It allows you to take players who are really quite ordinary and make them superstars by using them effectively. The offseason runs fairly smoothly, although you now only have three staff members: the head coach, the scout, and the trainer. Free agency is nothing shocking; it’s a bit flashier, I guess. The draft is the draft, but it’s much easier to trade up or trade down if you want to, because you simply ask for offers. The entire trade system is hugely improved, and one of the greatest strengths of the game.

Upgrades to the stadium have been refurbished too; there are fewer, but much clearer choices. I spent $20 million on improving my team store; I don’t know if that’ll improve my sales or not. I hope so. The financial system is very intuitive, at least to me, and the concept of marketability makes certain players worth keeping around even if they aren’t as good as they once were.

Overall, I’ve found the game to be pretty good. The most irritating issue is that playing two games in a row is nearly impossible, as it will invariably freeze after the second; using Online Career Mode fixes that, however, by saving everything to the cloud. I’m going to take a break from it and wait to see if a patch comes out before I play season 2. A few changes or additions (renegotiating contracts was weirdly taken out of the game) and I’ll jump right back in.

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