Every year around this time, the familiar strains of Hank Williams Jr come to mind and asks you the age old question:

ARE YOU READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL?

Year #26 of the longest running sports franchise in gaming history kicks off, and another year of Madden Football is here. Madden is a gaming cultural phenomenon unlike any other. The franchise itself has blown up in popularity so much over the last couple decades among gamers, media and actual NFLers themselves that Electronic Arts issues press releases and has launch events around player STATS, let alone the game itself.  This year alone, I must have received nearly a half dozen emails around stats for different positional players and rookies.  It’s quite something.

Purchase Madden 15 Standard Edition for Playstation 4 

Purchase Madden 15 Standard Edition for Xbox One

Purchase Madden 15 Standard Edition for Xbox 360

Purchase Madden 15 Standard Edition for PlayStation 3

Purchase Madden 15 Ultimate Edition for PlayStation 4

Purchase Madden 15 Ultimate Edition for Xbox One

Purchase Madden 15 Ultimate Edition for PlayStation 3 

Purchase Madden 15 Ultimate Edition for Xbox 360

Richard Sherman is this year’s cover athlete, and with good measure – most of the focus this year has been around defense.  While playcalling and strategies have changed over the last 20 years, I’ve always felt that the whole idea of defense, and tackling and such have been the same on a high level since the first Madden I owned (1994 for the Super Nintendo.)  Defense has always been a boring aspect of the game, and for me, has always been a “How quickly can I get this done before I go back on offense?” sort of thing.  I’m sure EA was receiving a lot of similar feedback, and decided to make some big changes.

One is a change to the play-calling system. I was a big fan of the idea that you could change your plays on the fly with more than just simple audibles when you saw your opponent’s formation, but now you can see statistically how effective your opponents are at what you’re throwing at them, and make changes immediately. This isn’t really indicative of the real game (if you’re craving that type of experience,) but it’s definitely good on-the-fly coaching.

The experience itself has changed too.  EA brought in a consultant with experience with NFL films to help enhance the on-field presentation and experience.  This was one of the few things that I felt the NCAA games did better than Madden, and changes like this will enhance the experience and make you forget about marching bands and mascots on horses sprinting down the field flags in hand.

Back to my belief of why Sherman is the perfect cover athlete this year—better (and more fun) defence is the biggest part of Madden Football 15.  There’s a new tackling system, which allows you to choose where and this year, you can finally play a style of defence that doesn’t result in you trying to take the most cerebral route, and end up just trying to blitz the QB nonstop. One of the biggest changes is the way you SEE the opposing QB. The camera faces you against the opposing QB as you try to break through the line of scrimmage, and adds that element of excitement and strategy rather than you just going through the same old views.

With these new changes in mind, the new rookie crop ready to go, and your favourite game modes returning, Madden ‘15 is sure to be a smash, but I guess we wouldn’t expect anything less at this point.

Madden 15 is now available at Best Buy and online at BestBuy.ca for the following consoles:

Purchase Madden 15 Standard Edition for Playstation 4 

Purchase Madden 15 Standard Edition for Xbox One

Purchase Madden 15 Standard Edition for Xbox 360

Purchase Madden 15 Standard Edition for PlayStation 3

Purchase Madden 15 Ultimate Edition for PlayStation 4

Purchase Madden 15 Ultimate Edition for Xbox One

Purchase Madden 15 Ultimate Edition for PlayStation 3 

Purchase Madden 15 Ultimate Edition for Xbox 360