Make It So: Madden 15
[Make It So takes a look at our favorite games and suggests additions, subtractions, and areas to improve upon for the sequel or next entry in the series.]
After watching the amazing playoffs matchups this past Sunday (SUCK IT PATRIOTS!!!), I had a sudden urge to go play Madden and put a championship team together from the ground up. As much as I enjoy all the front office wheeling and dealing in sports games, the thought of struggling through the Career mode in Madden 25 turned me off almost immediately. I’ve already laid out my thoughts on Madden 25 in my review, but I started thinking of what I would want in the next entry in the Madden series.
Polish up the gameplay
Firstly, let me say that the actual gameplay of Madden 25 was the best the series has ever been. Now is when EA Tiburon should purely focus on polishing it up and ironing out the kinks in the 2-year old physics engine. I’m concerned that having to develop across two generations of consoles will result in decreased polish time but with how good the engine already is, I don’t think (and I hope) that we won’t have another repeat of the abysmal Madden NFL 06.
For the love of God, record more commentary
I’m maybe one of a handful of people who miss the days of John Madden blathering in the booth with Al Michaels. Yes, he delivered such “gems” as “Usually the team that scores the most points wins the game,” and “It’s 3rd and 20…They need a good play here,” but at least he didn’t leave long stretches of dead air like the new color commentary duo of Phil Simms and Jim Nantz. I don’t blame them, but I DO blame Tiburon for recording so little commentary. I understand that they’re limited in terms of specificity, but that hasn’t stopped 2K from recording over 50 hours of commentary for NBA 2K14. You can play through multiple games without hearing the same dialogue repeating, while in Madden 25 you’ll be lucky to get through a quarter without hearing the same anecdote three times. Cut to other games, discuss what’s going on in the standings, talk about storylines from the past or coming off-season, anything other than leaving air dead enough to where you can hear individual fans in the crowd.
Bring back The Extra Point halftime/postgame show but with a better cast and more analysis
The Extra Point highlight show was one of those ideas that were better in theory than execution. Fran Charles and Alex Flanagan weren’t charismatic enough to carry the show themselves. I’d recommend bringing in Simms and Nantz’s CBS studio crew or since EA Sports is partners with ESPN, why not bring back Boomer for some of his analysis a la NFL 2K5. Yes he’s goofy as hell, but sometimes you need a little goofy.
Revamp menu system in Career and My Player modes
Speaking of presentation, the bland menus take a lot of enjoyment out of the game. It seems like every other sports game except Madden understands that more menus don’t mean more fun. If you insist on having so many, doll them up a bit. Instead of just flipping through the different options, Have the different menus spread out through an office so messages are in your inbox and league news pops up on the tv. Anything to break up the monotony of the current set up.
Make My Player mode more realistic and entertaining
Maybe my biggest gripe with the Madden series recently has been the atrocious, tacked-on My Player mode. Not only can you make your player as good as you want and an instant starter, you can place yourself on any team you want and when you grow tired of that team, you can trade yourself to any other. The struggle of doing well during the Scouting Combine and your Pro Day is nonexistent. Next-gen versions of NBA 2K14 have shown that not only is there a way to add a little difficulty to killing your pre-draft performance and maximizing your draft ranking, but a little drama can be added too with the introduction of your rival, hazing from teammates, goals your coach sets for your season, etc. Make the mode more than just alternating between playing in games and reading menus.
Streamline the advisors menu in Career mode
Madden 25 was the first Madden game in a few years that let you take on the full responsibilities of an NFL team owner: from setting prices, to stadium maintenance and upgrading, to marketing. This was one of the sorely missed features that got left by the wayside when gaming stepped to current gen consoles. Unfortunately, EA Tiburon came on a little too strong and gave you way too much information. The information and advice you can figure out is either inaccurate or nonsensical. This is another case of a feature that would greatly benefit from a logic re-haul. Clean it up, simplify it, and watch couch GMs flock to the game mode.
Do you have any updates to the Madden series that you would suggest? Are they suggestions of the gameplay, presentation, or something else? Let us know in the comments!