Almost a week into Madden 15 and the initial reviews are in on gameplay….a smashing success.

Well, let’s be more specific shall we.  For the genuine football enthusiast, the gameplay is brilliant.

For the average to below average football mind, the game might come as a challenge.  No longer can you “run free” to the outside every play despite what the defensive look is.  No more running streches and outside zones against an “8 in the box” look.  No more throwing to the middle of the field if the defense is ready for it with the fantastic addition of more coverage adjustments.  It has become the ultimate strategy game.

The saying that should spread like wild fire to every SIM league during this version is “take what the defense gives you.”

Was this the case before M15?  Sure, but now more than ever it is a stark reality.  You feel the power of the edge rushers if you try to get outside on a pitch when the defense is ready.  You feel the power of the pass rush if you take too much time in the pocket, or if you don’t leave your RB in to block in certain situations.  And even more apparent is that not all RB’s can handle the power of the pass rush.

Most will argue that the defense is too overpowering.  I’ll retort by saying you are not reading the defense the correct way.  A gain of 4 yards rushing is a good gain by football standards.  While this does mess with the shortened aspect of Madden games (30-35 plays per offense instead of a regular 60), it becomes much more of a purist sport.  An easy fix to this is to extend games to 10 minutes per quarter where offenses will see 40-45 plays per offense.  Honestly, I don’t know how SIM leagues can claim to be SIM and play 8 minute quarters.  But that’s beside the point.

Never has a Madden game allowed the ability to choose your own fate on defense as well as this one does.  If you want to protect the sticks, you can.  If you want to take away the middle of the field, you can.  If you wanna shut down the running game completely, you can.  It allows for full control, yet full vulnerability at the same time if the offense reads it correctly.  Football is an 11 man game…NOT a 1 person user skill video game sport.

The ever popular Cover 3 in Madden will surely be played in this game too.  Be aware however, as WR’s can now easily beat CB’s on a jump ball…just like we see on Sundays.  I mean seriously, who’s going to win a one on one matchup between Calvin Johnson and the average CB.  A one on one matchup in the NFL should and needs to be an advantage for the offense, and we now have this.  If the defense doesn’t have 2 over the top, they leave themselves vulnerable.

Such a simple game that many folks make way too complicated.

Frustration will surely come from many players this fall.  Guess what though commissioners….it’s just another great way to tell who the REAL players are, and which are posers.

Bring on the REAL football competition.