ESPN gives the game a First Look and it looks like EA might be releasing a game that might finally be worth calling "new." New play-calling screens, controls and a brand-new focus on being a field general rather than scheme memorization that the writer describes as a "make or break" departure:
The difference? Try one of the biggest gambles in EA Sports history, as "Madden" designers have completely changed the play-calling system to incorporate offensive and defensive coordinators actually telling you what plays to run over the headset. After that, it's up to you to execute.
That's right: If you use the new GameFlow feature, you leave the play calling in the hands of the AI, cutting game time in half by simply eliminating the back-and-forth decision-making and sorting of menus to find the right formation.
Of course if you don't want to be told what's coming up you can "audible" out of the huddle and select a new play but this is pretty huge. What's more, the gameplay focuses more on overall attributes and less on guys who are able to do bubble screens 40 times in a row with their ridiculously fast RB/WR.
Once the play is called, football fans will recognize immediately that the game they've grown up mastering has completely changed in terms of player control, speed, acceleration and movement. These changes have made every aspect feel like a completely different experience. No longer is it about the guy with 99 speed. Now players with high agility will be able to cut better and take better angles to get to the ball. Players with high acceleration, such as Chris Johnson, will be able to burst through a hole that a guy like LenDale White will watch close before his virtual eyes.
In addition, although all movement, acceleration and turning is based off left-stick movement, all offensive moves have now been mapped to the right analog stick, enabling ball carriers to juke, high step, truck and spin as gamers flick the stick in different directions. This also enables runners to combine moves, as gamers might juke right, spin back left, then high-step over the outstretched arms of a defender.
Better graphics. Better AI. One of the first "new" Maddens in years. Drew Brees on the cover.