The first Madden release since the onset of the next-generation consoles (that's PlayStation 4 and Xbox One) gave developer EA Sports the opportunity to up the ante, to reinvent the familiar formula with ever closer-to-reality visuals, physics, sound and more. How did EA do?

Here's what critics have to say.

Game Informer gave it a score of 8 out of 10.

Madden 15 improves [certain] facets, but it feels like other areas of the title have not progressed enough. Despite this uneven performance, Madden 15 demands you raise your game to the next level, and hopefully is in the process of raising its own.

IGN had mixed, but mostly positive feelings.

...things seemed to be different. It's as if Madden, a franchise that's taken itself so seriously in the past, has loosened up a bit... Madden fans rejoice, there's finally been some changes made to the underlying defensive systems here... I've still encountered some longstanding issues that have yet to be addressed despite their occurrence year after year.

Electronic Gaming Monthly was not entirely sold. It awarded a 7.5 score out of 10.

...while some improvements definitely help... enough stumbles on that path keep Madden NFL 15 from being a true football fanatic's dream... Despite all this, however, Madden NFL 15 is still more of a step forward for the franchise than a step back.

USA Today was more impressed than most. 3.5 stars out of 4.

...this year's NFL video game boasts stunning looks, impressive depth and mostly consistent action on the field.

GamesRadar gave it 4 stars out of 5.

There are significant modifications in key areas — analytic data and play-calling among them — that bring a more modern feel to Madden even though they border on information overload. An impressively spruced-up presentation combined with further refinements of the core gameplay results in steady progress for the better — and a really fun game of football most of the time.

Game Rant thought it had much more good than bad, giving it 4 stars out of 5.

...represents a nice foot forward for the franchise, which is especially meaningful given its stagnant nature as of late, but it's not necessarily the must-play fans hope for... Madden NFL 15 has pushed the franchise closer to a formula that feels refined but more realistic.

US Gamer wasn't as enthusiastic as others, giving it just 3 stars out of 5.

If you're one of those fans who continually holds out hope that this will be the year that Madden finally makes the leap and becomes a contender... I'm sorry to say that you're probably in for disappointment. By and large, Madden 15 is about tuning up what's already there, which isn't necessarily a bad thing in itself. I just don't see it as that much of a step forward for a franchise that has historically lagged behind its competition.

PC Magazine loved it.

Simply put, Madden NFL 15 is a near-flawless football title. My one gripe is that the game has some insipid commentary at times. But other than that? Madden NFL 15 is an All-Pro.

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