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- Madden NFL 15
If you're looking for a way to train up your skills for the full season of Madden NFL, look no further than improved Skills Trainer and Gauntlet modes, which will test the full range of football knowledge in your thumbs. While millions are tuning into the World Cup and enjoying EA's other foot-focused sporting sim, I got a chance to talk with Danny Doberling about the work the team at EA Tiburon has been up to in the past few months.
The team's focus has been squarely on ensuring people don't skip through valuable lessons in basic training for the grid iron. To accomplish that, they've created 48 new tutorials and drills, with basic football concepts for anyone picking up the controller for the first time or entering another yearly dynasty competition with friends online and off.
For example, if you don't know how to attack a cover 2 defense, you'll want to head to the skills trainer where the game will show you the field, show you how to beat this particular defense, and let you call plays to identify specific concepts like vertical routes and the like.
Doberling said that the team wants to "increase football IQ and make players into better gamers," but part of that comes with learning new tackle mechanics. All of Madden NFL 15's new defensive mechanics get features in Skills Trainer tutorials. Doberling specific said that if new users need to learn acceleration and midline options, they'll have the ability to do that and more but the Gauntlet will give you the option to learn and have fun with slightly less conventional skills.
Gauntlet combines Skills Trainer knowledge with randomized levels and boss battles after every 5 levels. If you can finish the Gauntlet, you'll have made it through 40 levels of football mechanics, but don't expect everything to fall into place very easily. In one potential boss level, you'll need to kick a field goal from far out with intense wind resistance.
Skills Trainer "tests the user on how much knowledge they have and if you're not a master of all these areas, you can still have fun with situational challenges. Doberling points out that while Madden "has been around for 25 years, you can't change too much."
That hasn't stopped the team from trying their best to change the formula and bring new and wild elements of experimentation. That's largely focused in the Gauntlet at the moment, but don't expect to complete some boss levels on the first try.
More importantly, Skills Trainer and the Gauntlet provide feedback on failure, meaning you know why you messed up if you can get your head in the huddle and back into the game. Skills Trainer is also available in the seasonal play, if you want to take your own character through the ranks and complete drills as you move from Sunday to Sunday.
"Working on Gauntlet is the most fun I've had," Doberling said. "I love when Madden doesn't take itself so seriously. I have no idea what EA's plans are [for expansion or downloadable options like Madden Arcade] but I know we did this as a side-project and if people are out there, we hope they like it.
"New users don't have to be intimidated and veterans will find a place."