With the release of the Xbox One on the horizon, publishers are revealing more about the games that will be coming out along with the next generation console. In addition to new titles, some of the already released games are getting an upgrade to take advantage of the extra power built in to the machines.
One of the titles getting in on the makeover is Madden NFL 25 which is—according to EA Sports—ten times the graphic detail as the Xbox 360 version. The other big reveal is the game's mobile counterpart CoachGlass, that allows players to call plays and get statistics on opponents in real-time.
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After fiddling around with CoachGlass, it's obvious that EA Sports has heard the cries from the gamers who aren't football geeks. If you're among that number, you already know that Madden is one of those games that if you don't get the technical aspects of the sport, you'll have a better chance beating someone by mashing buttons while blindfolded. What CoachGlass aims to do is offer a hand to hold while battling it out on the virtual turf. Since defensive play tends to be the most confusing for less experienced players, the app assists in relieving some of the pressure.
CoachGlass works on both smartphones and tablets but for the best experience, a tablet is recommended. The three-column based design is easy on the eyes and is spaced in a way that even in the heat of a game, it's easy to look away from the screen, find what you need on the tablet and get back to the action without missing a beat.
The app is broken up into two tabs, Personnel and Tendencies. Personnel gives information about how the other team's players are performing in the game. It tracks which offensive players are destroying you and what they've been doing to ream your team. CoachGlass then offers suggestions on the best plays to use against them and lists the history of the plays you've already performed. That way, you can quickly glance at what worked and what didn't. All of the suggestions are fed from a pool of successful plays from the Xbox Live community. This brought up the question of privacy issues, but there's no reason to trip as the information is totally anonymous and there's no electronic trail to follow back to a player's ingenius playbook. If a player is still on the fence about having their plays scraped, there's the option of just not playing online.
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The Tendencies tab shows information about the current opposing team's strategies. Again, there is the option of taking the Xbox Live community's suggestions on defense or giving it a show on your own. Either way, CoachGlass' purpose is to break up an opponent's comfort zone and level the playing field (no pun intended).
The main obstacle for non-sports gamers is that a player still needs to know football terminology in order to apply strategies properly. If you don't know what a "Buck Slant", "Strong Flood" or "Cross Fire 3 Seam" is, you're in for a wild ride of bewilderment. What will happen is that stuff will pop up on the tablet screen, all the colors and charts will look like something you saw on a televised football game and you'll just eenie-meenie-miney-moe a suggested play. If it works, you're the best coach in the league and if it fails, have fun watching your opponents celebrate their 78th touchdown. One can only imagine the amount of foul-mouthed tirades to come out of games played co-op—with one person working CoachGlass on a tablet and the other executing plays with the controller. YouTube gold is in them thar hills.
While the Madden team's intentions to bring more newbies into the fold are good ones, CoachGlass may wind up being an awesome add-on for people who are less intimidated by the intricacies of the sport. That is, unless you want to play so badly, you're willing to research and learn what a "2 Man Under" is. Otherwise, stick to leveling up wizards and perfecting headshots.
CoachGlass will be available for download to smartphones and tablets on November 22 along with the the launch of Xbox One.