Review: Madden NFL 25
For the last quarter century each passage into fall has seen two constants. A new season of NFL Football, and the return of a game that has tried it’s best to replicate the feeling of every Sunday, John Madden Football.
Over the years elements have been refined. No longer is the series called John Madden Football. Instead, Madden has become not only the name, but the brand for NFL caliber football played in video game form. The gameplay continues to evolve. Whether it embraces successes like the hit stick, or dismisses mechanics that didn’t exactly pan out as expected (ie: QB vision cone), Madden NFL 25 is the culmination of 25 years of additions and subtractions that try to give the player the truest NFL experience.
The first thing you notice when you start up the game is that the dashboard is filled with options. I found it a bit cluttered aesthetically, but they decided to toss every possible game mode at you at once. Players may enjoy everything from playing by themselves in the week’s big match up to playing against others in Ultimate Team.
All the game modes are nice but everything hinges on the gameplay. Thankfully Madden NFL 25 is able to recreate the NFL experience right down to the Gatorade showers.
The most welcome addition, is the total control players acquire when they have the ball in their hand. Madden has always been the benchmark for the running game and their new precision modifier finally rewards the players who are willing to put in the effort. There are the normal jukes and spins and bull rushes, but in this year’s edition, by holding onto a modifier button you’re able to increase the moves your player can perform to almost three dozen.
The precision modifier changes how the series will be played from this point on, especially in multiplayer. No longer is it a case where you must simply know when to perform a move. Now it comes down to performing the move while also the having the ability to chain the moves together to maximize every carry.
The passing game is helped by tweaks done to the Infinity Engine. Players move and collide realistically. This makes things like jump balls the most realistic they have ever been. If you are in the endzone and you toss the ball to your 250 pound tight end he won’t be pushed out of the way by the 175 pound defensive back. Football is all about mismatches and Madden NFL 25 allows you to gameplan for every one you see.
Madden NFL 25 mimics the real NFL game and right now offense is king. We live in a world where Tom Brady runs an offense at breakneck speed and Chip Kelly is hired by the Eagles because he never takes his foot off the gas pedal. This means that defense is overshadowed by offense but that doesn’t mean that defense is left out in the cold.
The most important thing I’ve found is that you can now realistically collapse the pocket. Get yourself a good pass rusher and push the tackle or guard right into the quarterback’s face. One of the major gripes I have had with the series is that all the offensive linemen were like a fence and it was impossible to put pressure on the quarterback unless his protection fell apart completely. Now all you have to do is find that weak lineman and push him back into the pocket forcing the quarterback to tuck the ball and start running. It is incredibly satisfying to collapse the pocket and watch the quarterback run into the waiting tackle of your outside linebacker.
It’s incredibly satisfying to collapse the pocket and watch the quarterback run into the waiting tackle of your outside linebacker.
I found that defensive backs are also more athletic, allowing for duels between a 6’2 wide receiver and a 5’10 defensive back with great leaping skills to play out like they do in real life.
Madden NFL 25 has revamped the connected career mode, now it’s called Connected Careers.
Another huge improvement in the game is that the methods by which you gain XP have increased. Last year’s Madden put users in an “all or nothing” situation where a lot of time was spent needlessly grinding. This year you are rewarded for everything you do. Even if you fail challenges you will still be rewarded for participating in them. This simple tweak makes leveling up your character stop feeling like a chore.
Even bigger changes await in Connected Franchise with the all new owner mode. No longer can you just be a player or a coach. This year it is all about owning it all. Owner mode is the most robust choice in Connected Franchise allowing the player control of everything from the personnel trades to the concession stands. As an owner you will have the option of doing everything you do in coach mode, but you will also be in charge of the direction of the franchise, even if that means moving them to a new city.
Madden NFL 25 allows teams to relocate to greener pastures not only in the United States, but Canada, England, and Mexico. You will start from scratch there, making your team name, logo, and stadium. It’s up to you to make your new team live up to the dynasties of New England, San Francisco, and Pittsburgh.
Lastly, Madden Ultimate Team has returned and with it, team chemistry. Players on offense and defense have certain attributes that when paired with like minded players give your team boosts. The chemistry breaks down like this…
- Long Pass
- Ground and Pound
- Speed Run
- Zone Defense
- Man Defense
- Pass Rush
- Run Stuff
The more players you have who play a certain style, the more boosts your team will have. No longer is it about simply gathering the best players. Now you are looking for the best players who play in the system you want to run. This gives Madden Ultimate Team a new dimension that makes players decide if they want to simply go for the best players and not see any stat bonuses, or if they prefer to pick players suited for their particular scheme.
The online multiplayer in Madden NFL 25 is great. Whether I’m playing a head to head game or the seasons mode in Madden Ultimate Team, the games play perfectly. The online infrastructure is especially nice in the season modes where you don’t want to invest all that time and effort just to have the multiplayer system crash on you.
My only gripe is that while Madden Share has been added so players can swap rosters, sliders, and playbooks, the roster updates are not as fast as I would like. Players looking to start the game with the most current NFL roster may have to do some roster tweaking before they begin.
The sound in the game is great with the CBS team of Jim Nance and Phil Simms doing play by play. However, they could do with more lines. The same repeated banter over the course of a season tends to get tiring on the ears. They are getting better, but this is one area where improvement in needed.
There is enough content in Madden NFL 25 to last the average player a year let alone one season, and that in itself is the greatest reason to pick up this year’s installment. Madden NFL 25 truly has something for everyone. Whether you are interested in playing through a season with your favorite team or going through collecting cards and players for your Madden Ultimate Team, they have got you covered.
Why it may be helpful for people with anxiety
- Extremely easy to pick up and play
- Practice mode and sliders appeal to any gameplay level
Why it may be unhelpful for people with anxiety
- Precision modifier needs a good amount of dexterity to pull off so shaking/numb hands could lead to difficulty playing
Why you should be playing this
If you’re an NFL fan then Madden is your choice because well, that’s it. That’s not to say that Madden is a subpar game that’s forced on anyone. Madden NFL 25 is the best way to recreate the NFL experience. As someone who has been with the series since the first game, I have seen all the ups and downs and Madden NFL 25 is most certainly an up. Between the new control scheme with the precision modifier, the owner mode, and the Madden Ultimate Team, this is the best version of the game to date. Madden NFL 25 improves on an already solid game and ushers out this generation of consoles on a high note.
This review was based on the Xbox 360 version that was provided by the publisher.
Aug 27, 2013
Xbox 360, PS3
Animations look great, true mismatches, closest thing to playing on Sunday, Owner mode gives a whole new dynamic, Precision modifier gives unparallelled control
Commentary needs more content, some animations still look wonky