Published on September 15th, 2013 | by Mark Gibson, Editor/Community Manager
Madden NFL 25 Review
EA Sports’ Madden franchise is celebrating 25 years of virtual football goodness, and with it, comes Madden NFL 25.
Don’t be confused by the title, the game is Madden 14, not Madden 2025 as I recently heard someone utter.
If you are old enough to remember the very first Madden on the Sega Genesis, then you probably feel, well, old. Personally, My first madden memory was Madden 97 on the Nintendo GameBoy. Every play was a Hail Mary, and there were only two receivers, A and B. Yes, it was a simpler time.
In the modern era, the biggest complaint with sports games is the lack of change. Before the time of online roster updates, one of the biggest reasons to buy a new Madden was for the annually updated rosters. Now, we purchase a new Madden game for improved mechanics, graphics, presentation and game modes. In this respect, there are several things that EA Sports’ Madden 25 got right and some it got wrong.
Since there really isn’t a ton of change from last year’s title, we decided to do this review a little different. Instead of a typical review, we’ve broken down the latest Madden into what the game got right, and what it got wrong.
What Madden 25 Got Right
Presentation is a big factor with any sports title. If you are like me, you love a sports game that looks just like an actual broadcast on TV. It makes the game feel much more realistic, and gives it that role-playing game (RPG) feel. Last year’s title had amazing presentation qualities, and the addition of Phil Sims and Jim Nantz as the announcers was a great touch. It was obvious that it took a CBS Sports look-a-like presentation style, but it only made the game seem more real.
Madden 25 once again delivers on great presentation, although they cut back on the CBS Sports style, Sims and Natz return to provide great commentary. If you play the game during prime time, the presentation gets an even bigger boost. The opening showcases both teams in a unique way. This really does a great job of pumping you up for the game, especially if you are playing with friends. The halftime shows are entertaining, and show off some great highlights of your matchup. The only things missing are actual commercials when the game fades to black. But hey, no one actually wants that, right?
This year’s game brings back Ultimate Team, which has taken the EA Sports community by storm. It is a great way to have a fantasy football trading card game hybrid. However, it’s one of those game modes that fans either love, or love to hate. Unfortunately, if you hate it, your only other options are Franchise Mode or Arena. What Ultimate Team brings to the table is a unique and interesting new game mode. There is something so satisfying in a sports nerdy way to put legendary players like Joe Montana and Jerry Rice on your favorite team. I must say, Montana looks quite sharp in a Miami Dolphins uniform (here comes the hate mail).
The graphic quality is quite impressive for a “last of the current generation” title. The new Infinity Engine Two provides a huge improvement to physics. The instant replays look fantastic, and very believable. There are also a good amount of cut away scenes to the head coach yelling at the team, so much so that it looks like live footage.
The game physics have also greatly improved. The run game is more natural and easier to control. Player movements are more fluid, and the passing game “miracle coverage catch” no longer exist — this is when the ball somehow finds its way into the receiver’s hands, even though there was triple coverage and the ball needed to pass through a defensive player’s body first.
Of course, the new game engine doesn’t come without its fair share of flaws and glitches.
What the Game Got Wrong
As impressive as the Infinity Engine Two is, for some reason, Madden 25 has too many glitchy moments. The biggest being players look like they are gliding above the field — it doesn’t actually look like anyone is touching the ground when they walk. Some instant replays are shown with an obstacle right in the center of the camera. This ranges from seeing the first down yardstick, to a coach or player’s butt. It makes you wonder how much quality assurance testing is really done on the game.
I can understand if this is a very rare occurrence, but this is something that seems to happen far too often.
There is also too many “dead player” moments. After a player is tackled and the whistle is blown, sometimes the player will just lay there completely still. It’s not an injury, it’s the collision detection being too sensitive. The player will continue to lay there still even of another player is just standing right there at his feet. For some reason, the AI looks at this as a tackle sill even though the play is over.
Let’s also not forget the “floating ball” which has been a part of Madden for a long time. This usually happens after a touchdown when a player throws the ball on the ground. The camera cuts away to bring up the play selection menu. In that short time span, the football starts to float across the field all on its own. Spooky.
While the offensive play is improved, the defense is in one word, stupid. No, the AI is not intelligent, despite its name. Because the offense is now so overpowered, the defensive AI also needed to be stepped up to create balance. You can basically call any play you want on defense, because the offense will find a way to get that first down no matter what.
It’s a little presumptuous to leave the entire defensive scheme and play reading up to the user. We are all not defensive coordinators. But most importantly, the AI of pass coverage is baffling. If you call a zone coverage, the Safety will sit back in the exact zone you called and not have the smarts to follow an obviously open receiver. By the time you notice this, it is too late to take control of the Safety.
Madden 25 is mainly focused on two game modes: Ultimate Team and Online Franchise. It’s no doubt that these two modes are the most popular of the series, however, certain features have been removed that really doesn’t make much sense. The biggest disappointment in last year’s title was the removal of the integrated NCAA player. In years past, if you created a Road to The Show player in an NCAA Football title, you could transfer that player into the Madden game to be drafted by a team.
While all the elements of this still exist in Madden 25, there is no more direct transfer. Instead, you need to upload your GameFace and manually add the player to a team. Once you do this, you can still play as just your created character. With that being so, it really makes no sense why the direct transfer can no longer occur.
Another game mode that still hasn’t returned is Create a Team. This was an outstanding game mode where users could create their own custom team from scratch and play a franchise. There were tons of possibilities to creating a team, dozens of logos to choose from and any place you want to put the team. This game mode hasn’t been a part of Madden for quite some time now, but seeing as we are celebrating 25 years, it would have been a great addition to include some long gone game modes.
The Infinity Engine Two is an improvement in many ways, but also causes many glitches. Judging from the other titles that have been released so far that also use this new game engine, it’s puzzling as to why Madden 25 has so many bugs. The bottom line is that this year’s title is just a big OK.
For a game that is celebrating 25 years, there really are not too many impressive upgrades. Yes, the new game mechanics are improved, but if you really compare Madden 25 with Madden 13, there isn’t a big enough convincing reason to upgrade.
It is basically the same game with a new intro and menu screen with a few new bells and whistles here and there. The real reason to get Madden 25 is for the next-gen consoles. So, for now, it wouldn’t hurt to hold off.
Madden 25 Review
Summary: The Infinity Engine Two is an improvement in many ways, but also causes too many glitches. Judging from the other titles that have been released so far that also use this new game engine, it’s puzzling as to why Madden 25 has so many bugs. The bottom line is that this year’s title is just a big OK. For a game that is celebrating 25 years, there really isn't too many impressive upgrades. Yes, the new game mechanics are improved, but if you really compare Madden 25 with Madden 13, there isn't a big enough convincing reason to upgrade. It is basically the same game with a new intro and menu screen with a few new bells and whiles here and there. The real reason to get Madden 25 is for the next-gen consoles. So, for now, it wouldn't hurt to hold off.