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on August 27, 2013
Madden NFL 25 is one of the most difficult to evaluate sports games in recent memory. It carries with it considerable value thanks to a deep feature set, distinct improvements to gameplay, and appreciable fun factor. For every positive though there seems to be something dragging it down from potential excellence. Features aren't completely fleshed out, gameplay looks and feels chaotic, and legacy issues remain unaddressed.

-Connected Franchise: This is obviously the big one - especially with the return of Owner mode - and I wrote over 3000 words and posted nearly 100 screenshots regarding it on my site detailing everything from the executive duties of an Owner and how things progressed within the entire Connected Franchise universe having played every game in a season and extended into year two.

Owner mode provides some compelling elements which will be especially fun when joined by friends but Connected Franchise as a whole fails again in tying events from the league into the actual games. That could severely dampen long-term enthusiasm towards the mode.

-Skills Trainer: Similar to NCAA Football 14 the Skills Trainer provides an opportunity to learn, improve, and refine play in very specific areas. It does a good job of teaching things like the option as well as aspects like hot routes and audibles which novices may need explanations on. There are also Ultimate Team bonuses given for getting "Gold" in each of the individual drills.

On the flip side it has the same faults as NCAA. Things that are out of the control of the user can screw up success. It gets frustrating going for the "Gold" and missing out because a receiver drops a pass or a defender sacks a QB when you needed to get an interception.

The Skills Trainer was personally approached with the hope of learning the new "Precision Modifier". Getting to test out the timing and various functions is the valuable thing here. What the Trainer didn't do was explain what "in range" actually means or go beyond just a handful of moves when there are 30 something combos possible.

-Madden Share: This is something that will become valuable as users get the game and start uploading their own personal content. During the evaluation period there were some files there to download but they may have just been tests from other users so it didn't make sense to spend time pulling any down not knowing whether they would make for quality useful content.
Files that can be uploaded/downloaded through Madden Share are rosters, playbooks, and slider sets. Video highlights can also be uploaded to the EA website.
Any roster set can be used to start a Connected Franchise including the user-edited ones obtained through Madden Share. Custom Playbooks can also be taken into CF.

-Ultimate Team and Online Play: Without many users to face online it would be inappropriate to judge Ultimate Team (which brings in the fun Seasons concept) or online play performance in general. Will update this section at a later date.

Many of the enhancements apparent in Madden NFL 25 were first introduced in NCAA Football 14. The two series share a gameplay development team which means Infinity Engine 2.0, work done to the offensive line, enhanced player control, and much more are found in both. It might be the more wide-open gameplay or the lesser talent on the field but NCAA 14 plays a much cleaner game than Madden 25.

Sloppy is the best way to describe Madden's gameplay this year. It feels that way when playing it and it looks that way when watching it. There are glimpses of good things - there's no doubt about that and it can still be fun to play - but overall it's hard not to walk away and say it's a mess despite that.

The Infinity Engine seems to have been downgraded not enhanced. There is a distinct lack of tackles appearing organic (or any impact between players or gang tackles) and instead you get an overload of frantic collisions and guys knocking into and off one another plus bizarre looking pileups. Everything is much stiffer than last year and even what was played back at E3.

CPU QB's are competent if not unrealistically so. Other than one or two boneheaded throws each game - even the highest rated QBs will do that - they march their teams up and down the field fairly consistently. Completion percentages in the demo were ridiculously high. They haven't been as bad in the final version of the game. Lower rated QBs might even struggle at times though that usually isn't for the entire game. The one time that happened was holding Brandon Weeden to under 50%. Most other games are around 70% or higher even from guys like Mark Sanchez.
There are a few reasons this seems to be the case. Few throws will hit the ground. They'll more likely be jarred loose in a hit or intercepted. QBs are generally accurate and they find receivers in big space pretty often. Whether poor zone or man coverage is to blame is difficult to determine.

The pass rush is also inconsistent. Most sacks aren't due to immediate pressure but end up as coverage sacks. In my franchise I had some success controlling Cameron Wake and forcing off-target throws. The user shouldn't be forced to play the D-line (and not everyone has a Wake) in order to get pressure on the QB.
CPU running backs can threaten and they tore me up a few times in my franchise season, but that becomes an afterthought to trying to find a way to stop the QB. Heavy blitzing may be needed to push the CPU into third and long situations where their success level dramatically drops. Third and short or mid they probably convert over 75% of the time when the actual NFL average on third downs is around 39%. CPU punters are still idiots and kick it into the end zone at every opportunity. The CPU kickers only missed one field goal against me the entire season (short and off the bar rather than wide).

The "Precision Modifier" is going to have its share of supporters and detractors. On one side it adds more dynamic and exciting events. On the other it doesn't balance out well in terms of risk and in some cases, with the right players and the right timing, can almost be unstoppable. I'm personally not a fan of it in concept or execution.

It's interesting EA made this an option because there is very little reason not to just hold down the left trigger at all times when running forward. In my franchise season there were two fumbles noted while using the modifier with a back or receiver out of 14 total on the season. Of course there were more instances where contact took place without the modifier activated than with it, but that still goes to show there is very little or no correlation to turnovers and using the modifier.

Going up against a shifty player in open space controlled by someone who has the modifier down will undoubtedly be frustrating. Even power guys, when they stiff arm, end up dragging the defender sometimes 10 yards down the field in that animation. There was also an instance where Darren Sproles stiff-armed a linebacker to the ground.

The CPU will use some modifier moves though somewhat infrequently. The over and over spinning seen in the demo definitely wasn't present in any of the games played with the final version. What they will do is awkwardly throw out stiff-arms when no one is even in range.

The read-option is a lot of fun to utilize and is represented well in Madden. While some thought it was too easy in NCAA Football this year there is more balance found in Madden considering the talent of the defenders, the rate of fumbles being higher, and the always looming risk of injury. A fragile quarterback is not going to be able to take hits during a game and survive it. There were also instances where the QB would make the right read and still get crushed by a defender who identified it. The CPU only used it a few times with Cam Newton and Geno Smith running it sparsely in my franchise season.

The one play I may start removing from my playbook: HB Draws. It seems as though the offensive line frequently gets pushed so far back that the runner has no where to go once the ball is handed off. The one I'll be using more frequently: WR Screens. Against a soft defense getting the ball in open space to a quick and agile target can result in big plays.

As was the case with the demo there are issues with catch attempts at the sidelines. Quite often a receiver won't make a concerted effort to get their feet down when they seemingly have plenty of space to do so. Even top rated receivers don't always complete the catch in bounds.

Deep shots downfield can also be troublesome. This is where most of the INTs came off the CPU and in pass breakups by the CPU. In one-on-one coverage on a leading-lob pass the ball rarely gets over the top. User picks are easy to make on those attempts. Even with a step on the defender the ball usually ends up short and incomplete or picked off.

Those looking for more penalties will still not be satisfied. My team committed 12 over the 17 games played in the season. A few of them were self-inflicted (defensive offsides, false starts, late hits on QB) and the others were some for clipping, a few personal fouls for late hits on the sideline, one facemask, and one offensive pass interference that was called on my left guard.

The Hit Stick finally has some use again as big hits do force some fumbles. Holding the stick down also activates "Heat Seeker Tackling" which acts somewhat as a magnet when in range but if out of range results in a big whiff.

I went into injuries at length in the franchise write-up. There are lots of them, which doesn't make it unrealistic, but the same players seem to get hit with them over and over and its usually key contributors.

In fourth and short situations coming out in goal line the CPU does not match unless near the goal line. That makes sneaks essentially automatic. The only thing to worry about would be the QB getting injured.

The booth will automatically review a close touchdown as they should, but never review close turnovers and the user isn't even given the option of manually challenging them. This was something mentioned last year as an issue that apparently didn't make it onto the radar to get fixed. This omission upsets me.

There are five camera angles including "Legacy" which is the standard one from recent years. Considering how many expressed hatred towards the new standard camera angle that was locked in for the demo it's important to note that.

Like everything else in Madden NFL 25 presentation has its ups and downs. There are only a few different game openings, personalized celebrations look alright but they're done within awkward cut scenes, the halftime show isn't a halftime show, the lack of ties during games to league events dampen interest in Franchise mode, and commentary hasn't taken a big jump. The intro videos for primetime or playoff games in Franchise mode though are pretty cool.

Commentary is steady but it's surprising how little has been added or old lines thinned out. If I have to hear Phil Simms criticize a QB for checking down again, the one where he says it's just the QB worried about stats, my head might explode. In general for year two in the booth there is still too much left unspecified in their calls. "What a win for that one team" is literally something that was said after a game.

Danielle Bellini is the new sideline reporter and fits in well but most of what she has to report is very generic and often leaves out identifying the team or player names. Where she's most valuable is reporting on injuries at different points in the game. Unfortunately even with those she's stuck saying something about how the team wouldn't tell her what was wrong with the player. "The team wouldn't say." So then what's the point?

The touchdown and sack celebrations look good upon first viewing. The more they're seen though the more looks wrong with them. Players will show up out of no where to celebrate, it'll happen in spots where the play hadn't ended, the camera view may be blocked by other players, or it's noticed that there are no other people actually on the field. What's worse though is how players just stop and stand there after crossing the goal line or catching a pass for a score before a celebration or replay kicks in.

Auto-replays also have issues with individuals being lingered on from a single camera for too long. In some cases players run towards the camera and end up out of frame as they approach it. The graphics, while still largely excellent, seem far more muddied and flat (the lighting in particular) than recent years.

Rain and snow thin the crowd out to about 60% of capacity. Even in franchise for the Super Bowl fans apparently won't show up due to bad weather. Outside of a few team specific crowd chants or PA sounds the atmosphere in games is uniform from stadium to stadium. Hopefully with the "Living Worlds" part of the next-gen Ignite Engine they'll get some definition to the unique experiences that each fan base and stadium delivers. It should also be noted that the crowd still reacts improperly to the results of challenges. They'll boo a favorable result.

The post-game "Never Say Never Moment of the Game" is almost always a let down. Generally the play of the game is identified as a field goal that didn't actually determine the outcome. Or even worse an extra point.

-The wind indicator is reversed. How this seems to happen year after year is beyond me. It can even be seen in how the rain or snow is being pushed one direction and the indicator pointing the opposite way. Keep that in mind with any kicks and adjust accordingly.
-Another release that doesn't include surprise onside kicks.
-Game results can be shared on Facebook but the share to Twitter functionality is gone.
-There is still no screenshot feature included. The next-gen systems will have that built in.
-If a team is running out the clock when kneeling and the opponent has no timeouts can we get a chew clock option for that in the future please?

Madden NFL 25 feels like a 10 week bridge to next-gen rather than hitting a pinnacle in the way the series did late in the PS2/Xbox generation. It may satisfy many - there certainly are improvements over last year both on the field and off despite the gripes that will be had - but there will sadly be no Madden reaching "classic" status during the 360 and PS3 generation.
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on August 30, 2013
For all the so called "improvements" the gameplay is still ridiculously terrible. I'm sorry but the left tackle is never going to pick up a blitzing corner on the right side, defensive tackles cannot chase down WR's in the open field every play, and 1 safety cannot cover sideline to sideline. You literally have to jack with the sliders again and again to have any kind of realism. So far I've been unable to figure out how to stop a team when i'm on defense. Every game the computer has 85% completion percentage. The WR drops in this game is stupid, 10 drops a game minimum. I seen someone comment on penalties, what penalties? I've played 15 games and have not seen a single flag yet. The gameplay has so many glitches and bugs its ridiculous. You get tackled then flop around on the ground like your having a seizure, only your knees are behind your head and your arms are coming out of your butt (and by the way your guy is injured). 3 games into my franchise and have 5 rb's out for the season. Awesome.

Why even have owner mode at all if this is the option you give us. You can set your prices 1 time and never have to adjust. You can build a new stadium the inagural season with $0. Half the league moves to new cities within 2 years of the franchise. You can move and get a new logo/jerseys but you can't pick the color scheme. You have media questions, a whopping 2 or 3 a season that so far seem to only hurt you no matter what you say.

Every season I hear about "gameplay improvements" and "new features". This is the same crap game i've been playing since 2006. They fail to even address the main gameplay issues. I'm officially done buying this game/series and cannot wait till the exclusive deal is up and some other company can give it a try. Total waste of $60.
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on August 30, 2013
Madden 25 is one of the most in depth football games I've laid my hands on yet! With the brand new infinity engine 2.0, your going to see a huge improvement with the gameplay.

Along side with the gameplay this game has improved most of its game modes as well. For those who like realistic football, this years madden allows you to do owners mode. By doing owners mode you are given the power to do what a typical owner does, from choosing ticket prices to deciding how much you want to charge for your teams jersey and more!!!! Make trades, hire new staff sign free agents and take the field to see how your team shapes out to be against the rest of the 31 teams in the league. Tired of the location of your team? This game mode allows you to relocate your team and pick a brand new name/jersey and stadium for them.

Overall Owners mode is going to keep you occupied for most of the time but if not, you also have the choice of playing ultimate team. More cards have been added into this mode and not to mention a brand new "head-to-head' season. In this mode you will compete with the community online to see who has the best team in madden. Almost forgot to mention, in ultimate team this year there is a brand new chemistry feature. Whether you want your team to be a long Pass to any of the other 8 team chemistry's, this feature separates your team from others and gives you more of a challenge to make sure your players will work with each other. Challenge is always good!!!

Madden 25 has done a good job this year but there are still some room for improvement. Overall, its a must buy for all you football and sports fans out there!
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on September 22, 2013
Having been a Madden-loyalist since 93, I always have high hopes for the next iteration. In hindsight, this franchise may have peaked in the mid-2000's though I can only speak for the PS2 versions.

This year's version seems "rushed" which is the edited version of my actual response (half-a**ed attempt).


The menus, taking a somewhat Microsoft Windows 8 feel, is cluttered, confusing and detrimental to quick play with only a modicum of changes. I can't speak for everyone but I do not need image menus where text menus, telling me exactly what I need, will suffice.


Ok, I get it. Having been a huge Barry Sanders fan and having voted for his cover, I understand the lean towards implementing running game techniques to allow people like me to relive Barry's glory years. Here it comes... But, not every running play is a 3-yard gain; even for the user. The new running tools are appreciated but overdone. Who needs an offensive line, or a well-rated one at that, when I start with a 12-foot hole and can make the backers and secondary look utterly ridiculous with a juke move?

The defense....stick to 4-3 if you're playing at any type of competitive level. I'm a 3-4 guy and stubbornly stick with it and have come to expect giving pass plays over the middle as well as seeing my linebackers getting manhandled by linemen who get to the second level with relative ease. I could cherry-pick my personnel but what fun is that?


Awful. Simply awful. It almost seems like EA took several months off of Madden development hoping to dupe us with repetitive animations, commentary and my personal pet peeve, the horrible camera angles on play highlights. There is nothing like watching that 20-yard fade route TD being replayed seeing only turf and the receivers hand. Or seeing some random camera man's head while they are trying to feature a player walking the sidelines. Or reliving a 50-yard TD run by seeing the last 1/2 second of that play. Ugghhh....whatever, EA.

The commentary is repetitive, game-to-game and even play-to-play sometimes. I am not certain if that annoys me more than hearing that a AI pass-play was completed for a 5-yard gain when I intercepted the ball for a 5-yard run back.

Danielle Bellini's commentary seems hardly relevant at times. Mostly, I tune out or bypass the equally irrelevant half-time animations.

The physics engine seems off. If players turning into rag dolls doesn't bother you, than good for you. I personally think that EA got the physics right in past iterations but is now trying too hard.

On a side note because it's not that important, if you make a player, coach or owner, expect some awful physical malformities to occur like caveman-like forheads, missing eyes etc. Not a big deal to me since I rarely stick around for the mid-play animations.


Not to forget any stone left unturned, this game will freeze on you. To be certain, I have the Xbox360 version. Be sure to save often. The game will freeze on me 3-of-4 times it is played. This is a huge issue for me and I walk away. With the effort it takes to get to the offline career games, I opt to simply walk away frustrated. I'm sure we will see a patch from EA though that is no guarantee to fix anything.

Overall, I understand the pressure of keeping this franchise on top with new additions/features to keep people coming back. It feels now that it would be like an artist adding stone to a stone block to make his sculpture. It's time to find the features that worked in the past, what works now (even it that answer may be 'nothing') and refine the game rather than dump more useless features that results in less-than-spectacular results in the gameplay and user experience.

I may be speaking for others but what we mostly want is updated rosters, refined gameplay and a feature or two that piques our interest.
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on September 18, 2013
Madden 13 had mad banging my head against the wall with no franchise mode. I was hurt. I like to play online as well as off and when I play offline in franchise mode I like to play other team games within the play week, divisional matchups especially. When I found out I could no longer do this with 13. It was over for me and I traded the game in a got the Madden 12. Which I had before but was stolen. Now with this Madden 25? Not much difference. This xp point system you have to gain points to upgrade your players attribute is awful and shouldn't be in a game like this. They shouldve kept it simple let them progress through the seasons like before. Then players flipflop around like ragdolls and please like 13 don't bump into your linemen with your halfback, runplay over. And your halfback more than likely won't make it past 3weeks because he'll seriously injured by week3. Recievers can't catch a ball in the open to save their lives, the drop passes in this game is frustrating. Again your tackles are only good at blocking on the strongside, weakside blitz your sacked even if you put your halfback/fullback to block. Well sense you have to gain a hell of a lot of points to up their progression you'll be going through this season after season bc you'll never have enough points to share with all your players on your roster. Now I know why when Madden 12 had came out I had soooo much fun with it and I concidered as one of the EAsports best. Full franchise season mode, you can chose to upgrade your players yourself or let cpu do it which is determine by your players success on the field which I like the best. The undrafted free agents being invited to try for a roster spot during the preseason. Scouting mode for potentials picks. If Madden 12 had the graphics and better timed and more non repetitive commentary as 13-25 and you can just download the updated roster year after. I would never have to buy another one of these over additioned overdone new featured which in my opinion is a waste of space on my memory chip, to many windows game again. But being the football fan that I am I got it anyway knowing I would be disappointed again. can't believe I did it again.
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While I can't get into all of the technical mumbo jumbo, I can say that I have not really had this title long enough to make a huge statement. I was ready to be done with the Madden franchise after last year, but chose to give it one more run. Honestly, I am doing it solely for the GM mode, to see if I get ANY rush at all from the game. Since I have only had it a few hours, I guess I can only say that it is okay. $60 worth of okay? Only if you have money to burn.

Perhaps Madden should do like many PC games and simply offer updates each year that you can download for a SIGNIFICANTLY LESS amount instead of having to shell out the money for the whole 'sh-bang' if you will. I think I may be officially done after this edition.

Madden used to be THE sports game event of the year. just never seems to live up to our expectations. Maybe we just have them set too high.

***24 Hours Later*** Update.

So, this will probably bring the "boo birds" out like Philly fans on Santa, but I am actually starting to REALLY have fun with this game. As a fan of games like Roller Coaster Tycoon and Sim City, I enjoy "management" style games. Being the owner of the Seahawks is not something that is likely to ever happen to matter how high the lottery climbs (unless one of my Zombie novels becomes a movie or TV series, but that is another story), but to wield my financial wand over my franchise is something that I personally enjoy.

And for all of these folks who are just so full of hatred and anger, I say simply, stop buying it. It is a choice. I did not actually pull the trigger on the purchase until two days prior. And I was hesitant to like the game, but I won't apologize for doing so. If you want REALISM, get off your behinds and call some friends, hit a nearby park, and play the game yourself. I did for several years, and have the ruined shoulder and knees and ankles that go along with it.

You will never get 100% realism from a VIDEO GAME. So just try to have fun.
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on November 3, 2013
So it's that time again, half way through the NFL regular season and we've been dabbling with Madden long enough to form an opinion.
I don't like it.

I tend to focus on the Franchise Modes when talking about Madden because I think that should be the primary focus of the game - re-creating the NFL regular season.

So this year instead of just 'franchise mode' there are 3 sub categories; Player, Coach and Owner.

Player takes the place of previous versions 'superstar' mode which was terrible at best. Madden 25 does little to improve except now you aren't forced to play a game in an infuriating first person view.

Owner is entirely new and pretty similar to something like Football Manager except no where near as in depth.

Coach is a watered down version of previous Franchise Modes.

So firstly lets take a look at what happens in an NFL season.

Currently Justin Blackmon has been suspended for substance abuse. Brandon Merriweather has been fined a lot, so has Ndamuhkong Suh. John Fox needs heart surgery and the Vikings have started 400 different QBs in only 8 games.

There have been two NFL games held in the UK with three scheduled next year. Coaches players and owners have all been in the media and we've had contract disputes as per usual.

Everything that happens in an NFL season will not ever appear in Madden. I don't know why, it just doesn't. I know their developers watch football for the actual game play (which is pretty much the same as previous years to be honest) but they definitely do not pay attention to anything other than what happens on the field.

For example Owner mode is the only time you can interact with the media. Anybody who follows the NFL through media will have noticed that actually owners are quite secretive and the players are most commonly in the media followed by coaches.
The media plays exactly zero part in player or coach mode...which is ridiculous. If EA want to create an experience then this has to be added in.
It was in Madden 09 (the one with Vince Young on the cover). I know because Terrell Owens was always getting ripped on by EA's random media generator and he had a poor chemistry rating. This kind of thing has not appeared in a Madden game since.

I know it says you can manage your team chemistry in coach mode but this is a lie. There is no feature for it. Nor is there a feature for in-season scouting has there has been in previous Maddens. You cannot even run a pro-day or put a player through drills. If you're a coach, knowing who you want to draft is fairly key and it was also one of the more enjoyable parts of previous Franchise modes, team building.

Player mode is almost as pointless as Owner mode. As a player you control only yourself. You can select an existing one or make your own. Ok, cool. Then what? Then you simulate at least 60% of the game (depending how good your defense is at getting you the ball back or how bad your offense is) and if say you've picked a receiver then you have lots of running about not making catches to look forward to. The only viable position to pick in the game is QB.
So in your home screen what happens? You can practice or you can demand a trade. Practice doesn't actually serve any point other than to familiarize yourself with the controls, you can't show off to the coaches to get higher in the depth chart for example. You can't talk to the media, you can't send your player out on a wild night and miss team meetings, nope you just sim the games.

Coaching is also very limited. You cannot game plan, you cannot adjust your substitutes out of the game. What I mean is when you get to the play book in a game you can choose packages and substitute players permanently into formations but you have to do this within the 20 second play clock. You can't do it before hand so you're prepared in a game. You're constantly trying to manage your formations and packages within the play clock run off. Y'know, because all NFL coaches wing it.

Okay so you can do this thing where you gain xp as a coach. If your QB passes for 300 yards you get 500 xp for example. This xp is used to progress players. Why?
This isn't dependent on your coaching prowess but your ability to play the game. Everything goes out of the window because the AI is so easily beatable (I'll tell you how at the end). The progression is also not related to any in-game impact. Say a Cornerback gets a couple of interceptions and you get some xp to spend. You can put it anywhere! So he gets 2 INTs and his tackle rating can be improved. Why?
Also is this an NFL sports game or a fantasy role playing game? I don't see the need for this xp malarcky and back story stuff. It's best kept to Skyrim and other games that know how to do it.

I'll comment on the game play although briefly because I see very few improvements from previous years. The only big improvement is I can finally see the sidelines!
In previous maddens (08,09,10) you could 'look off' defenders with your QB, this means make your QB look to the left but intend to throw right to fool defenders. You cannot do this any more. It is a huge part of being an NFL QB and it's not been a part of madden since 2010.

Wide Receivers will still prefer to watch the ball rather than stick their arms out and catch it. They also like to run away from the ball whilst trying to catch it. Defenders still love to run towards it. This is fine, defenders do attack the ball do NFL Wide-outs! Have they never seen Calvin Johnson or Brandon Marshall? They are aggressive with their hands.

So, forget throwing a deep ball. It won't work. Ever.

Linebackers are still clueless. I've gone through a whole season with my Middle Backer (usually they get 80 - 110 tackles) getting 25 tackles. They don't attack the run and they just stand there during pass plays. This is quite a dynamic position in the NFL and it is irrelevant in Madden 25. I know we've had superhuman linebackers leaping across the pitch to bat down balls thrown 10 feet in the air but at least they were doing something.
Defensive lines don't work. QBs actually get pressured and sacked fairly regularly. Madden offensive lines are impossibly good and hardly ever miss a blitz pick up. You will routinely get 6- 7 seconds to make a pass even when playing as the Oakland Raiders.

The AI is stupid. There is a formula to beat any team in Madden and has been since Madden 12. Start your drive with a run play up the middle (an iso or blast). Then a slant play. Rinse and repeat until the defense finally gets a clue to step up to the line of scrimmage. Play action and roll out to the right, hit the Tight End on a corner route for at least 25 yards. This strategy works particularly well against the Texans for some reason.

My point is the AI never adapts. Watch an NFL defense. If you call 3 running plays in a row the linebackers will step closer to the line of scrimmage and maybe a safety will come down into the box too. If you call 3 pass plays then they will step back. In Madden the defense sticks to whatever it's 'plan' is with ridiculous stubbornness so as soon as you figure out if they're close or staying back then you can just rinse and repeat a play repeatedly. Yes, certain plays will work against certain teams in real life (take the spread tight end option play that the Bears stole from the Broncos to use against Washington this year - something else you can't do in coach mode by the way) but not for every single play of the entire drive.

I will say this though. The commentary is finally okay. I don't like Jim Nantz and Phil Sims even on the real TV but at least it flows and feels natural rather than the so obviously cut and pasted versions of previous Maddens.

So in summary this years Madden has yet again reduced franchise mode features and split a watered down game mode into three very very weak modes. The game play is barely improved considering the price tag and the graphics are the same, if not just marginally better. It's a lack luster and rushed effort. Also, the famous Madden playlists of real songs has been scraped in favour of some rubbish film-style 'epic' music.

I'm actually going to re-sell this version.
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on August 30, 2013
Its insulting. EA wanted the exclusive contract to the NFL so they could be the only game in town; therefore, I am unable to take my business elsewhere.

This game is just flat out poor and I'm shocked to see all of the people who defend it. EA, is releasing a game that will gross hundreds of millions of dollars, for a league that generates billions and this is the best you can do. EA sold 1.6 million copies(projected) this week and if they gross $30/game, that's nearly $50 million. That's in one week. So far, they have seen an 8% increase from last year.

I'm not a beta tester, the bugs that we are seeing in this game (software) are unacceptable. Relying on patches after release to fix your game is lazy and the people who pay all of their salaries should demand better. EA is a monopoly, so we cant take our business elsewhere, which means the only way to impact the market, is to boycott or righteously inform EA of their errors and their obligations to the customer. Then hope that they heed that warning.

Maybe EA cut back on the development for this gen to focus on the next gen. If so, they should have sold this game at a discount and explained that it is a 'lite' version. Otherwise they are duping people deliberately. But I don't think its that well thought out, I think Madden, for the next gen systems will be just as poorly made. EA has very little incentive to improve their product at all, because they will make money being the only business in town.

I have righteously informed you of your errors and obligations. Boycott is my last option.
88 comments71 of 100 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on August 27, 2013
Original Author: Steven Mayernick

The 25th anniversary of Madden brings a renewed hope in the series following what was a promising iteration last year. With a refined version of the infinity engine, a running mechanic known as the "precision modifier," and the introduction of owner mode, there's no questioning the Madden team's ambition this cycle.

While these additions hardly render Madden 25 another "roster update," I can't help but question the philosophy of the development team as a whole this year. Instead of solidifying the solid foundation they laid down a year ago, the team decided to again implement a number of new features. In so doing, we are left with a game that suffers from many of the same issues it did last year.


Madden 13 took a very positive step in delivering an authentic TV broadcast. While there are some clear improvements in Madden25, the CBS style music is gone, as are the TV style intros. Instead, we have game previews that feature a clip of the city - which is a neat addition, but it gets old quickly. The main menu got a much needed overhaul as well, with the Madden team opting for a tiled menu. I find the menu itself incredibly counter-intuitive and confusing relative to NCAA Football 14s similarly styled menu.

That said, there are some definite positives as far as presentation. Crowd noise is still nowhere close to where it needs to be, but it is distinctly better than it has been in years past. Crowds seem to react better during big plays, and some stadium chants have been brought over from NCAA Football 14. Sideline reporter Danielle Belinni joins the team with pregame, halftime, and injury updates, but never has anything particularly specific or interesting to say. For whatever reason, Belinni chooses to talk about the backup quarterback during each halftime presentation.

The broadcast team of Nantz and Simms is vastly improved, both in the accuracy of their commentary and refreshing new awareness of everything going on with both your team and around the league. Gone are the days of them referring to Eli Manning as the reigning Super Bowl Champion six years into franchise mode. Instead, the commentary is dynamic and fluid - ever evolving along with your virtual football world.

As I packed up my bags and announced I was moving the Jaguars to London, the duo discussed it at length during my final home game. When I landed in London, they spoke about how fantastic it was to see the NFL finally go global, and how they think the market in London will support a team well. At one point, I found myself surrendering a ton of third down conversion, only to have Nantz point out how much I'd struggled in the same department the previous week. He was right, I most certainly had.

The default camera angle has seen a slight change, as users will now be slightly more zoomed out then they were in previous iterations. It definitely takes some getting used to, but after a while, I grew fond of it. The "zoomed" camera angle is another option along with broadcast. Though I found the angle unplayable in NCAA Football 14, the zoomed camera angle is surprisingly enjoyable in Madden 25. The camera backs up quickly and seamlessly enough for you to have vision of the full field, though pre-snap you have to move left and right to see your X and Z receivers.

Though much of the presentation upgrades are welcomed, the game is not without its share of minor annoyances in this department. The cut scenes of coaches on the sideline suffer from the Soap Opera Effect, a term videophiles use to describe a motion smoothing mechanic used to compensate for blurring. For those less technical, you'll see a notice a very unnatural sliding effect when cutting to the coaches. It's nauseating, though I would expect some people notice it more than others.

Even more annoying is the field goal kicking camera, which EA has still left at an awkwardly high angle that makes it difficult to kick. By this point, I would've expected EA to come to terms with the fact that everyone hits RT/R2 to cycle back to the classic kicking camera, one much more conducive to accurate kicking.

All in all, the game atmosphere still feels somewhat listless. Writing this review whilst watching an NFL preseason game just reinforces that opinion, as the preseason crowd in Jacksonville is substantially louder and more responsive then my Madden NFC Championship game played in MetLife Stadium earlier today.


Madden 25 introduces the new precision modifier (LT/L1), a gameplay mechanic that gives users complete control of their ball carrier. Bigger backs feel much different than scat backs, and the moves you can pull off seem very dependent on the ratings of the ball carrier. Having said that, the moves in general seem a bit overpowered, if only because even the most athletic of defenders seem a whole lot less agile than their offensive counterparts.

The Infinity Engine is back and thankfully much improved. Gone are the days of running into your offensive lineman and falling down. Instead, running backs will maneuver through and around the big boys, as they realistically navigate their way out of the backfield and through gaps. The game seems to truly reward patient runners - waiting to find that opening and accelerate through it.

The force impact system and stumble mechanic, which were both present in NCAA 14, are also in Madden 25. While the stumble mechanic feels more responsive in Madden, the force impact system is still a bit overpowered. Far too often am I seeing small backs truck big LBs and safeties they simply have no business trucking.

Also present is the foot planting that was in NCAA Football 14 as well. The foot planting is, by far, the best addition gameplay. Zig zag runs are gone, as you will now see a player have plant and drive to shift his momentum while changing directions. I'm happy to report that the speed at which they do so is contingent upon that player's acceleration and agility ratings. Unfortunately, the game plays substantially more arcade than NCAA Football 14 in this regard, as player movements seem less pronounced and nuanced.

Run blocking was completely revamped as well. Seldom do you see a blocker miss an assignment, and pulling guards are much quicker getting across the line to pick up a defender. While the logic itself is refreshingly realistic, run blocking in general is highly overpowered. Tight ends drive good defensive ends back 5 yards, and there is still some suction blocking present. Several times I've seen defenders beat their blockers and re-engage for no reason whatsoever, particularly against running plays.

The passing game remains largely the same, at least offensively. Precision passing is still too powerful, and lob passes are rarely a viable choice. Indeed, passing trajectory is in need of a serious overhaul, as the game rewards players who unrealistically throw strikes the second their player gets a bit of separation on a corner route or post pattern. In reality, those balls need more air under them, as the angle of the throw makes it easy for the defender to bat down a line-drive throw. Additionally, there still seems to be little differentiation between top quarterbacks and fourth or fifth tier ones.

Coverage is, without a doubt, the worst it's been in some time. While there have been noticeable improvements to the buzz zone (players won't creep up into the flat), deep safety play and hook zones are abysmal. Zone defenders seem lost, and completely oblivious to their ever-changing surroundings. If you run a slant through cover 2 sink, defenders will drop in their specific zones and watch as the receiver slices right through them, making no attempt to pass off assignments or adjust accordingly.

Safety play suffers from the same, as even the best safeties seem content to sit back in their zone irrespective of what's happening on the field. I ran four verticals against the CPU on All Madden and watched my outside receiver get locked up by Darrelle Revis, while my slot receiver blew past the linebacker. Instead of adjusting to help the linebacker who had clearly been beaten, the safety stayed put in no man's land, in no position to make a play on either potential throw.

Even more so than zone, off man coverage is entirely useless. While curls and outs remain the two dominant routes, there is really no route an off man defender plays well at all. I saw 65 overall WR Michael Preston beat Revis in off man coverage on curls and out routes 20/20 times on All Madden difficulty. While I will concede an out route should be very hard to stop in off man coverage, the rating differences between the two players should mitigate that advantage to a large extent. As for curls? In NCAA Football 14, off man defenders play curls and comebacks substantially better than they do in Madden.

While off man and zone are weak, 2 man under is again overpowered. I find it incredibly frustrating that the only reliable coverage in Madden is seemingly too reliable. Generally speaking, wheel routes and slants should eat up 2 man under, but the latter seems to result in far too many interceptions this year. Slants can work, but only under the right circumstances. If you're lined up against Richard Sherman, even Calvin Johnson struggles to get off man under with a slant. Comebacks are a route that can't be pressed, and seem to be the only consistent counter to man under this year.

Pass blocking, much like run blocking, is far too strong on default settings. The pass rush is virtually non-existent; the little pass rush you do generate is always from the LE spot. Why the LT remains disproportionately dominant against the RE is truly baffling to me, but one can only hope this issue will be addressed in the next generation.

Madden 25 does, however, recognize the ever-growing trend of read option/pistol offenses in the NFL. Gamers with fast quarterbacks will have more plays and weapons at their disposal this time around, and it's nicely balanced in my opinion. If you're going to run with your QB, be advised you run the risk of an injury (yes, QBs can and will get injured this year) or a fumble. Defensively, you can set your defensive read (stay on QB or follow pitch man), which helps a great deal.

CPU clock management and play calling has noticeably improved. The CPU will no longer base an offense around draw plays or screens, though the former are still called too often in my opinion. Clock management has also improved dramatically. Now good QBs will run the 2 minute drill very effectively, using timely timeouts and spiking the ball when needed. Speaking of clock management, why Madden has again neglected a "chew clock" feature is beyond me. It's been a truly great addition to the NCAA Football series, and certainly would do wonders for Madden.

Special teams play remains largely unchanged, though the foot planting will certainly make kick returns more fun and realistic. Unfortunately, coverage teams still don't stay disciplined enough, crashing in on the outside, allowing a savvy user to manipulate and bait the coverage team inside, only to cut it back outside for an easy chunk of yardage.

Overall, the game itself feels fast and aracdey. While some of the gameplay additions translate very well on the field, the blocking logic is simply overpowered in both the running and passing games. The failure to address passing trajectories and coverages is mind boggling, and really holds the gameplay back from surpassing NCAA Football 14.

Connected Franchise/Owner Mode

Owner mode is back in Madden 25, and it's as good as ever. Take on the backstory of former player, lifelong fan, or financial mogul as you take over your franchise - with each backstory being tied to a few inherent and obvious advantages and disadvantages. You can also choose to take over as an existing owner, with all real owners licensed and in the game.

After taking over your franchise, you can rebuild your stadium, or even move (provided your stadium is in rough enough shape). There are 17 locations available, all of which are realistic football markets. Be careful, though, as you have to gauge fan interest in those markets and fan base styles (hardcore, bandwagon, etc). Once you settle on a location, you can choose to re-name (or maintain) your team name. Each city has 3 pre-determined names, which comes in handy for Phil Simms and Jim Nantz when discussing your team in-game. You also have 3 pre-determined uniform options, all of which have different fan ratings.

Relocation is a tremendous addition, and a feature I expect many will have a lot of fun with. I applaud the decision to pre-render uniforms, and limit the cities and names (if only so they could get the appropriate audio). It would be nice to have the ability to re-align the divisions, however. Moving the Bills to Los Angeles doesn't quite make sense from that stand point.

Being a successful owner is a balancing act- you have to balance team success, popularity, your staff, your stadium, concessions, merchandise, and ticket sales. Sure, it's enticing to move the Jaguars to London, but at what cost? Expect to be handicapped financially, at least initially. Why does this matter? For starters, all your bonus money comes from your "funds," or net revenue. You'll also need money to maintain and attract the best head coach, scout, and trainer - all of which have tangible benefits/drawbacks.

The mode forces you to make difficult decisions that affect both your bottom line and on-field performance. You can choose keep Tim Tebow in New England to use his personality rating (new this year) to sell tons of jerseys, but at what cost? What happens when Brady is gone and you need a reliable #1 or #2 quarterback? Make these decisions, but know why you're doing so. The media will scrutinize your every move, and you'll be tasked with choosing one of three responses that can affect team happiness, fan interest, and more.

Though having to assemble a staff is a lot of fun, one can't help but wonder why there are no coordinators or position coaches. I can only imagine how fun it would be to snag a stud coordinator from a rival franchise, or have to worry about that ambitious position coach who wants to be coordinator.

Connected franchise itself received a visual overhaul, and it looks great. Unlike the main menu, I find the franchise mode's menus very straight forward and easy to navigate. There are tabs for home, news, action, owner (if owner mode), team, and league. Statistical leaders, storylines, and standings are all easily accessible. The Twitter feed returns with some new material and pundits, and continues to make your franchise "world" come to life. The new trade center is much more user friendly, and there's finally a transaction log that documents every move that has been made.

While EA promised a much more intelligent CPU front office, I've had mixed results. To start, players like Giants DT Linval Joseph were inexplicably cut in the preseason. Joseph, who at age 24 is the highest rated DT on New York's roster, was the most egregious cut I saw, but there were a number of head scratchers. Michael Crabtree (91 ovr) was cut from the 49ers in the preseason of year 2. Like Joseph, Crabtree was in a contract year. I can't understand why the CPU would cut a marquee player that happens to be in a contract year. Even if they can't afford to resign him, a player like that should play out his contract, then simply not resigned.

Draft logic seems to be hit or miss as well. With the 2nd overall pick in the 2014 draft, the New York Jets took a quarterback, just one year removed from selecting Geno Smith high in the 2nd round. When I went to look at Geno's stats, I saw he was never even given a chance to play and prove himself.

As far as free agency is concerned, I saw players going to places that made sense. Reggie Wayne retired and Indy went out and grabbed Hakeem Nicks, while the Giants countered by bolstering a weak position (MLB) with the signing of Desmond Bishop. Unfortunately, I'm still seeing good, young players like Brandon Browner go through free agency without an offer.

The draft lacks any presentation upgrades, which is a bit of disappointment. Having said that, the storylines continue to be engaging and creative, and make the scouting experience more interesting. I still don't understand the decisions to allow people to rack up scouting points - it would be more realistic to require users to use up their allotted points every week or two, then have the points reset.

It's even more disappointing that we are still without a draft board, which would help users stay organized and be able to draft well if they happen to miss the draft itself. As far as the presentation itself, I was hoping for a mock 1st round draft (or some sort of preview), and final draft grades. These are features that have been removed and really need to find their way back into the game.

Draft player pools seem more top-heavy this year, which is welcomed. The classes themselves seem to have particular strengths and weaknesses, while each equipped with a unique set of gems and busts. I would like to see the game account for the fact that RBs are seldom drafted high in the first round these days, but the projections look much better overall.

There are some very minor annoyances in franchise mode, like the inability to hit one button and spend all your xp on upgrading a particular attribute. Speaking of upgrades, I still can't understand why you have the ability to upgrade (or even see) the development rating. Another minor annoyance is wind direction is still backwards in online franchise mode, which I find unfathomable. Also, though the sim statistics look good overall, but about half of the league's quarterbacks will have completion percentages under 50%. Lastly, they removed the ability to advance a franchise multiple weeks.

The addition of owner mode is great, don't get me wrong. Nevertheless, I can't help but feel like there are several important facets of franchise mode that weren't developed at all. While there is a player personality rating, none of that factors into contract negotiations or free agency. Some players should refuse to be back ups, play in small markets, or get paid less than the best at their respective position. As it stands now, contract negotiations are all too predictable and unrealistic. There are several factors that go into attracting a player that Madden just doesn't take into account.

Along the same lines, there is no risk/reward factor when putting together a roster. Without a player happiness rating (something tells me it's there but not impactful enough and not visible) and team chemistry ratings, personnel decisions are too black and white. The game will start with an 86 overall Randy Moss sitting in free agency. A player like that should force you to make a difficult decision - do I bring him on and potentially bring down team happiness and chemistry? As it stands now, there is no known tradeoff.

The resigning process should be a game within a game. Back loading and extending contracts should be options, and the occasional contract holdout would be a nice wrinkle, too. Again, players should have a distinct set of preferences and personalities that dictate their willingness to sign, and for how much.

Other Modes and Features

I'm not traditionally an ultimate team mode fan, but the addition of a team chemistry rating (yes, Ultimate Team has it but Franchise Mode doesn't) makes the mode a surprising amount of fun for me. Additionally, there are specific types of offenses and defenses you can build your team around, all of which seem to generate players that fit your team's strengths and weaknesses.

The Nike Skills Training Mode is a very nice addition as well. If you're new to the series, or simply want to get familiar with some of the new features, the training mode enables you to do so in a very straight forward manner. With all the new option plays in the game, I wouldn't be surprised if many vets lean on the training mode to get a feel for how it translates in Madden.

The All Madden team was a pretty genius idea, and fails to disappoint. Running read option with vintage Michael Vick is pure bliss, as is tossing balls up to Randy Moss in his prime. It was a trip down memory lane I suggest you all take, even if it's just once.


Madden 25 is hardly a worthy celebration for such a storied franchise. While many reviewers believe the changes made this year were granular in nature, I couldn't disagree more. I feel strongly the development team shot for the moon, but failed to secure the shuttle before doing so. By ignoring the development of many fundamental facets of both gameplay and franchise mode, the game struggles to impress despite some very nice additions.

It is worth noting, however, that many of the gameplay concerns can be resolved through slider adjustments, which seem to all work this year. While it's important to recognize the functionality of sliders, it's even more important to ensure they don't become a crutch for developers. Sliders should be a tool to make subtle changes based on player preference, not to make major changes out of necessity.

The game, to me, continues to reward stick skills, while discounting strategy. Most frustrating is the fact that some of these gameplay decisions can't be blamed on the current generation of hardware, as NCAA Football 14 does them much better. This leads me to believe that the emphasis was off for the Madden team - as it seems they built a game that has some great looking bullet points on the back of the box, but fails to deliver on the field.


+ Infinity Engine 2.0 is a huge upgrade over last year's version
+ Owner mode is well executed and an overall blast
+ Improved blocking logic, foot planting, and the precision modifier make the running game a blast


- Coverage on the whole is horrendous
- The offensive line is far too dominant
- Contract renegotiations and free agency remain stale and unrealistic
99 comments26 of 36 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on September 14, 2013
I never write video game reviews, but for this game it gave me such a bad taste in my mouth that I had to.

First off the single player is horribly non existent due to the AI being terrible and completely ruining any fun in the game. Your own Offensive line will run to where they are supposed to be due to your play call and just stop and sit there while the defending team will intercept the ball constantly.

As far as online goes, the AI transfers over to it as well with just awful plays. The game just feels "off" and clunky in so many ways. Now I remember why I haven't played Madden in years.

Will be trading this in.
22 comments36 of 50 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse

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