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.
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!
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.
on October 23, 2013
I'm not sure that scrambling the menus and making minor changes constitutes a "new" version. What is new is that Madden 25 freezes or cannot carry functions that worked flawlessly in the past. Unlike past versions, users must sign into EA's servers at the outset. If you already have an EA logon and attempt to login to EA via Madden, the software responds your logon and password are already in use and that users should create another logon/password.
Game functionality is not any better than 2012 and, in some cases, has suffered. In some games, the computer simulates late afternoon with both sun and shade. Unfortunately, users are likely to have difficultly seeing the action in the shade. In other games,season-ending injuries to 6 or 7 players on one team can occur. Similar to 2012, it is difficult (or impossible) to override the ridiculous software demands when attempting trades. Users cannot duplicate trades or free agent signings that actually occur in the NFL. While rosters are reasonably accurate at the beginning of the season, there is no roster update during the season. Actual free agents are not accurately listed in Madden either at the start of the season or as players are cut in pre-season. Ironically, the very limited IPAD version of Madden can easily update rosters but the more elaborate XBOX version does not offer updates (or the method for updating is not readily apparent). Potential buyers should be forewarned that the Madden game does not contain printed instructions but a skeletal version of instructions is available on the game DVD. A more elaborate version is available on the EA web site.
I have been playing this game for years and the game seems to be steadily declining in both reliability and functionality while other games are gaining in these respects. It would be nice if this game was available in a PC version since PC functionality (last seen in 2008?) was more sophisticated and user friendly than Xbox in 2013. On to Madden 26!
on September 18, 2013
I have been playing Madden since 2012. I thought last years edition was really good. Madden 25 seems to take a step back regarding the passing and defensive game. When passing, unless you have an open receiver or can control your receiver well, you will almost always throw into coverage which makes passing more difficult. It is very difficult to lead the receiver without controlling and moving the receiver to a point of interest. It is equally tedious to play difficult as in a number of situations your defense will be out of step against the offense with almost no way to stop a tight end, slot receiver or running back unless you know what you are doing. As a matter of fact, the Madden 25 Prima guide states that the defense plays behind the offense in man coverage. With regards to zones, the defensive players don't move much at all which makes the game harder because by the time you click to a defender, more than likely the defender is out of position to stop his offensive counterpart. Another thing that is so troubling is that in this edition, if you like to air the ball out, you will throw numerous interceptions which in my opinion doesn't make the game fun. Many times with the controls, the quarterback cannot throw over defenders and at times make interceptions that even the pros themselves would have trouble making. For instance, a running back traveling from the backfield cannot run straight through the line. They curve out and right into the path of a safety which makes it difficult to throw to them. Since I am no expert at playing Madden, this game can be very frustrating because it forces you to operate within certain limitations offensively and defensively that will only help you rack up losses while playing online against opponents. One other thing regarding passing the ball. I have noticed at least from my standpoint that when I pass distances over 10 to 15 yards, the ball seems to hang in the air longer and is delayed getting to the target which will result in an interception. This has happened to me numerous times and is so frustrating because I have had players wide open only to see a defender quickly rush in and intercept. I like Madden, but I want a game me better options against some of the better opponents and this game doesn't quite do it. I don't think it is worth buying for the new Xbox one. It is a difficult game to master and I wouldn't need another edition in which the game play lags.
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.
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.
on August 27, 2013
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. Now...it 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 me...no 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.
on December 21, 2013
After reading the reviews on Amazon, I was somewhat reluctant to purchase this year's update of Madden. Its basically the same game year after year (more or less), so it wasn't a necessary upgrade. But that's also true with the bulk of sports games anyways. I picked it up for a more then reasonable price off Amazon on a lightning deal and I am glad I did.
The presentation is LEAGUES above last year's game. Last year's game lacked theatrics and was very staid. I really enjoy the attempts at drama with the camera cuts to players and coaches throughout the game. The videos that introduce the teams before a match-up are also very well done. But then again, NFL Films is easily the best sports production company around. However, putting these nuts and bolts aside, lets get down to the most important piece. Gameplay.
The gameplay is better in some ways and worse in others. An improvement (or at least I think it is) is that it is not as easy to catch a ball or catch an interception. Interceptions are far scarcer then last year's game, where I frequently threw two or three picks a game. Receivers catching a ball is no longer an automatic thing either, which I find more accurate and true to the game of football. A negative is that defense seems non-existent. No matter what kind of coverage I play or what I do, it seems impossible to stop offenses. This is (ironically) accurate to the NFL this year, but I still don't like it in a game. I also extremely dislike how receivers and running backs can break three, four, even five or six tackles at times. Or how I can come impossibly close to sacking a quarterback who is basically dead to rights and he'll pull away miraculously to complete some ridiculous throw. Oh and this isn't reserved for elite teams either.
These are annoying and nagging issues, but I also feel that the positives outweigh the negatives. This year's entry is more challenging (and fun) then last year's, where I was constantly putting up 40 or 50 points on teams. If you can get it for a good price, then its worth it.
on May 23, 2014
Huge fan of Madden,.They just don't make the game user friendly AT ALL!,.On defense YOU CANT MOVE,.your players where you want to,.They just revert back to where they started,.SO U BASICALLY have to use all the the CRAPPY generic defenses the game gives you,.I am not saying this for blitz purposes,.For coverage as well,.I have a DREAM of what the PERFECT madden game would be and,..THEY ARE STILL A LONG WAY AWAYS! Head scratching to say the least