Madden NFL 25 review 0

It takes a lot to make it in the NFL. You need speed, strength, dedication and most importantly, consistency. The later is the problem with Madden NFL 25; though the game features what could be the best on field product the franchise has seen in years, none of the new features are consistent enough to make this a must buy. This is still a fantastic football experience, but a familiar one none the less.

Developed by: EA Sports
Published by:
EA Sports
Genre:
Football Sim
Platform:
PS3,Xbox 360, Wii U
What works:
Infinity Engine continues to evolve | Still the only game in town|running game is much improved| Great presentation..sometimes…|
What doesn’t work:
A lot of reused content| a lot of cut corners|
★★★½☆

The most noticeable difference between this year’s game and that of year’s past is just how fluid the running game feels. Thanks to the new precision modifiers, a new mode which allow you total control over your performance on the field. Say you’re running with your back and coming up on a defender, holding the left stick and flicking the stick in any direction will result in a some sort of finesse or power move. It’s insanely satisfying to completely truck a linebacker and then run through the open field to the endzone. The same goes for ankle breaking spins and jukes you can do it timed just right.

The other major addition to the running game is the new balance mechanic that’s been applied to pretty much all ball carriers.  Since momentum plays such a huge part in the returning Infinity Engine, your players are going to stumble…a lot. An arrow will appear under the ball carrier and tell you which way to move your thumbstick to regain your balance. It may not seem like much but this means the end of canned animations and of course gives you much more control on the outcome of plays from the snap of the ball to the final whistle. That, in all actuality is one of the key elements that makes Madden 25 such a great addition to the franchise, the Infinity Engine puts the player in control of so much more, and doesn’t leave as much to chance.

The Infinity Engine is also to be thanked for a number of the game’s visual improvements, especially the new animations. Each tackle looks different and you can play a whole season without seeing a number of animations. Case in point, I was just about to finish the final game I was going to play before sitting down to write this review when Jordy Nelson jumped and reached out to make a one handed catch in the end-zone. I had to rewind the instant replay countless times to confirm what I saw. Its moments like these that make the Infinity Engine one of the biggest additions in the history of the Madden franchise.

Of course, this is Madden and even the Infinity Engine can’t take away from the fact that a lot of the presentation is recycled from last year and even previous games. The play-by-play of CBS’ Phil Simms and Jim Nantz is still a welcome change from previous announcers (I’m looking at you Gus Johnson), it’s starting to become apparent how much they repeat themselves, even with this year’s new recorded voice work.  There’s a new sideline reporter, but EA Sports has seemed to do their best to sidestep her saying any sort of actual player names or specifics that she’s something you’ll skip almost every time she comes on.

Most troubling about the game’s presentation is just how many small things the developers missed. I was in the middle of a playoff game between the Packers and the 49ers, tied with two minutes left in the fourth. Aaron Rodgers is on the field, he throws a pass, it’s complete for a first down; the Packers call timeout. The game cuts to a shot of the Packers sideline where Aaron Rodgers is…sitting on the bench with his helmet off clapping? Of course, he was right back in the huddle the very next shot.  This happened constantly, like the time that Eddie Lacy was named player of the game and appeared on the field to talk to reporters despite the fact that he had just been put on the injured reserve list that same game with broken ribs. It’s also a bit scary to see what some of the non-player character models look like; in the world of Madden everyone apparently has scoliosis.

Connected careers is back from last year, giving you the ability to play as either a player, a coach created or real offline or off. The big draw this year is the return of owner mode, which gives you all of the features of playing as a coach, but also puts you in control of the team’s finances. Want to raise the price on hotdogs? You’ve got the power. Want to trade away the running back in an effort to get more money for that stadium upgrade? Just be ready to face the ire of the fans. With owner mode, the game gives you the chance to relocate teams that aren’t performing well enough. You won’t have free access to move and name The Jaguars (let’s be honest, who isn’t going to move the Jaguars?) to any city and team you want. There are presets for the major outlets without teams like Hollywood and even London.

Though it features the best on field product the franchise has seen in years, Madden NFL 25 suffers from a distinct lack of consistency. The game as a whole hasn’t changed much over recent years and a lot, from the TV presentation to a number of the animations have been recycled from last yea’s game.  Still, Madden is going to sell a ton of copies and it’s not a complete loss, it’s still one hell of a fun game of football – even if it’s all been done before.

This review is based on a retail copy of Madden NFL 25 for the Xbox 36 provided by the publisher. We played through two seasons in the connected career mode. Yes we moved the Jaguars. Enjoy Hollywood.