Review

Madden 25 Review

  • Game release: August 27, 2013
  • Reviewed:
  • XONE
  • PS4

Third down conversion.

by

As silver anniversaries go, Madden NFL 25 falls short, aside from the obvious title and the intro video of Madden logos from years past. If anything in Madden NFL 25 exemplifies John Madden's game legacy, it's in EA Sports' attempts at authenticity, even if it's only in select areas of the game. It is very much a product of its times, given the emphasis on option offense, a reflection of the option-intensive 2012 NFL season. For this year's new consoles, Madden 25 isn't a major overhaul, but nor is it just a port with better textures.

No matter how often Madden games put run plays at the forefront of the playbook, it still can't escape the appeal of the long bomb. Even on Pro difficulty, finding an open receiver to catch a 30 yard pass is easy. The chances of a pass completion are high enough that you still feel like you're in the game even when you're down by 14 points with 90 seconds left on the clock. The offense is even more empowered in the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 versions now that pass blocking has been strengthened, giving the quarterback more protection. You may feel sorry for the other team, but watching the pass blockers earn their keep in replays is a beautiful sight. Defense still has a low success rate in catching interceptions; maybe if players didn't so often overextend themselves, the ball wouldn't bounce off their outstretched forearms.

If you believe in the run, Madden 25 has a lot of ground weapons, but there is a learning curve. There's a lot of hard work needed to make the most of this year's new run-based precision modifiers. This feature provides an additional set of running moves to an already suitable selection of maneuvers. Knowing what moves to use and when can be a challenge, especially when split-second decisions have to be made and the resulting button commands are akin to fighting game combos. At least the tutorial is so robust and easy to use that several hours committed to run training can yield big plays as meaningful as any long pass.

Purple and black is the new black.

For better or worse, the home crowd roars to all big outcomes, an overdue step up from every Madden game prior, including the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions of Madden 25. Getting a new set of downs and having the crowd react as excitedly as you shows that there are signs of life in the stands. Also included are the long-awaited 3D model crowds, although they aren't as animated as the noise level would have you believe. Fans in the stands are still a result of a copy and paste operation, but at least the duplication is less obvious in the crowds than in the row of similarly dressed press photographers you spot on the sidelines. For each anomaly, like a poor facial render of a head coach, there's a subtle detail, like a wide receiver who tries to keep both feet in the field during a catch.

Madden 25 does everything it can to demand my weekly attention. I respect that its incentives aren't mere double XP bonuses. Fantasy football integration is good, but getting a quick-loading roster update based on a given week's real life games is even better. A narrow ticker at the bottom of the screen shows the most recent scores, upcoming kickoffs, and injury reports. It was curious to even see updates about college football star Johnny Manziel, as if EA Sports wants us to keep him in mind before his inevitable pro draft in a year or two. With the Snap functionality and Microsoft's partnership with the NFL, such news feeds on the Xbox One feel redundant. Still, playing Madden 25 while having a live NFL game play on Snap made me feel like a momentary superfan.

The weather outside is almost as frightful as the Niners' eventual performance in this game.

The commentary scripts delivered by Jim Nantz and Phil Simms are wisely packed with history, effective as subtle filler. As a lifelong Niners fan, my game against the Cowboys was all the more believable when the booth made specific comments about the two teams' famous rivalry in the 90's. Jim and Phil won't comment on this year's improbable winning streak by the Chiefs, but they do get involved in the fictional career mode. References to prior games and commenting on injuries add a lot to the authenticity. These remarks are welcome in a sport where considerable airtime is filled by stating the obvious. Yes, Mr. Simms, teams do feel more confident when they're in the lead.

Beyond the action on the field, there's the return of the franchise mode, now called Connected Franchise. It provides adequate role-playing experiences in a pro football context, putting you in the shoes of either a player, coach, or owner. As an owner, it's entertaining to make low level choices on food concessions as well as more fantastical decisions like moving an established team to a new city. It borders on novelty as its appeal wears thin after a season, leaving one to wonder how much better this mode would be if it had more simulation style features. Complementary to Connected Franchise is the return of the collectible-card driven Madden Ultimate Team. With its virtual cards and the blind pack appeal, Ultimate Team is the one aspect of Madden 25 where microtransactions makes the most sense. You might find it a more rewarding mode than Connected Franchise, provided you take the time to understand its complexities, like tailoring a team based on a quarterback's strengths.

For each anomaly, like a poor facial render of a head coach, there's a subtle detail, like a wide receiver who tries to keep both feet in the field during a catch.

As part of the launch lineups of both of this year's new consoles, Madden NFL 25 is a fine entry that relies on the foundation of the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions with a few meaningful improvements. Pass protection that depicts an offensive line truly working together is a long-awaited improvement that series fans will love, and there are tangible dividends in learning the running game, provided you invest the time. Madden 25 lands on the positive end of the quality spectrum, and it's satisfying enough to warrant weekly sessions well beyond Super Bowl XLVIII.

The Good
Crowds have never been livelier
Rewarding running game
Authentic pass-blocking behavior
The Bad
Passing game is still exploitable
Inconsistent production values
7
Good
About GameSpot's Reviews
Other Platform Reviews for Madden NFL 25

About the Author

/ Staff

Miguel's charmed upbringing as a San Francisco native in the 1980s makes him expect a lot from his beloved Niners, virtual or otherwise. In 4th grade, he tackled the QB, not realizing it was a flag football game. The longtime Madden player has since gotten better at understanding the rules, leading to about 30 combined hours on both the Xbox One and PS4 versions.

Discussion

47 comments
electrichobo99
electrichobo99

This game looks like absolute crap on the PS4, it can easily pass for a PS3 or 360 game. Deeply disappointing!

alwaysontheball
alwaysontheball

Looks like you will all just have to play FIFA instead

209brian
209brian

Anybody on ps4 add me. Whiteboy8199. I'm not the best but enjoy playing.

Thesuperstar2k
Thesuperstar2k

Review not made by Tom Mchsa? This review sucks!

dbene
dbene

Wow....Madden looks great on Xbox One.....Just makes me sad we won't be seeing an NCAA next year on these amazing Next gen consoles.


:(

Darrin Price
Darrin Price

I would buy this for the x box one but my question is where is the ncaa edition

Jim DiTullio
Jim DiTullio

more rehashed EA garbage with the sole purpose of stealing as much money as possible for another update that would be better served as a yearly DLC-Update that costs you 59.99

John Connor
John Connor

after your cod ghosts review, I'll stick to the news instead

Primedio Javier
Primedio Javier

Because COD sells, and if that sells, Madden sells, I know is a flawed logic but there is no logic behind people's taste

Jeremy Steele
Jeremy Steele

last Madden i bought was 2008 or 2006, i believe... see no need to buy a new one as that one plays just fine and doesnt look all that bad...

Jackson Herd
Jackson Herd

Why the hell would you pay for the same game every year? Especially if it didn't have graphics comparable to Crysis 3 or Heavy Rain or something that doesn't look like a freaking high end ps2 title?

thekey
thekey

This game still is a JOKE. Madden needs some competitors, for real!

dmastor
dmastor

An 7! is this a joke? The game haven't evolved in 4 years the game should get a 7. This game is a 5 Max the gameplay is the same and passing is way to easy it has no balance  

D-MonDRV
D-MonDRV

Well-written review, but it's hard to agree with most of the judgements.  

"Even on Pro difficulty, finding an open receiver to catch a 30 yard pass is easy." 

You realize you're playing on the second easiest setting right?  Most committed Madden players will play in All-Madden, and online play is in All-Pro.  It's pretty hard to complete long passes with assisted CPU in these settings unless you're really good at using your targeted WR.  Not to mention the Ball Hawk feature has made racking interceptions a whole lot easier.

This is also the first review I've read praising Jim Nantz and Phil Simms.  There's hardly anything new in the commentary repertoire from last year except for addressing new starting QBs in different places.

iMpLuX
iMpLuX

'about 30 combined hours on both the Xbox One and PS4 versions.'

Was it evenly split between the consoles, or did you (Miguel) prefer a certain console?

I got a launch PS4 and I got this, along w/ Fifa 14 and NBA 2K14. I'm very happy w/ what I got in this Madden, but I do agree that the graphics could have been better but I'm sure in 2 years when it's built from the ground up on next-gen, the realism will almost be too real.

The new trench warfare is neat but I didn't at first like the running game. EA took away Turbo, and because I didn't realize that EA added it back, I couldn't run since the runner would move his feet realistically and throw me off. But now that I know Turbo is back, I'm getting good runs off again.

Very nice review, I agree w/ the score. Thanks Miguel! 

sknight175216
sknight175216

It's funny how 2K basketball got rid of live (until now) without having to buy an exclusivity deal. Yet, EA couldn't handle the fact that people were getting a better all-around football experience from another game.

TheLeftHandDoom
TheLeftHandDoom

do you remember the old days of madden, when you could injure opposing players, and then an ambulance would drive onto the field and run over any player that was in its way?

quakke
quakke

This is the very series that has inspired the Call of Shit series, which is ruining game industry even at this very moment.

SmallSatsuma
SmallSatsuma

Most overrated franchise of all.  Madden is the same basic shit every year with a few minor tweaks and Gamespot still gives it a good review.

Loshead
Loshead

@thekey yeah EA is afraid of 2k. NBA 2k put live out of business once, and looks like it will do it again for the next gen consoles. ESPN NFL 2k5 is the best football game I have evey played. Right after that release EA was like oh crap, lets pay for exclusive rights. 

TaintedMindz
TaintedMindz

@thekey Not going to happen as long as EA, seemingly deathlike grip, holds the rights to the NFL license. Until the NFL decides to finally end their deal with EA I'm afraid we'll be stuck with mediocre football games.

e1tonka
e1tonka

@dmastor The game, having owned the ps3 and ps4 versions, has slight improvements that are noticeable over time. Such as linemen O and D AI. They make better decisions more often, etc but the game, still friggin lags in cut scenes on all 4 consoles. The game is just like an HD remaster than a next gen upgrade. To think, EA said the graphics were "10 times better". That is a joke. The game definitely LOOKS better but only one a side by side comparison. It plays a little better too but it sucks in general. I, like many others, buy it to have a Football game but it definitely sucks.

webhunter
webhunter

@D-MonDRV You sound like you know this game well. I still have Madden 2009 on X360 and am pretty happy with it (I live in Scandinavia so my knowledge of the real game is very limited). Is it worth getting Madden 25?

kambion313
kambion313

@sknight175216 2K tried to make a nexg gen football game, remember? And it wasn't very good... (neither is Madden though)


themc_7
themc_7

@jimdove2 take it easy bud. Every sports game is the same as the last. If you're dumb enough to buy Madden 25 , yes number 25, it's you're own fault. Sports games are pumped out annually and usually have little or no difference over last year's model. This trend is also popular in the Call of Duty franchise (among others).

chaazin
chaazin

@quakke don't forget assassins creed. same shit every game.

ssg2wo
ssg2wo

@tomservo51 That EA/NFL deal does not need to be renewed. It's bad for game players since there's no competition. It's like the prices and quality of airport food. Where else are you going to go? 2K was a great series and had EA on their heels and they did the only thing they could.

Take a look at NBA2K vs NBA Live this year. Blew EA away. Bring back 2K football.

Loshead
Loshead

@e1tonka @dmastor yeah not a huge visual upgrade compared to what Nba 2k did with the last gen and next gen versions. 

Infinite_713
Infinite_713

@kambion313 @sknight175216 It was ok, but they didn't go beast mode because they didn't have the license teams. I'm sure once(or if) they get the license, they are going to destroy madden

dmastor
dmastor

@ssg2wo @tomservo51 So crazy i stop watching the NFL with have of the commish roger who sign the deal and made Football a passing party! 

Anthonyccc
Anthonyccc

@Infinite_713 @kambion313 @sknight175216 I never played 2k football and always was a big Madden fan but these Madden games just aren't good. IF 2k got a license im sure it would be better than Madden cause they would have to use a new engine, etc, rather than Maddens rehashed one.

RevLux
RevLux

@nl_skipper @jacquelineferre I agree. We would literally be unable to figure out the intended message if it wasn't for the brave men and women who go around correcting grammar in video game comment posts. I truly believe this is deserving of a "Hero of the Internet" award. They've got my vote at least. This reminds me of one of my favorite quotes. 


 "All that is needed for poor grammar to win is for people who are good with grammar to say nothing in video game posts." -Anonymous Fool

nl_skipper
nl_skipper

@jacquelineferre  Wow you're really cool,  it's so nice to point out minor grammatical or spelling errors!  Keep it up...

Madden NFL 25 More Info

First Release on Aug 27, 2013
  • PlayStation 3
  • PlayStation 4
  • + 2 more
  • Xbox 360
  • Xbox One
Madden NFL 25 lets players unleash 30 new moves and string together devastating combos with the all-new precision modifier.
6.2
Average User RatingOut of 157 User Ratings
Please Sign In to rate Madden NFL 25
Developed by:
EA Sports
Published by:
Electronic Arts
Genres:
Football (American), Arcade, Team-Based, Sports
Content is generally suitable for all ages. May contain minimal cartoon, fantasy or mild violence and/or infrequent use of mild language.
Everyone
All Platforms