Review

Madden NFL 25 Review

  • Game release: August 27, 2013
  • Reviewed: August 26, 2013
  • PS3

Madden NFL 25 marks a quarter-century of football gaming with a disappointing addition to this venerable franchise.

by

Since it isn't every day that a game franchise marks its silver anniversary, you expect something sublime from Madden NFL 25. This may be the most respected series in all of gaming, with a pedigree that goes back to before Ronald Reagan left the White House, so it isn't unreasonable to expect the developers at EA Tiburon to do things up right this year with something really special. They haven't. Despite the name, you get the same old story with the traditional roster update, a few tweaks to the graphics engine, new control schemes to rev you up, and a teensy bit of feature creep. Instead of closing out the current generation of consoles with a big bash, this year's Madden just plays out the string.

Not much distinguishes Madden NFL 25 from last year's Madden 13. The game has been refined overall, but not in enough ways to make a measurable impact on how it plays on the gridiron. With that said, the core of the game remains Sunday afternoon in a box. This is a remarkably full-featured NFL simulation where you can play, coach, and manage in just about every way possible through a range of single-player and multiplayer modes. If you have ever fantasized about what you could do with your favorite NFL team, player, or owner, chances are very good that you will be able to do it here. And if you can't do it here right out of the box, you can peruse the files available in the new Madden Share online feature, since it allows easy access to rosters and tweak files uploaded by fellow players that adjust the game in a variety of ways. Of course, the exact same comments about everything save the new sharing option could have been made about virtually every Madden game released in the last decade.

The one big feature addition is being able to play in the Connected Franchise mode as an owner. This completes the trifecta; you can now take on franchise play as a player (a made-up rookie, an existing NFLer, or a rookie version of a legend like Joe Montana or Sammy Baugh), a coach (fictional, one of the real guys wearing a headset on the sidelines this fall, or a legend such as Tom Landry or Madden himself), or an owner (also fictional or a real-life tycoon like Jerry Jones or Robert Kraft). There isn't enough difference between these options, however. You're stuck doing too many of the same things for any of them to stand out. It's strange, for example, that you need to run practice challenges to earn XP when playing as an owner. It's rather unlikely that Jim Irsay takes time away from his luxurious office in Indianapolis to head down to the practice dome and run scrimmages.

You would expect the owner mode to function like a sports management sim, but it really works as a traditional franchise option with a couple of actions grafted on, such as answering the odd media question, setting the price on merchandise like autographed footballs and stadium snow cones, and even deciding to leave town (here come the Rams, Toronto). There just isn't enough depth here. At least the developers have added back in franchise features like draft class imports from NCAA 14 and full offline 32-team control. And they have bolstered the long-term appeal of the collectible-card, multiplayer-focused Madden Ultimate Team mode, with player chemistry affecting team performance, and head-to-head season play. Madden Ultimate Team isn't for everyone given its odd complexity and focus on collecting player cards to field top lineups, but it now almost rivals more traditional franchise play with these added features.

The presentation has been spruced up in some ways. The Infinity engine first introduced last year has been smoothed out with more natural-flowing animations, so the weird broken-back tackles and impossible contortions are now (mostly) a thing of the past. Canned animations have been all but removed from the field during the action, so you never see the same play twice. This adds more realism to everything from pitchouts to Hail Marys, and at times you can get carried away with the illusion that this is real football. Get into a big drive, balance smart running plays with a dynamic passing attack, and you soon start feeling like a real field general who can do just about anything on any given Sunday.

But Madden still lags behind sister EA Sports series like NHL and FIFA when it comes to visual and audio impact. The interface is awkward and slow. It takes too many button presses to reach many frequently accessed functions, and the game pauses with fairly lengthy loads whenever you move from one menu window to another. There isn't much glitz or attention to fine detail, either. Players and coaches often look nothing like their real-life counterparts. Stadiums are sterile and lifeless, with static graphics, jaggy architecture, and generic jack-in-the-box fans who look like cardboard cutouts mounted on springs.

Further contributing to the visual inconsistencies are animations that are repeated over and over again, like the trainer squirting water into a player's mouth as he comes off the field when a time-out is called. Touchdown celebrations are constantly reused, too. There is also an overall softness to everything after snaps. It's as if the game is just slightly out of focus as you're playing, which is frustrating since the zoomed-in replays shown between plays are typically sharp and gorgeous.

The music is very dated and primitive sounding for an EA Sports game. All you hear are old stadium tracks like the Black Eyed Peas' "Boom Boom Pow" and Joe Satriani's "Crowd Chant," along with the odd bit of classic rock like AC/DC's "Thunderstruck" and Guns N' Roses' "Welcome to the Jungle." The booth duo of Jim Nantz and Phil Simms is atrocious. They offer nothing but inanities, generic observations about the "offense" and the "defense" that rarely refer to players by name, and loads of those obnoxious "I'll tell you what" tics that make Simms so insufferable. Neither of them is watching the game that you're playing. They constantly contradict one another and make mistakes like saying how strong the pass protection has been today just after a QB has been sacked for the fourth time.

Madden 25's gameplay is also focused more on the SportsCenter stuff than what really happens in the NFL trenches. Passing remains too easy. Even the top defensive lines in the game can't mount much of a rush, giving you ages to get the ball to your receivers. Artificial intelligence is spotty when it comes to pass coverage, too. Both zone and man defenses give receivers way too much of a cushion. Crossing routes seem almost unstoppable, with every computer-controlled team weak over the middle when it comes to picking up receivers. As a result of all this, you can frequently finish games with completion percentages well into the 70s.

Admittedly, pass-focused games are pretty exciting. Get into a gunslinging frame of mind, and you can turn any QB in the game into Drew Brees. The sheer fun of being able to pump the ball into impossible spots is such a blast that you don't care how little the game resembles real NFL football on these occasions. Still, even though you can have a lot of fun in spots, the long-term appeal is tenuous. The more you play, the more it seems like you're taking advantage of exploits, not stepping into the cleats of a legendary quarterback.

The only thing that really limits you is an absurd number of receiver drops and virtually no penalties being called on the default slider settings governing when flags are thrown. To compensate for the weak coverage, there are extra moments when the ball just slips through fingers, and defensive backs and safeties frequently get away with incidental contact. So you'll see a good seven or eight drops in each and every game on what would be clean completions in the real NFL, and lots of moments where receivers get bumped before the ball arrives or are even abused with hits like horse-collar tackles that knock the ball out of the receiver's hands. Even the best receivers in the league make mistakes, of course, and refs have their issues, but there are way too many cases of butterfingers and blindness here.

New controls are one plus in Madden NFL 25. The run free mechanic enhances the running game with what's being called precision modifiers. This is really just a fancy name for the special jukes, spins, dives, stiff arms, trucks, and more that are pulled off by holding down the left trigger/L2 button and then hitting the button that controls the standard versions of these maneuvers. The result is applying more force or finesse to the traditional motions, so you can really wallop a defender with a truck or spin. You can even string moves together into combos, allowing you to practically dance around the field. Run free seems kind of gimmicky at first, but it's a useful addition to the arsenal that lets you turn three-yard runs into five-yard runs on a regular basis and occasionally turn an impressive 10-yard gainer into a sprint for six. It's complicated at first, although at least you can work on your moves with the new skills trainer feature. There, you head to the practice facility to run tutorials and drills that hammer home the how, why, and when of the new control rhythm.

Defensive controls have been enhanced as well. You can now lock on to enemy ball carriers with the heat-seeker tackling mechanic. Just hold down the hit stick when in range of an opponent with the ball to square up on him. This can be a real help in the open field, especially when the camera angle is off-line just enough to throw off your tackling efforts. Still, it's not all that necessary in most occasions, especially if you're already a pretty adept tackler. You also can't line up huge hits with heat-seeker; it's more about wrapping up the opposition than leveling them. So tackling with other methods remains the most satisfying way to play defense here.

It's a shame that EA Sports decided to make such a big deal out of the Madden anniversary this year. Putting that big "25" on the box cover ramps up expectations and may well make a standard baby-steps Madden sequel seem more disappointing. The heart of how the game plays on the field has been transplanted from its predecessor, making this a small shuffle forward that settles for subtle enhancements while leaving a lot of long-standing flaws intact for another year. This just isn't a fitting way to celebrate a milestone in the long life of one of the biggest and best franchises in gaming history.

'

The Good
Still a very comprehensive and full-featured treatment of NFL football
Undeniably exciting to play at times, especially on offense
New run free and heat-seeking tackling offer control scheme enhancements
The Bad
Core gameplay barely changed from last year
Offense still overpowered and defense still not smart enough
Disappointing presentation
New Connected Franchise mode lacks depth
6
Fair
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Discussion

56 comments
Torvar72
Torvar72

I say EA sell the right to 2K at least they know how to make a good sports game.Look at the NBA and MLB games as well as there is still a strong community for NFL 2K5 and that was better than  Madden 2005 when it came out. 

whogon
whogon

did anyone help Moe050 find a job yet?   Guys....we have to band together to help him, hes livin at his moms, and spending all her money on videogames is driving her a little nuts.  Mcdonalds usually doesn't have very high standards, but unfortunately poor Moe cant make the cut even there.  Does anyone have maybe.....a janitorial job cleaning toilets he could have?   Or maybe scooping up pig poo?  We really gotta help the less fortunate, and hes in DIRE need of something better to do with his life.  He's not got many skills, other than laziness...he's broke, and lives with his mom, please help him find a job, his mommy would REALLY appreciate it (mainly to get him out of the house)

skrewler
skrewler

Agree with the review, especially "The more you play, the more it seems like you're taking advantage of exploits".  Although you didn't mention multiplayer at all, which is where it shines.  Or all the microtransactions, where it stinks.

I'm not buying another Madden again.  I got really into Madden 13, grinded tor Ultimate Team and ended spending a good amount on packs.  Of course it's now worthless.  If they're going to keep the microtransactions they should at least let you advance in the "team" modes without having to grind literally 6 hours+ a day for it.

People still play '13 on PSN if I want to get a game in.. I guess until EA shuts the servers down.

jwill30350
jwill30350

i like madden 25 tho it seems like i can't tackle anyone and i'm normally very good in defense in madden games... 

moe050
moe050

anyway... after responding to quite a few comments people have made...

I'll probably be making my annual, obligatory Madden purchase later today... for all the flaws these games possess (weird AI shenanigans during certain things, crappy methods of making the game more difficult, historic glitches like the ball literally sailing through my player's hand  COMPLETELY unaffected lol), they're still always good and usually fun (when playing against human opponents who aren't abusing weird, lesser known, stupid glitches that would allow say... a CB to consistently blitz up the middle of the line and hit your QB before he can even hand the ball off or something).

I'm sure I'll enjoy the game for what it's worth.

a lot of people having strong negative reactions barely know anything about football IMO. heck, even some of things mentioned in "the bad" make no sense!
1) Core gameplay barely changed from last year  - like i asked other people, can anyone name companies that vastly changed core gameplay from one year to the next, and it turned out positively? also, how much does the core gameplay of REAL LIFE football change each year? keep in mind, this is a simulation kind of sports game.

2) Offense still overpowered and defense still not smart enough - Umm... have you watched REAL LIFE football over the last couple of years? have you noticed various rule changes that have pretty much ONLY assisted offenses and scoring? again, this is a simulator... so please explain why a simulation football game would IMPROVE defensive play to the point it's easier to compete against offenses when the EXACT OPPOSITE is happening in real life?

in any case, I hope i can say that the game is the best PS3 era Madden, because i liked the PS2 era madden games more in all honesty, but that was because the level of "control" felt much greater... but i digress.

snowblood1970
snowblood1970

Ea Fumbled on this one....time to give rights back to 2K!!

Dave_Robo
Dave_Robo

No comment. I play on the computer so I haven't touched a sports game since they left. With the way EA is I'm sure I'll never get a chance unless I buy a console.

drakekratos
drakekratos

6.0 is a generous score.


Madden should be getting 2/10 and 3/10.... Reviewers really need to stick it to them, otherwise they will never improve this awful game

bxphenom7
bxphenom7

Not surprised. Madden is the same shit every year.

whogon
whogon

Seriously.....is this kid.....Serpens Solida, completely retarded?  He calls OTHER people stupid....and idiots.....and look how many spelling errors he has in only two paragraphs.    1)  All good "COMPLAINS"  (It's COMPLAINTS)      2)  Are just "TRIES" to look smart (The word would be attempts. What you wrote isn't even a coherent sentence)    3)  Whining "ABOT" the new add ons  (Did you mean to use the word.....ABOUT)  

You obviously are a very, very sad little troll with no job, school, education, or ANYTHING better to do with your time, than call others stupid.....while ironically (look that word up, I put anything that you don't know what it means) YOU ARE THE ONE MAKING YOURSELF LOOK SO STUPID.....with your pathetic 5th grade spelling of VERY SIMPLE WORDS.  Here's an idea, stop having your mommy pay for your games, enroll back into high school, or a G.E.D. education program, and get YOURSELF educated.   To people who have college degrees (like myself), you make us laugh so hard, b/c in your mind you actually believe you are intelligent, while making VERY obvious spelling errors that make YOU look stupid.....and now in addition....HYPOCRITICAL  (you will need to look that word up too kiddo).  I wish you knew how stupid you just made yourself look.  LMFAO

Kjranu
Kjranu

How much can you change the core gameplay of a football game anyhow? Pretty stupid to use that to downscore the game. 

Serpens_Solida
Serpens_Solida

I have not played it enough to rate it, but it feels better than last year's, which was really good. All complains are just tries to look smart or selective, but the truth is that this game has a lot to offer and is too realistic. Stupid people try to bash something that is good, just because they can't enjoy it or are too bad at it.

Whining abot the new add ons is being an idiot, because all of them can be set OFF. You know that word, OFF, like your useless brains? I used to hate Madden, it was crap some years ago, but I can't deny it improved a lot since about 3 years ago, and though it's the only option available, it's a good game; what the hell is GS trying to do by giving it a 6.0, when it deserves at least a 8.5?

Tim15068
Tim15068

Look everyone cool your jets bc I love playing the madden games every year. Who cares about the flaws if you love the game then play it and don't hate about it. And you cod players have no point bc cod is the same concept every year but here's a great game to try its better than cod its called world of tanks and there is no respawning so uhm yeah a lot more realistic. Now all you bitches stfu before I bitch slap you all as equal For the people, By the people, and EAGLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Hurvl
Hurvl

heat-seeking tackling? What, are the athletes some goddamn missiles or something? Will a quarter back who keeps his cool be able to dodge them more easily? I don't know if this requires anything advanced in terms of AI, but why not go for the opponents that you can actually see, instead of sensing their heat signature.

Thathanka
Thathanka

EA and Madden - you can always rely on them to disappoint.

mikemaj82
mikemaj82

The last Madden game I ever played was for the 3DO.

Fizzman
Fizzman

Only bought this garbage game for Sunday Ticket.

kbaily
kbaily

It really has reached the point where it's basically become a yearly roster update which at this point, why are roster updates not just DLC?  But everyone complains about Mario and Zelda being the same thing yet Madden proves the masses will buy the same thing year after year.

The most ironic thing of all this is EA complains about used games so much yet go to a GS bargain bin and most of the cheapest used games are old EA sports games from previous years that are obsolete because of the newest one. EA is their own worst enemy.

LaVidaJudoka
LaVidaJudoka

I haven’t played Madden since 2009.  I liked that game so I’m guessing I’ll like this one.  That said, for an Anniversary edition it does seem to be lacking (if the reviews are accurate).  What would have been nice is if they included some kind of fantasy football feature.  I played the demo on All-Madden and I didn’t find the offense as overpowered as the review suggests.  With the right defensive play call you can give your defenders and opportunity to make a play and get to the quarterback.  Honestly, it’s not much different than the NFL these days as offenses have certain advantages in terms of rules that defenses don’t have.  Based on what I have seen with the demo I have to agree with the reviewer in regards to the peripheral upgrades FIFA has over Madden (i.e. play calling, crowd, ect…).

VenkmanPHD
VenkmanPHD

WHY is the cover picture for this on the main page taken from DMC?

nait2k4
nait2k4

When you get to a level of simulation such has been achieved in games like the FIFA series and the Madden series, it must be damn tough to figure out what you can do differently without breaking some of the fundamentals. But honestly, if EA were not just milking the shit out the franchise, they would just do DLC roster updates every year for $10 until the next gen graphics become available.

Redsyrup
Redsyrup

Gamespot just doesn't understand EA's brilliance.

GSGuy321
GSGuy321

Finally an unbiased review of Madden.. It's a crap game. End of story. Every year they pay off IGN to give it high ratings. It's a garbage game. The players feel like they are floating around on ice skates. EA can't make games, period.

kschoeder74
kschoeder74

Maybe we need 2K sports back for football

moe050
moe050

@Vidpci 
bugs such as what? this is an earnest question as I have yet to actually play the game yet.

do you know how long the contract they drew up some years ago, lasts?

moe050
moe050

@snowblood1970 
question though - do you think there would be as much complaining about 2K releasing the "same game" (in the way EA does - which is small tweaks here and there) each year if they did have some rights about making NFL games?

moe050
moe050

@drakekratos 
it's pretty obvious that you (like many others)  don't want "improvements" and just want a different company to have rights and make a football game... "awful" is an exaggeration if this game is just like last year's...  and that approach in regards to not doing an overhaul makes sense... it's actually how "improvements" work... they build on the good that's already there (and try to get rid of the bad).

can anyone name the companies that COMPLETELY overhauled their core games and their mechanics, and did well?

if so, can they now name SPORTS games that have done this?

i think this highlights my point about you and others simply wanting a different company to make the game, and you not wanting "improvements"

jacksva0
jacksva0

Whatever happen to the gameday franchise?.Now that was a game engine for yuh!..

moe050
moe050

@bxphenom7 
most games tend to remain the same for the most part each year, unless the game is truly a wreck... but even with that said, i can't really think of any that have really changed THAT much. people complaining about madden being "the same" each year are usually ignoring the add-ins, don't know about them, don't understand them and how they change some aspects of the game, or simply want a completely different (NON EA Sports) football game.

I wonder if the same things are said of the NCAA games...

Tim15068
Tim15068

@whogon Also why would an educated college student have a childish username oh look at that is that another burn oh yes it is haha.

Tim15068
Tim15068

@whogon Oh man i'll tell you what I feel sorry for you. You just got burned Mr. i'm so educated from college ha please don't respond before you make a fool out of yourself even more and also I pitty the fools.

moe050
moe050

@whogonWhy are you going in on this poster because he/she had spelling errors (typos) on an internet site? they're very common.

That #2 that you mentioned actually is a coherent sentence if you take the whole sentence instead of just a fragment of his/her sentence:
"All [complaints] are just tries to look smart or selective, but the truth is that this game has a lot to offer and is too realistic."
vs
" are just tries to look smart"
the "tries" in that sentence are clearly the same as "attempts"... as in "All complaints are attempts to look smart..."


you're basically just attacking the poster and not saying anything at all about the merit of their argument and then calling him/her an idiot... or rather, saying he/she make him/herself look stupid.

whogon
whogon

@Serpens_Solida 

Seriously kid, are you retarded?  You call OTHER people stupid....and idiots.....and look how many spelling errors you have in only two paragraphs.    1)  All good "COMPLAINS"  (It's COMPLAINTS)      2)  Are just "TRIES" to look smart (The word would be attempts. What you wrote isn't even a coherent sentence)    3)  Whining "ABOT" the new add ons  (Did you mean to use the word.....ABOUT)  

You obviously are a very, very sad little troll with no job, school, education, or ANYTHING better to do with your time, than call others stupid.....while ironically (look that word up, I put anything that you don't know what it means) YOU ARE THE ONE MAKING YOURSELF LOOK SO STUPID.....with your pathetic 5th grade spelling of VERY SIMPLE WORDS.  Here's an idea, stop having your mommy pay for your games, enroll back into high school, or a G.E.D. education program, and get YOURSELF educated.   To people who have college degrees (like myself), you make us laugh so hard, b/c in your mind you actually believe you are intelligent, while making VERY obvious spelling errors that make YOU look stupid.....and now in addition....HYPOCRITICAL  (you will need to look that word up too kiddo).  I wish you knew how stupid you just made yourself look.  LMFAO

GermanBomber
GermanBomber

@GSGuy321I kind of agree with the "EA can't make games" part... I've played recent FIFA, NHL and MADDEN games from EA Sports and they all feel the same in a lot of ways...There's something very "clinical" and "plastic" about the EA Sports games. MADDEN is almost like the COD of sports games, same shit different year...but who cares, as long as people buy it anyways?

xXJayeDuBXx
xXJayeDuBXx

You do know reviews are subjective, right? Funny how all reviews that people don't agree with must have been paid for.

dylan417
dylan417

@kschoeder74 I highly doubt that the core team that made NFL2k5 is still together at 2k. And 2k alone doesn't mean that they would make a great football game. Just look at their now discontinued hockey games or their awful baseball series.

And it's not like any developer could change a whole lot inside less than one year (especially with PS4/XB1 versions also coming soon). EA made huge changes last year that left rough edges. This year, they smoothed those edges. I honestly think that Madden is on the right path if they focus on a graphics overhaul next year. This year might not be great, but 26/15 should be.

Optical_Order
Optical_Order

@kschoeder74 

The defense was awful in the demo, apparently it didn't change in the final version. That was my biggest gripe. Madden's just not that great. 

snowblood1970
snowblood1970

@moe050 Yes there would be complaining...I just think another option needs to be made available again....

whogon
whogon

@Tim15068 @whogon 

Poor wittle Timmy-poo....before u talk about someone ELSE's Burn....maybe u should run spell check.  "pitty" isn't a word....however....."pity" is.  Philistine.    Could we convince you to go back to school and re-take your GED?  You could at least learn your GIVEN LANGUAGE before using it.  moron.

whogon
whogon

You sound pretty mad Moe....please don't cry big guy......next time maybe you could get a job instead of commenting on my comment on his comment.  Also, you tried to make YOURSELF look smart, by correcting me....so aren't you technically doing EXACTLY WHAT YOU ARE SAYING I SHOULDNT DO!  HAHAHAH WHAT AN IDIOT!  HOW CAN YOU CRITICIZE ME, FOR DOING EXACTLY WHAT YOU ARE DOING.  HAVE YOU EVER LOOKED UP THE WORD.....HYPOCRITE?  I KNOW YOU DONT WORK, SO INSTEAD OF COMPLAINING ABOUT MY COMPLAINT ABOUT HIS COMPLAINT, COULD YOU JUST GO TO KMART AND BEG THEM TO LET BE A JANITOR OR SOMETHING?  I WILL PAY YOU TO NOT TALK EVER AGAIN.....HOW WOULD 1 DOLLAR FOR EVERY MINUTE YOU DONT TALK, WORK FOR YOU?  EVERY MINUTE YOU DONT TALK, I WILL GIVE U A DOLLAR.  DEAL?

BH14
BH14

@dylan417 @kschoeder74  

2k made a far superior football game than madden ever did. While 2k doesn't make good baseball and hockey games, they do make great football and basketball games.... even top spin 4 which is the best tennis game. 

moe050
moe050

@Optical_Order @kschoeder74 lol have y'all been watching football for the last 2 years? real life NFL rule changes have done a lot to impair defenses, so why would playing defense in the game be good?


jacksva0
jacksva0

Game day was better too!.

Redsyrup
Redsyrup

@BH14 @dylan417 @kschoeder74 Yeah 2K was awesome then EA and the NFL put them out of business. I remember the NFL saying they needed their 'Gatorade' of football games.

Madden NFL 25 More Info

First Release on Aug 27, 2013
  • PlayStation 3
  • Xbox 360
  • + 2 more
  • Xbox One
  • PlayStation 4
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 155 User Ratings
Please Sign In to rate Madden NFL 25
Developed by:
EA Sports
Published by:
Electronic Arts
Genres:
Arcade, Football (American), Sports, Team-Based
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