Madden 25 Review (Xbox 360)
Posted by Dan Watson on 09.11.2013
Does this Madden bring all the greatness of the series or is it just another “roster update.”
Title: Madden 25
Platforms: Xbox 360, PS3, PS4, Xbox One
Publisher: EA Sports
Players: 1-6 Online
Can you believe EA Sports’ Madden Football has been around for twenty-five years? It seems like just yesterday I was playing Madden ’93 on the Sega Genesis and being tricked by older family members, I was only nine years old mind you. The series has brought the most realistic pro football experience to video game players for longer than any other sports title. This year there were some changes made to the general gameplay as well as the modes which make this the most in-depth football game available.
In the last few years you have been able to take your team online in a connected career mode. It has been a different mode than the normal play a season against your friend or even a play against your friend for one game. EA took it one step further this year. They brought in the Owner Mode. This mode brings back some of my favorite parts of the Madden dynasty modes of the past. Tired of the Vikings playing in Minnesota and their stadium falling apart? Not a problem, start the process of moving them in the preseason. Stadium old and falling apart? Not a problem, turn some of your profit into restoration or remodeling projects. This mode allows you to control almost every aspect of your team as an owner. From prices of concessions, souvenirs, parking, and tickets to marketing and spending on coaches, this mode allows you to adjust however you would like.
The other nice upgrade this time around is that your goals actually show how much closer they will get you to the Hall of Fame. Last year, you could win five Super Bowls but never get higher than Tom Brady. This year that changed with the addition of actual goals that help you plan your path to the Hall.
Every year I laugh when people say this game is just a roster update a year. You cannot revolutionize a sport that isn’t really changing that much in real life. So, with this year, Madden added a few differences. For starters, the new game play engine runs very smoothly. No longer are you having guys look like they are tackled only to get up and run off a touchdown. Also, those ridiculous issues of players tripping over players very rarely happens if ever. Instead, this year you feel the hits like never before. While playing a game against a friend, I hurdled with Adrian Peterson. As I hurdled, his defensive player used the hit stick to make an impact tackle. Well, Peterson was hit and hit hard. It was one of those hits where you just say “ow” because of how hard it looked.
The inclusion of the spread offense with the option run plays really takes this game to another level. Much like NCAA 14, you are able to read your defense at the line of scrimmage and keep an eye on a certain defensive player to know whether to keep the ball or hand it off. This really works much better with Madden than it did with NCAA. In NCAA the player would switch two or three times before the ball was snapped because of general player movements, with Madden, you know which guy is coming as soon as the huddle is broken.
EA and Tiburon also worked on the controls for the total control running options. In NCAA, things worked well without a question but Madden really capitalized on these features and tied them directly to the stats. You aren’t going to see a heavy running back hurdle over a defensive player. Instead, guys like Peterson are more elusive while other backs are stronger at powering through the line.
Also brought forwards from NCAA was the Nike Training Modes. One way to make sure you understand all the changes and how the total controls work is to go through these modes. Like NCAA, these modes also help you build a stronger Madden Ultimate Team. Each time you complete the mode with a Gold you are given the card for the player that best shows off those skills.
I don’t think anyone will complain that Madden doesn’t look impressive. While playing against the Bears, I even noticed Jay Cutler looked sad and disappointed after a sack ended his drive. This felt like I was watching Fox NFL games. Coaches are emotional, players look real, and the stadium just feels alive. The overall graphics in this game are amazing and surpass many other sports games this year. Weather is also a major improvement this year in terms of graphics and overall improvements.
One area where the game steps back is the camera angles. I struggled in the beginning to get comfortable with any camera angle. The default angle is too far away while the next closest just feels too close. Eventually you get used to it and in some ways it is a help to have the default camera, especially when running the option run offense.
The hits sound amazing. I am unsure if Madden will ever get back to 2003 and 2004 when the soundtracks were the most amazing parts of the game, but this year the sounds of the stadium feel real. The announcing team is pretty good except there were some weird glitches where the team would say how it was a close game or how the last time I was on the field it was a turnover but overall those are far and few between. The highlight of the sound area is easily the hits. The sound of pads crashing and helmets hitting sounds beyond real and truly is the highlight of the sound section.
Normally, I would argue that NCAA is the best football game of the year, but that changed this year. While NCAA is a solid football game and improved in all the right places, Madden has taken what worked there and made it better. The controls are very responsive and the gameplay modes are worth playing for months at a time. If you enjoy the aspects of being an owner, the owner mode will feel great. I started all three types of careers (player, coach, and owner) and have continued the owner mode much longer than the others. It gives you such a feeling of pride to not only be a Super Bowl winner but also to be the most profitable team and well liked owner in the league.
Solid gameplay with the infinte engine
Missing the amazing soundtrack from Past Madden
With three different career modes, ultimate teams, and training modes this game offers tons of gameplay options