Published on August 27th, 2013 | by Shopmaster5
MMP Madden 25 Review
It’s that time again where guys start to ignore their girlfriends/wives a little more than usual, where going to bed with a loss is not an option, and where the obsession with the NFL is not only felt on Thursdays, Sundays, and Monday but every day. It’s Madden NFL 25 release and this year it’s not just a ‘Roster Update’. Madden 25 features some improvements and features including Owners Mode, Precision Run modifiers, Infinity 2.0, foot plating improvement that will have the casual fans pleased and the hardcore fans asking for more.
Before we continue, I must confess that I’m a hardocre Madden player. I’ve been playing Madden for 25 years and I’ve played over 300 online ranked games last year and that’s not including the games I played in Online Communities and un-ranked games. So if you are looking for a review from a casual fan perspective then this review might not be the one for you, but if you are a hardcore fan like me then keep on reading.
Since I’m a hardcore fan you know I have to start with gameplay. The Infinity Engine that EA SPORTS put in place last year has really been fine tuned and is an upgrade this year in Madden NFL 25. No longer do you run into the back of your blockers and “buttfumble” or fall down without any contact from the defender. The devs at EA used what I call “The Assassins Creed” technique where the ball carrier will now put his hand out to maneuver around the blocker in the way. This makes running between the tackles with power backs a viable option this year instead of always trying to break it outside.
A couple of more things also help the run game in Madden NFL 25. The first is what EA calls ‘Force Impact’ System which makes bigger backs, feel like bigger backs. It makes smaller backs feel more agile than ever before. If you’ve seen my “Here Comes The Fridge Video” you’ll see the ‘Force Impact’ system in action. When your playing Madden, you’ll start to notice a red circle around the player when he takes on a defender. I had lots of fun playing with ‘The Fridge’ and for the most part I felt like I was running with a bigger back. There were occasions where a smaller DB knocked me backwards but that was very few, more like 2 out of 30 carries.
The second thing that has made running more effective this year is the improved run blocking. While the offensive line blocks very well, so does the WRs and a little too well if you ask me. The offensive line will look for secondary blocks and will run down field looking for someone. The WRs no longer just run up the field in front of you while you get tackled from behind, they actually look for blockers behind you or at angles that prove to be threats while you are on your way to the endzone. While this is a great thing for the offense, the ability for your DB to get off that WR block is almost impossible.
Add those two enhancements to the fact that now your ball carrier has over 30 moves he can do in the open field thanks to ‘precision modifiers’ makes guys like Adrian Peterson almost impossible to stop. MadScientist and I played a game the other day, that you can find here and he had the Vikings. AP was unstoppable. Now granted some of that has to do with me just not committing to the run like I should but when you can hold LT to pull off modified stiff arms, hurdles, spins, jukes, and truck moves; if your player has a 90+ rating in that attribute, it makes a ball carrier hard to bring down. I also feel like any running back even the big power backs can make cuts a little more than they should. Overall I like the run game, just wish the WRs didn’t block so good. There is also a stumble and recovery feature that is in the game like it is in NCAA Football 14, which allows you to flick the R stick down to recover or press up to lunge forward.
What really makes the game look good and something I know hardcore fans have been looking for is the foot planting. You won’t see any zig zag running and the momentum of players play a factor as well. Big guys can still cut better than usual but the progression of foot planting and how players cut and dig are big improvements this year even if casual fans don’t notice at all.
Passing last year on Madden 13 was overpowered with the introduction of Total Control Passing. This year the TCP has been tuned down so that TE seam and wheel routes can’t be overly abused. The passing game does get a boost this year with new hot routes for receivers including a comeback route and the ability to put a TE in a flat route set up some nice route combos.
The pass pocket is still not up to par but you can definitely see that the interaction between the offensive line and defensive line are getting better. With that said again, it almost impossible for you to get pressure from the front 4 without committing more people to go after the QB. In real life there are some players and some teams that get good pressure when just rushing 4 vs. a 5 man offensive line. I sometimes last year liked to take control of the DE and swim move my way to the QB and although this looks great when on rookie difficulty, on all pro I couldn’t generate consistent pressure even with JJ Watt, who is the best DE in Madden NFL 25. Now sometimes you do get in and pressure the QB but again, it’s not where it should be in my opinion and one thing I look forward to seeing the dev team focus more on in the future.
Now that we talked a little bit about offense, let’s talk some defense. Defense wins Championships but in Madden NFL 25, it’s going to take more than a defense to win this year. With all of the upgrades made to running, run blocking, new hot routes, and mobile QBs running wild with the Pistol Formation; defenses are going to have their hands full keeping offenses in check this year. Zones are bad in a lot of cases and the players look lost when trying to play zone. Man is ok, unless it’s an out or corner route and then even Revis can’t keep up most of the time. I think you are going to have to be very creative this year on defense, no more just calling basic 2 man under defense like last year. Mixing up man and zone and some form of both seems to be your best bet. Also just dropping guys back in zone and only rushing one man is just setting yourself up to have someone run on you all day or take all day to find someone open. The offensive line will give that 1 man rushing crew fits.
One of the improvements to the defense is the ability for the defense to intercept the ball in the back of the endzone or near the sidelines. I can’t tell you how happy I am for making someone pay for throwing late to the out route. Ball Hawk has been refined this year now making it more of a timing thing. You can no longer just press Triangle/Y at the snap of the ball to activate the Ball Hawk feature. Hit sticks feel impactful but I’m still seeing the guy who delivered the big hit get hurt a little more than the QB that took the big hit. Also with the addition of the Pistol formation and mobile QBs, EA has instituted a way that you can focus in on the QB or the HB before the snap. Thus knowing exactly what that defensive end is going to do; crash or attack the QB.
When you first look at some of the Madden 25 videos put up including my own, you almost have to question if it’s Madden 25 or Madden 13. To the naked eye, just watching you don’t notice an increase in graphics. I think this has been used to judge Madden 25, saying it looks like Madden 13 so it the same game. That is far from the truth, but the limitation in the current gen consoles won’t allow for a better looking game. No sports games coming out this year look better than last year’s game and Madden 25 is no different, so don’t judge it on look alone. The grass is still green, the overlays look good, and the players close up look great.
Now presentation is much more than just how it looks, it’s also how the game immerses you into the game via sound and atmosphere. The crowd noise really isn’t that much improved either. There still isn’t that distinction from a big play, a sack or poor play. There is music that you can hear in between plays which sounds like the music they would play at real games and that sounds good as you can hear it cut off as the team breaks the huddle.
The commentary team of Nantz and Simms are back at it again and this year sound better than they did last year. The biggest improvement has to be in connected franchise where the duo will talk in length about things going on in your Connected Franchise, whether it’s moving your team to Mexico or having your last game in your old stadium. The commentary also gets a lot of stuff they got wrong last year when it comes to commenting on plays that are actually happening. While there is still a lack of calling every player by name or the lack of excitement on long returns or run plays, commentary is improved.
Everyone loves TD celebrations and while the NFL have banned some celebrations, EA has put in a number of TD celebrations in the game; 50 plus overall. Everything from the Rob Gronkowski’s Gronk Smash to Alfred Morris’ Home Run Swing. Some TD celebrations are missing including Cam Newton’s Superman and Jacoby Jones’ Crazy Dance. What’s also missing are these celebrations from any kind of Online Play.
Another new change is the new standard camera view that brings the camera back out from the field. This enables you to call hot routes without the camera zooming in and out every time you call one. Many guys won’t like this as you want to get closer to the field not further away. Good thing they let you change it and the zoom camera is not that bad.
The newly retitled Connected Franchise mode offers an incredible amount of things to do while your trying to be the best owner possible. You can elect to start a CFM as a player, a coach or an owner. Each has it’s own set of goals but if you thought Connected Careers was time consuming last year, then you have your hands full if you create an Owner. As an Owner you can do everything that your coach can do plus more. As an Owner you can set ticket prices, sell merchandise, upgrade your bathrooms, hire staff, set prices for concessions, and more. Luckily through the help of advisers and some twitter feeds from fans you’ll have a clue as to what you need to do but you can do whatever you want. If you want to set all of the food prices to as low as you can, then go for it. You are the owner and you’ll determine your own fate. It’s not all about winning, but more all about fan happiness. If the fans are not happy they will not buy merchandise or come to the games and therefore you won’t have any money to sign free agents or hire better coaches and staff. Unfortunately you won’t be able to hire Offensive or Defensive Coordinators but you can hire Scout and Trainer.
One of the biggest things about being an owner is the ability to take your team and relocate them to another city. There are 17 cities that you can move to. Each new city has a choice of 3 team names and 3 uniform options, so the the combinations are a lot. While there is no way to customize the cities’ nicknames this does allow the commentary to talk specifically about your new team name. The relocation process is available if your stadium falls below a certain level overall but there is an option available to the commissioners that start the league to enable all teams the ability to move. What this means is even though the Cowboys have a new stadium, they can move in year one. Once a city is vacated, another team can not go to that vacated city. So once all 17 cities have been moved to that’s it as far as location. Maybe there will be a DLC for more cities.
While it seems like there is just so much to Owners mode to wrap your head around, the CFM website will help alleviate the tasks you have to do on the console. The CFM website is a lot better than last year as far as performance improvements, but it lacks the necessary tools that commissioners need or want. You can now advance your league from the website which looks great on your phone or tablet. What you can’t do is any of your owners mode tasks, like set prices, in fact you can’t even see anything under the owners mode tab. You can progress you players, order your depth chart, and view the weeks matchup. Now back in May EA had a blog that said there would be some new commissioner tools and many commissioners of leagues have been looking but I can’t find anything or have heard of anything. You still can’t sim a win or loss, set people on autopilot from the website, advance multiple weeks, or draft from the site. Those are still things that I think were available on the website would have been a great help to Madden 25 Commissioners everywhere.
Some other improvements to Franchise Mode is new trade logic, the ability to import NCAA Football 14 draft classes, position changes in the off-season, and the ability to start a CFM with a custom roster. The Fantasy Draft that was patched in last year is now back to like it was in Madden 12 where all players are available for the draft. If you did a Fantasy Draft last year, you know what I’m talking about and it’s great to see it back to where it was before.
You also have the ability to control all 32 teams in CFM this year. This was a big let down last year as people who lived in the same household could not play in a CFM together like they were able to before. This has been fixed for offline users and is really easy to create multiple players, coaches, and owners.
If you have been visiting MyMaddenPad lately you’ll notice a series of articles we are doing that features the Top 5 players we want to see on a Madden Share roster. Madden Share allows the Community to share custom rosters, custom playbooks, custom sliders, and share highlights. I really hope the Community to takes this feature to town and uploads a ton of stuff. I really think this feature has the potential to be something big, but as we know if people don’t use it, it won’t get updated in the future. Our friends over at Prima Games already have a playbook out there called “Top 25 Plays”. You can download files, like or dislike files, or upload your own.
If you are a competitor like you love playing against other players in Madden. This year the online portion of Madden NFL 25 has pretty much been overlooked. The match making has been improved; to what degree, I don’t know but other than that it hasn’t. Online Communities are the same, Online Team Play is the same, Lobbies, Ranked Games, and challenging people online are the same.
Custom playbooks are back and now you can use custom playbooks in every mode in Madden 25. What’s also is great in my opinion is the ability to set custom audibles for every formation in your playbook.
Practice mode hasn’t changed in fact they took something away that I’m surprised I haven’t heard a lot about. When I’m practicing offense I like to put my defense in a formation and press ‘random’ to play against random plays form that formation. Well now you can’t put your defense in a random play call; which makes practicing and trying to read the defense pre-snap practically impossible.
MUT is back and this year it contains Seasons just like NCAA Football 14.
Online is really lacking in my opinion and needs an overhaul more than anything.
In conclusion the 25 years of Madden has sparked some innovation throughout the years and the EA Tiburon Studio did a pretty good job of following up Madden 13 when it comes to Madden NFL 25. There needs to be more balance to the gameplay, zones are terrible as players lose discipline and don’t follow WRs through their zone, and WRs block too well. The offense is still a little overpowered with the new additions to the running game, but with the addition of owner mode, you’ll spend more time running your team than running your RB in a game. The addition of Owner Mode in CFM is a welcomed addition, but the lack of commissioner controls have hardcore fans scratching their head.
Madden NFL 25 doesn’t look like a lot from first glance, but when you put the controller in your hand and start playing you’ll be glad you didn’t make a judgement on just looks.
I give Madden NFL 25 a 4.3 out of 5
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Summary: Madden NFL 25 doesn't look like a lot from first glance, but when you put the controller in your hand and start playing you'll be glad you didn't make a judgement on just looks.