Madden 25 Review

1Madden NFL 25 12-11-2013
All right, it’s time to review my first PS4 game! The Madden series is still one of my favorite video game titles out there because it is consistently good. It has many fans and many anti fans as you would expect from a series that sells so well. Sometimes the game doesn’t seem to have changed all that much, but when you’ve got a good thing going, why wreck it right? This one may be a step down from Madden 13, but it’s still a really good title and it’ll tide me over until I eventually buy Madden 15. (Potentially sometime during football season)

The game has quite a few modes. Naturally, we have the classic Play Now title, but there are also other modes like Ultimate Team and Skill Trainer. Skill Trainer is sort of like the Minicamp Mode from Madden 2004 and I thought that it was nice to see it brought back. The drills can be a little difficult to complete as you have to do the correct action 9 times out of 10 in order to get the gold trophy. I got all of the Golds for passing, defending and Pre Plays but I didn’t go and complete the rushing ones yet. Perhaps at some time, but I’m not aiming on getting the Platinum so it could be a while. They are also decently difficult as rushing is the trickiest to complete for some reason.

Speaking of which, that gets into my one big negative for Madden 25. It’s more of a negative for the PS4 than the game though since this appears to be the case for just about every online title. You can’t actually use the online battle services unless you buy PS+. A lot of the fun that I had in Madden 13 was when I was fighting other players online. The fact that I cannot do so now without buying the subscription is pretty sad. I don’t plan on getting PS+ anytime soon so the game will have to lose some replay value there. It also means that the Platinum is unattainable, which is unfortunate.

Ah well, beyond that, the game is rock solid as you would expect. The graphics look stunning and EA has always done a great job of making sure that their games were ahead of the curve. Of course, it also helps that I’m finally experiencing what the power of the PS4 can really do. There are few games that look quite as good as Madden and you can just stand back and appreciate the textures and backgrounds as the announcers start to set up the game. Otherwise, it can be a little bit of a hindrance because you can’t skip the opening for a few seconds, but what’s a few lost seconds here and there right? I still appreciate the huge amounts of effort that they put into the game.

I can’t really comment on the soundtrack as it was strangely absent a lot of the time. Either that or it was simply too subtle to notice. That’s a decently good thing as older Maddens typically had a pretty underwhelming array of themes. All you need is the main theme for when the match is about to start as that one is always great. Beyond that, I wouldn’t mind if there wasn’t any music here as it’s not really needed during the gameplay. The theme for the main menu is quite catchy so that’s better than nothing.

As always, there is a lot of replay value to be found here even if you can’t get the Platinum. You can go through the Connected Career mode to battle through various seasons. Honestly, just that mode alone can give you enough things to do for 50-100 hours. Skills Trainer will buy you a little more time and then you can try collecting as many trophies as possible. Trust me, Madden has never been lacking in content and that doesn’t change with this title. The no online hurts, but it’s certainly not a game changer.

I haven’t really talked about the core gameplay. If you are familiar with the NFL rules then you should be okay. If not, the basic goal of the game is to score points and stop the other team from scoring. The actual controls are fairly simple to use, but tough to master, which has always been a good mix. Running the ball can be great if the opponent is not expecting it, but you typically won’t go far. Like the real NFL, passing the ball is where all the action is and you have to be very careful about what throws you decide to go for. The defense is incredibly skilled and they will always beat your receiver to the ball if it is between them so you should almost never go for deep balls. Once you are really experienced at the game, then it’s all right to try these throws since you can take control of the receiver and beat out the defender yourself. It’s incredibly satisfying, but also difficult to pull off.

Madden 25 also constantly updates so the stories that play on the bottom of the screen are similar to the ones on the NFL’s official site. It’s cool to see how current the title is and it even updates the roster for you. Seriously, Madden 25 seems to have thought of everything and there are even Papa John ads throughout the game where the announcers will talk about how good it is. That was pretty neat and it’s not distracting from the actual gameplay so it’s a fun addition. The commentary may be a little limited, but it’s still a great feature during gameplay and it’s fun to hear them talk about what you’re doing on the field. It would be essentially impossible to make it perfect so I’m also satisfied with this.

Madden simply feels like a next gen title. Unfortunately, the game maybe starts to cross the line of being too realistic as turning while running with the ball can be a bit of a hassle now. For example, in an older Madden, you would turn and your player would crisply just keep running in a diagonal direction. Now, he has to actually turn to make the cut, which will briefly make the player stutter and that makes turning a little less effective. This change isn’t terrible and there are many new features to help compensate for this as you can use super stiff arms and other techniques, but the open field running was better in older titles. Once you learn all the tricks of the trade, you’ll be ready to do great things, but I can’t imagine that you will be running the ball very often.

If you want to know a good pass play that essentially works in every single Madden game, I highly recommend screen passes to your running back. It’s almost 100% guaranteed on 1st and 10 or 2nd and 10. The only times where it is dangerous to use it is in a short situation like 3rd and 1 as the cornerbacks will be a little too close for comfort. Alternately, you can use screens to your wide receiver occasionally to keep the opponent off balance. It’s not flashy and you will be fighting for each yard, but it works quite well. Slants are your next best option, but you have to be watching carefully before you release the ball.

Overall, Madden 25 is a very fun game. The no online is regrettable, but older Madden titles didn’t have this feature and I still enjoyed them a lot so this game is safe. The graphics are great and the soundtrack has noticeably improved since the themes are typically instrumental now, which works better with the game. Skills Trainer is fairly difficult, but it’s also a lot of fun and not much of a grind although I would expect some of the trials to take several efforts to complete. There’s a lot to do in this game so it’s well worth the initial 60 although the new price of 13-15 makes it even better. It’s not quite as good as Madden 2004 or Madden 13, but it gives 12 and 11 a good run for their money. Now that we are getting close to Football season, this is a good game to buy to get you in the mood and then you can trade up to Madden 15 once 16 comes out.

Overall 8/10

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