The Madden NFL video game franchise started 25 years ago. Meaning that possibly two months after I was born, Madden Football came out and started their evil plans to take over the sports video game market! Over that 25 years, I along with other Madden fans have seen this game go through a lot of changes. Some were good, some were bad, but in the end we have all come back to Madden because we like football that much! Anyways, Madden 25 is running on the second iteration of the Infinity Engine which fixes some of the A.I. issues from the last game as well as add some new features to the game.
One of the first things that EA fixed with this game is the run and pass blocking. Your offensive linemen will pick up a blitzing linebacker, double team a potential threat on the line and pick up blocks down the field to help you get a few extra yards. This was one of my biggest issues down the line with the last game and seeing my team actually block, giving me time to make a decision on when to cut or who to throw to is a big plus in my book. However…(I know there is always a “however” with me right!?) there are times when the wrong guy is blocked or not blocked at all on certain run plays. This could be due to the persons rating in the game but it does get annoying if you like running outside run plays. Another reason this fix is welcomed, because this year EA has put a lot of emphasis on the run game. Hint the “Run Free” moniker. Speaking of running free, just like in NCAA Football 14, EA has given you many weapons to extend the play pass the pitch and catch or just getting the first down. They have added the ability to recover from stumbling and added the ability to combine your running back and wide receiver moves. Meaning you can cut right and follow that up with a spin move immediately, be careful how you use these moves because of the new stamina bar added. Low stamina means you could risk turning the ball over trying to be too fancy. I like this feature for mostly online players who like using certain moves too much and it gives less chance of an exploit being found and used.
Another change in this years game is the Force Impact feature. It opens up new tackle opportunities but also gives offensive players an upper hand as well. The best part of this feature is watching someone attempting to hurdle a player and you see a defender come out of nowhere and hit him, flipping him about 50 times in mid-air and possibly causing a fumble. This feature is also great because of the fact that you can no longer just get trucked by any small back or receiver, they have to be strong enough to do it. No more trucking Casey Hampton if your one of those small weak backs trying to make a name for yourself!
Other things that I liked in this game is the Connected Franchise mode. Last year I had an issue with their being custom playbooks but not having the ability to use them. As well as no option to import your NCAA Football draft classes. Well, EA listened to the fans and added back in the ability to import your Draft classes, but not your Road To Glory player. Which is a bummer because I was excited to hear that this game will let you import your draft classes, so I automatically thought they would let you import your Road To Glory guy. On the other hand, Franchise mode has been enhanced with Owner mode being added back into the game. This was apart of Franchise mode in earlier games, they have given it new life in this game. With the ability to create your own owner with game face and take control of a team. This mode adds more depth to your game play than just signing players and trying to find the next player that will fit your schemes. Now you can go back to thinking about what the fans will think about your team and making some money. This is also great for those who liked watching teams relocate that you possibly never knew wanted to move away from where they currently played. Example…the Oakland Raiders chose to relocate to Sacramento within the first week of the regular season. Was I surprised…yes…was it funny….yes..yes it was. However, the downside to owner mode, at least in terms of relocating your team. You can only relocate to the 17 places they allow. Back when the feature was first put in the game, you could relocate where ever you wanted to. Hell, I could move to Iowa if I wanted to and the virtual people of Iowa would praise me for the extra revenue and possibly a championship caliber team.
The upside to it, you have a chance to place a team in England, Canada, Mexico and Ireland. The last thing that you might like about this mode as well, you can have multiple characters in one franchise. I created a QB after I created my owner and they both play with in the same franchise..just two different teams. This is great if you don’t want to do an online franchise and want to have friends over for Madden night. Small issue, that will probably get fixed when the game launches. Game Face is a little messed up, my player has no eyes. He looks like The Undertaker from WWE but short and black.
The last thing you will probably notice is the small change in Madden Ultimate Team. This year EA has made it all about chemistry. Some of you may be familiar with this from the FIFA Ultimate Team mode where your team will perform better depending on their chemistry. The other change noticed is audibles. You can now change packages depending on the personnel you have on the field. So don’t expect to change from i-form to shotgun if you don’t have the right people on the field to make that transition.
So, with all of the changes that EA has made, Madden 25 will please the majority of football gamers out there. It still suffers from some small issues like slight input delays in high tension situations, not being able to use your custom playbooks in your schemes and not being able to import your Road To Glory player. However, the fixes outweigh the bad. One thing I forgot to mention, as a player in Connected Franchise, you now earn your starting position compared to last year where you instantly started upon selecting a team. Madden 25 however has a ton of fixes that helps this game become one of the best Maddens they have put out to date. Madden NFL 25 launches for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 August 27th and will be a launch title for the Xbox One and PlayStation 4.
*A copy of his game was provided by EA Sports for review purposes