(click linked text below to jump to related section of the review)
- The Game Itself
- 4 Stars
- The Video: Sizing Up the Picture
- 4 Stars
- The Audio: Rating the Sound
- 4 Stars
- Replay Factor
- 5 Stars
- Bottom Line
- Street Date:
- August 27th, 2013
- Reviewed by:
- Roger Shao
- Review Date:1
- September 9th, 2013
- Game Release Year:
- Xbox 360
- EA Sports
- EA Tiburon
- ESRB Rating:
- E (Everyone)
EA Sports welcomes the newest installment in the 'Madden' franchise as the popular title celebrates its 25th anniversary. For this historic achievement, EA Sports has created one of the best Maddens yet, by introducing new features and improving several existing gameplay mechanics. While often seen as 'too complicated' for those who haven’t experimented with the game, Madden 25 is surprisingly accessible and will have gridiron fans running plays and dishing out hits in no time.
The Game Itself: Our Reviewer's Take
The first thing I noticed about Madden when I got into the gameplay was the game's level of authenticity. From the titles to the menus, everything has that extra level of realism that mirrors NFL TV broadcasts. Of course being the only licensed game from the National Football League kind of cuts down on the competition. Still, 'Madden 25' does bring the presentation we have come to expect from EA Sports.
One of the big changes this year involves the tweaks that EA Tiburon made to the vaunted Infinity Engine 2, which gives users total control. Whether its breaking tackles, recovering from a stumble, or stringing together jukes and moves to elude the defenders, 'Madden' has it all. The physics in the game are some of the series' best. It is especially exciting to see multiple defenders going after the ball carrier, and the ensuing rush of adrenaline that you get as you gang tackle a runner or juke a defender out of his shoes is real and immediate.
Although it takes some time to get used to the controls and button combinations, the game gets easier the more you play, and as you learn the ins-and-outs. And while you may find yourself struggling to defend top-tier running backs like Adrian Peterson, (I mean come on he's AP, it's tough to stop him in real life,) who can cut through the defense using fakes and breaking through tackles to get to the end zone, you never feel like you’re not in control.
That’s not to say that the game engine is flawless. Often times when you or the computer go to intercept a pass, the result is an inexplicable drop. This can happen even with WIDE OPEN interceptions. This isn't too frequent, but definitely something to watch for. One other small issue to note is the awkward camera angles and long cutaway scenes that try to emulate TV broadcasts. Real life TV has to show these scenes because football is such a stop and start sport, and there are maybe only twenty actual minutes of action in a three hour game.
To cover for all that downtime we are shown shots of players resting on the sideline and coaches talking to their assistants. I don’t know about you, but I have no interest in fake nonexistent conversations between a coach and his special teams coordinator. The camera for a fake punt or field goal is also troublesome as it properly mimics the real punt or kick but leaves you at a disadvantage when trying to survey the field to get that crucial trick play yardage.
Online play is strong and is probably going to be the major time sink along with Franchise mode. Any lag that occurred was not significant enough affect the gameplay.
For those who want a more hands-on Madden experience beyond just playing the computer in a normal setting, there is the Connect Franchise mode. Choose from a Player, Coach, or Owner as you progress through each season and focus on improving your team, making trades, going through practices, or even (as an owner) setting your concession prices. A nice bonus this year is the inclusion of legendary players like cover athlete Barry Sanders, Dan Marino, Deion Sanders, Jerry Rice and many others.
Returning this year is the mini-game, Madden Ultimate Team. Basically, it is a collectible card game that simulates team building and is a neat time waster if you are an enthusiast of Collectible Card Games. Unfortunately, as in all CCGs, the only way to get a better deck is to pay real money to buy booster packs,and just like all those childhood games of Magic the Gathering, those with the most money, will triumph.
The Video: Sizing Up the Picture
There is not much to complain about when it comes to Madden's graphics. The picture is clean and crisp with very minor issues. The players look realistic and accurate, and the gameplay is smooth. You can’t really ask for too much more.
The Audio: Rating the Sound
Much like the quality of the video, EA Sports does a good job with the audio by adding great commentary as well as twenty-five categories of new player 'on the field' sounds with line variations and physical collision sound effects.
Due to the numerous game modes, 'Madden 25' will keep coming back for more. Once you are able to pick-up on the controls and technique, it quickly becomes one of the most entertaining sports titles on the market today.
For someone who does not automatically purchase Madden every year, I was very impressed with how much the series has grown. The game itself is addicting and for those that like a challenge, Madden offers entire playbooks' worth of strategy.
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