Madden NFL 25 Review (PS3)
The Madden NFL series is one that has been around for quite some time, with this year’s release marking the 25th entry. Love it or hate it, year after year it is one of the most successful games released—even with only minor improvements over the last iteration. As minor as they may seem, to the Madden die-hard, they mean everything. Are this year’s changes enough for a touchdown? Or should EA go back to the line of scrimmage?
Madden NFL 25 has taken the same approach as the earlier released NCAA Football 14 with its menu layout and visuals. It has a tile-like layout akin to Windows 8, which may or may not be a good thing depending on your tastes. However, for Madden it definitely adds some appeal, making choosing options and modes a more fluid experience since everything you need is right in front with its own specific tile to choose.
Play now lets you hope right into a game. Skill trailer teaches you the ins and outs of playing with the pigskin, while Practice lets you put what you’ve learned to the test without the worry of winning or losing. Ultimate Team has you earning cards and coins to build your very own team to your liking. Online Head-to-Head is well, just that. Never Say Never moments let you relive the most exhilarating moments in NFL history—pick your favorite, it’s there. EA Sports Arena is essentially tournament mode. And Team Play puts 3v3 players in an exhibition-style game.
The biggest addition mode-wise in Madden 25 is the long awaited return of Owner mode. By browsing through the Connected Careers mode you will be given several options when beginning your online or offline Connected Career. Players can choose to be a player, coach, or owner. After choosing which role you want to take with your favorite team you must choose whether you would like to be a current person, created person, or legend. Choosing the created owner gives you the opportunity to customize yourself and choose the back story. Would you like to be a mogul or a life-long fan? The choice is yours.
After you become the owner, you then take control over your team, this leads into a huge number of choices you can make, all reflecting on you as an owner, and your organization as well. You can turn to advisers for suggestions (finances, stadium, staff, marketing, fan happiness, team success), answer media questions, etc. all in hopes of leading your team to success. Depending on your answers, it will result in different bonuses if you are able to meet the promises you make.
In all three options of Connected Careers you will be able to earn XP to level up your players. Within the Owner mode you will also make money to change things on the stadium, such as adding and upgrading the fan zone, updating seats, etc. There are so many opportunities to expand your fanbase that it will leave you feeling like the actual owner of your own NFL team. If you are unhappy with the current status of your team you could always change things up by hiring or firing certain staff members, making that big free agent acquisition, and even relocating the team to a completely new area. There are seventeen total cities to choose from for relocation purposes. Not all changes need to be as drastic as picking up and moving across the country – you can also make small changes such as changing up the prices of items. As the owner you can control ticket prices, merchandise prices, and even concession prices. Even the smallest changes can make a difference over a given time period.
This year in Madden Ultimate Team you will be able to use chemistry with your unlocked player cards. Depending on the type of team you would like to build from the ground up, you will want to focus on specific types of players and cards in building your Ultimate Team. Chemistry and similar playing styles can be crucial to the success of the team.
The new precision modifier adds a whole arsenal of moves that the player can use within the game, giving more detailed moves than what you would normally accomplish with the right analog stick. To activate it simply press down the L2 button and your player will slow down, then use the right stick, or face buttons and the ball carrier will perform different moves on defenders. It works very well, and also allows you to fake out defenders and do more detailed jukes, trucking, and even hurdle your would be tacklers. Both defense and offense will react better to you as a player. If you are passing the ball, the secondary will finally react properly and be able to break on the ball if you rush a throw. This is due to the all new “ball hawk” ability that defenders can use. With the previously mentioned precision modifier on offense you will find yourself running the ball a lot more than in the past, because it finally feels natural rushing the football.
The Infinity Engine 2 is now used in this game—originally debuting in NCAA Football 14. The engine itself is much more fluid, and allows for a much more true-to-life experience. Players look more realistic, and react as their real-life counterparts act on a Sunday (minus the buffalo wings, beer, and nachos). While the sound hasn’t seen much different from previous installments, and the commentary has definitely taken a turn for the better over the past couple of years.
Madden NFL 25 is the epitome of what makes Madden great. It’s a refined experience, slightly improved in every way—just as it is each year. The improvements and tweaks are never so visible and glowing that make it a must-have if Football isn’t your thing, but if it is, you were probably going to buy Madden NFL 25 anyway. You certainly can’t go wrong if you do, because this year’s is the best yet, making a spectacle of the 25th year anniversary of the series. The graphical jump might feel more significant when the next-gen hardware arrives, of course, but you will miss out on months of football gaming goodness,