Madden NFL 25 Review (PS4)
Since the days of NFL licensed electric football, people have been trying to replicate the pro game in their living rooms for ages. Back then people had to use their imagination quite a bit, but thankfully for today’s generation we can plop down on the couch and fire up our favorite video game consoles to do just that. With the release of Sony’s Playstation 4 on Friday, and Microsoft’s Xbox One release just around the corner, EA Sports has released their latest iteration of its NFL franchise, Madden 25.
For the last few months fans of the series have been treated to a bevy of trailers put out by EA, but minimal true gameplay videos. The gameplay videos that were released were subject to much scrutiny and fans had trouble determining if they were current gen, next gen , or simply bad video compression. Basically the next generation pre-release for Madden 25 was somewhat clouded in secrecy.
Now that early adopters have their systems, and Madden 25 is readily available for all to play, that is exactly what we have done, and find ourselves somewhat surprised and pleased with what it brings to the table. We would also like to mention that we tested the PS4 version of Madden 25 on All-Madden and All-Pro default to keep the our findings consistent for the reader.
The running game was considered to be a slight improvement in Madden 25 on the current generation of consoles, but that was all about to change according to EA, as they implemented their new locomotion technology on the PS4 and Xbox One versions. EA claimed that the new True Step technology that was implemented would give the user a new feeling of weight and momentum, with 4x the precision than before, and to quite honest you can feel the new technology almost instantly the first time you hit the field running with the ball. The user must take the time to read the blocking scheme, be patient, and hit the hole or edge at the precise time in order to have any chance at a consistently good running attack. However, one needs to realize that the ratings of the runner and their offensive line, and their opponents defensive line will have a true impact of this finally. There is still some fine tuning that needs to be done with the overall running game, but the improvements are a large step in the right direction
As much as we like the running game improvements, we love the new offensive and defensive line interaction even more. For the first time in the Madden series, users can actually see a true pocket forming for their quarterback, and feel realistic pressure being applied from the edges. The battle down the line truly benefits from the extra calculations’ that the new systems provide, and it’s impressive to see stronger defensive linemen being double teamed, and quicker defensive ends beating the tackle around the edge. Each individual lineman, both offensive and defensive, now have their own individual thought process and act accordingly depending on the situation. We did notice some oddities during our time with Madden25 in regards to this facet of the game, but overall were very pleased with this first year effort.
If you played Madden 25 on the 360 or PS3, than you have a full understanding of the tragedy that was the secondary play. Often times corners or safeties would simply run away from the play, or not even recognize that it was even happening. While we are not ready to anoint Madden 25 on the PS4 as the king of secondary play, we are ready to admit that there have been some good improvements in this area. man coverage has been tightened up and zone coverage is better. This area still needs some improvement, but it does play better than the past gen version, and that is without any slider manipulation at all. One area that is worth pointing out is the deep ball, and the fun we had watching the defender and the wide receiver battle for ball. It’s nice to see the defender put a hand in during the reception and try and knock the ball away from the receiver.
With much to like about the improvements to this version of Madden 25, there are obviously some gameplay issues that still need to be corrected in Madden 15 and beyond. Quarterback accuracy was an issue on the PS3 and360, and it seems to still be an issue on the PS4 version. We understand that even average quarterbacks can have a career day on any given Sunday(or Monday and Thursday)but it happens way to often too often in this version. Way too often do we see Jason Campbell and Ryan Tannehill(no disrespect to Fins or Raider fans)look like Peyton Manning and Drew Brees. Yes this can be somewhat corrected with slider adjustments, but the ability to differentiate between elite quarterbacks and average quarterbacks should be a staple on default.
Finally for gameplay we need to address special teams, because apparently no one at EA Tiburon wants to. With saying that, we need to at least mention that kickoff and punt returns have been tweaked enough to where returns are the exception, and not the norm. Unfortunately that is where the tweaking has stopped, and everything else has gone untouched. Fans of the series have harped on this aspect far too long, for nothing to be done. It is high time that a new kicking mechanic be implemented that actually requires some skill to kick long and accurate, and has the ability for a punt that doesn’t spring into the back of the end zone with a smoke trail coming off of it.
We wanted to touch upon the connected franchise mode just a bit as it remains relatively the same as on previous versions, with one huge exception. The ability to transfer draft classes from NCAA 14 into Madden 25 from the PS3 did not find its way onto the PS4 version, and users are forced to use the created draft classes that EA has provided. While some may find no issue with that, others may find that to be a huge problem. Other than that, you will still have the ability to fire up a franchise, pick your favorite team and play through multiple seasons, sign free agents, rebuild your stadium in its current city or relocate your team and build a new one.
Our time was limited somewhat with Madden 25 online, but we are happy to report that the two games we did play online were very enjoyable, and lag free. It was easy to connect, and literally played as if we were sitting on the couch next to each other. One aspect that fans will truly be happy about is the fact that the accelerated clock actually worked perfectly online, and that will make Online Connected Franchise fans very happy.
All the modes that were available from Madden 25 on the PS3 and 360 have carried over, and have done so in the exact same fashion. So whether it’s play now, ranked match, Ultimate Team, or of course online connected franchises, it’s all there. Fans of Ultimate Team will be extremely pleased to know that if you are upgrading from the PS3 to PS4 version of Madden 25, you can transfer and continue your progress from the previous system.
We have already mentioned the sizzle trailers that were put out before the launch of Madden 25 on the PS4, and by now most know that the game falls short of reaching that level in the graphical department. The saddest part of this whole scenario is the fact that there is such a disconnect between the marketers at EA and the community that they rely on, that they felt the need to hide what the game truly looked like. While the game may not have reached the level seen on a certain basketball title just released, it does look very good at times, and I feel the community would have embraced it for what it is – a good looking game with room for improvement. Having said that, there are some issues with missing textures and lighting, player models are hit and miss, and the sidelines and crowd are only slight improvements, but overall the game has a nice look to it. Hopefully this is an area that gets the attention it deserves next year, but for now the overall look of the game is acceptable.
Commentary is another area that was said to have been worked on, and you can hear it on certain occasions, especially if you are in franchise mode, but this is another area that really needs some work put forth in future titles. At times Phil Simms and Jim Nance sound good, but too often they sound disconnected and actually diminish the gameplay, not enhance it like they are supposed to.
For the first time in years, the changes that have been made to the Madden franchise feel legitimate and not tacked on, or just tweaked. You can feel the differences the developers made under the hood per say, and they seem to have the laid the groundwork for an extremely solid game in 2014. That’s not to say that Madden 25 should be cast aside so quickly though. There is a solid, but imperfect game of football for those who are willing to give Madden 25 a chance on their new system of choice.
It is true that the good folks over at EA seem to over promise and under deliver often, but in our honest but humble opinion, it feels like they are finally making real changes to game in the areas that actually matter. Of course there is still a ways to go, but for the first time in a long time, we feel good about the direction that the franchise is headed. The proverbial ball is in EA Tiburon’s court, and if they can follow this year’s version up with an even stronger effort, the Madden community and the development team might actually be on the same page for the first time in almost a decade.
Learning Curve – Madden 25 feels very familiar if you have played the series before, but the running mechanics will take a bit to master.
Control Scheme – basically the same as Madden 25 on the previous consoles.
Visuals – Not as nice as promised, but still not bad.
Audio – Commentary is a bit stale, but the crowd and on field action is decent.
Score: 8.0 (Great)
Scoring Note: An 8.0, or great, on our scale indicates a game is not without its flaws but it manages to move the genre/sport it represents meaningfully forwards. With Madden NFL 25, there are numerous on-field improvements plus the same features we got in current gen to upgrade the score from the current-gen game. By all accounts, this is the best playing football game ever with the better physics, line play, and bells and whistles added in.