EA is back this year with a brand new game in the Madden NFL series! This year, the game is making its debut on the PlayStation 4 as one of the handful of launch titles available for the console. Let’s take a look at whether Madden has made a giant leap into the next-generation or whether it stumbles out of the gates.
It’s the 25th anniversary of the Madden NFL series this year for EA and like every year, the question that seems to always pop up is, is this year’s game worth the upgrade over last year? The answer is a mixed bag.
I’ve been a sports video game fan for a long time and have played a lot of Madden games over the years (most recently, Madden 13) but, this one is one that I had a really hard time reviewing for the sheer amount of hits and misses throughout.
When you pop the game in your PlayStation 4, install takes no time at all and you’re in the game within minutes, the game is one of the lighter games out of the launch lineup in regards to hard drive space only taking a minimum of 16 GB. The game boots up very quickly on PS4 and brings you into a very bold, easy to navigate menu where you can go into a variety of options and game modes. The menu is far better than the ones in games like NHL 14 which lack any real character. There are numerous game modes like Connected Franchise, Ultimate Team, and more as well as the new Madden Share features which allows you to share rosters, sliders, and playbooks.
The visuals in general are fairly good with more detailed shadows and glare and he player models look better than they ever have. The stadiums themselves leave a little to be desired though with a lot of blurry edges and same old fans. It’s not anything that’s noticeable once you’re in the game but, the pre-game camera cuts really bring them to light. I think we’ll have to wait another year for this game to really ramp up the visuals, the players, playing field and sidelines look good enough to get a passing grade though. The main thing that has long been a problem with EA Sports games is that some of the players just do not look like themselves and it really takes you out of the moment when you know how someone looks and they look nothing like reality in the game.
The sound more than makes up for the visuals as the presentation is top notch with crowd noises being loud and boisterous during big plays and disapproving when the home side does something wrong. The commentary is also a bright spot with a lot of good dialogue that never sounds too forced. Every game feels like it’s more of a story than a sequence of plays which is how it should be. Madden 25 really creates in in stadium feel and I really enjoyed how everything came together, the music through the loudspeakers, the crowd, the players on the feel, the sound of hits, they really nailed all of it.
The offensive gameplay is a two-sided attack with the passing game being very well implemented and the running game leaving a little to be desired. I’ve always been a player who does a good mix of passing and running on offense and I felt like I was really hampered trying to run the ball in this year’s game. The movement feels very clunky when trying to run the ball, it doesn’t feel like you have a whole lot of control over where you’re going as changing direction slows your player down and makes them far more vulnerable to even a faint hit. The passing game however seems a lot more precise and responsive. If you throw to the wrong place on the feel, the defense is going to eat that ball up and be on their way back to your end zone. Passing is just a much better utilized method of offense than the run game in Madden 25. Don’t get me wrong, you can still get some yard running but, you’ll have to work a lot harder and really pick your gaps a lot more carefully than in previous years.
The defensive game seems to be a lot more aggressive this year with a lot more interceptions with the defending team taking far better positioning requiring the passer to make sure he doesn’t force a pass. The hits also seem a lot more authentic and realistic, not every one knocks you down and not every tug pulls the player down. Fumbles are not frequent but, are huge events when they happen as you can tell from the crowd reaction. The player AI is very good and the players on the field just feel that much smarter and more realistic and that helps Madden 25 through some of it’s negatives.
Overall, Madden 25 is a decent football game and one that will keep you coming back for a long time. There are some negatives to address in terms of graphical quality and a clunky running game however, the first football game on the PlayStation 4 definitely gets a passing grade and will keep football fans busy until August when the next version takes its place.
A copy of this game was provided by EA to FYIG for review purposes.