Every year, there are some things in the video game industry that never seem to change. One of those things is the release of Madden NFL to mark the beginning of the fall video game rush. For twenty-five years Madden has slowly moved towards emulating the real NFL. The question is this year’s twenty-fifth anniversary edition Madden NFL 25 a large step forward or a small incremental change? Read more to find out.
From a gameplay perspective, this is the best Madden yet. The Infinity Engine from last year has been refined. Players move more realistically; subtle things like tripping over defenders on the ground, pushing the pile, and fighting for the ball in midair. The more refined engine also means no more glitchy animations or players on the ground with their leg twisting fifty different ways. Though the biggest improvements in the gameplay come from the changes to the Infinity Engine, there are several other small changes to make a more entertaining, more realistic game. The precision passing has been toned down so you can’t lead players as much, blocking AI has been improved, and players actually will fight for the ball when it is in the air. Online play works perfectly with little to no lag and getting into games is incredibly easy no matter what mode you are playing. Menus have been improved but still can be super slow and lag. Not only that, but the layout, while better than last year, is still hard to navigate.
All the on the field improvements are great, but sports games are typically known for having tons of modes to play around with and this is the case for Madden 25. All of the modes from Madden 13 return and have been enhanced in some way. Connected Careers has had an interface overhaul making it easier to find what you want and Owner Mode from previous years has been brought back. So once again, you can choose to relocate your team or charge slightly more for hotdogs. Madden Ultimate Team has been given a season mode. These additions are nice and the return of Owner Mode will make long time addicts like myself incredibly happy.
On the presentation front, Madden 25 has seen minor improvements. This is easily the best looking football game ever made with great looking animations and tons of little details. Sound design is superb; listening to Madden 25 in 5.1 is awesome. You feel every hit and the sound from the crowd can feel real at times. There are now custom team intros for prime time games. A lot of effort has gone into making it look like a CBS or NBC broadcast and if it weren’t for the awful repetitive commentary you would almost believe that it is a CBS broadcast. It is sad that one of the biggest names in sports video games that looks this good continues to have some of, if not the worst, color commentary out there.
Madden 25 is easily the best Madden game from a gameplay perspective. All the modes are there, the actual football is realistic, the sound is fantastic, and it is easily the best looking football game ever made. That said some problems do hinder the experience. The commentary is terrible, other presentation aspects like the menus while improved still need work, and at times it just doesn’t feel like a big enough jump for the more casual football fan. Madden 25 is a great game but it is still lacking in some key ways.
Final Score: 8.0/10