Publisher: Electronic Arts Developer: EA Sports Publisher: Electronic Arts Developer: EA Sports

Madden 25 Review, Release Date Details And More


Publisher: Electronic Arts
Developer: EA Sports
Platform: Xbox 360, PS3, Xbox One, PS4
Release Date: Current Gen: August 27th, Next Gen: November (Xbox One) November 15 (PS4)

It is August but for fans of the Madden NFL franchise, it might as well be Christmas Eve.

Madden 25 is just a few days from hitting shelves and we got our hands on a copy to take for a test drive so we could give all you GameSiders the inside scoop on whether the latest iteration of the popular franchise is worth your $60.

EA didn’t add a ton of bells in whistles to Madden 25 but instead decided to put the focus on improving the gameplay. The most noticeable difference between Madden 13 and Madden 25 is the addition of the Infinity Engine 2, Force impact system and the Precision Modifier.

The physics are greatly improved and EA was able to build upon the foundation it laid in Madden 13. You won’t see players flopping around and falling all over each other after plays this year but that is a small improvement compared to how much more realistic actually moving your players around the field is in Madden 25.

EA put a big emphasis on the running game but the impact of the improved physics is felt on both sides of the ball. Hits seem to really matter this year. Multiple times during testing, I would see a ball that would have been a catch in Madden 13, get knocked loose by a colliding defender. Sometimes it even appeared the WR had the ball reeled in when at the last second, a DB would reach in and swat the ball out of his hands. This makes the game a lot more fun to play on defense, particularly as a CB or S, as it really feels like your defender has a shot to separate the receiver from the ball, even if they are a little late on the coverage.

Nowhere is the improved player control more evident than in the running game. The running back cuts in a much more realistic fashion and now has the ability to regain balance after stumbling and can even bounce the ball back to the outside after running into the back of an offensive lineman. No longer are backs swallowed up when they are unable to find a hole up the middle. The same is true on defense when you charge into the line with a linebacker. This makes the game loads more fun as I actually felt like I still had a chance to make a play, despite striking out on my first line of attack.

The new Precision Modifier running system is fun but also a little complicated and overwhelming. As I was reading through how to produce the over 30 ball carrier moves and jukes (up from 8 in Madden 13) I felt like I was reading the move list for Mortal Combat. Complicated combo jukes involving hitting a trigger and then rotating a stick 90 degrees feels a little elaborate and near impossible to remember when you have just a split second to make a decision while playing the game.

To help players learn these new moves, EA brought back the Skills Trainer, something we have seen in past versions of the game. The Skills Trainer was also featured in the demo version of the game and it allows gamers to practice their moves in a tutorial before taking them to the field.

The game also features improved AI. I first noticed this in my second full game. I was playing as the Chiefs taking on the Broncos at Mile High. I was leading by seven when the Broncos faced a fourth and four with four minutes to go, inside my 20. Despite having all three of their timeouts, the Broncos decided to go for it.

I was flabbergasted.

In Madden 12, the Broncos surely would have kicked the FG and kicked the ball away. I felt like going for it on fourth down was something the real life Broncos head coach John Fox would do in the same situation. It was a divisional game, time was running out and he needed seven points not three. With only four yards needed and Peyton Manning at QB, the move made perfect sense.

And it made the moment a lot of fun in Madden 25. Especially since I stopped them.

Speaking of AI, the announcer AI also seems to be slightly improved. Phil Simms and Jim Natz are back in the booth. They still look like animatronic figures figures at a wax museum and most of the commentary is familiar but enough has been added for there to be a few surprises. There announcers seemed to have a better understanding of certain game situations and they would recap certain bits of useful information throughout the game that you’d expect to get from the real deal. For instance, when my kicker iced the game with just a few seconds remaining, Simms and Nantz had a conversation about kickers and how they are the only players on the field that have to think about doing their job right before they do it in pressure situations. It was a nice touch. Nantz will also update you on how many timeouts each team has left whenever they call one, which seems simple but is actually dead useful. If you burn your last timeout, Nantz will let you know.

The gameplay, particularly on offense, does seem a little easy at times. Like the real NFL, EA seems to be putting the emphasis on big offensive plays to make the game more exciting. While this is certainly fun, there were times I wondered if the game was a bit too easy. I still have yet to lose a contents playing on All-Pro and I assure you I am not the world’s greatest Madden player. I also finished one game playing as the Chiefs a perfect 12 for 12 with QB, Alex Smith, which despite Smith’s increased accuracy over the last two seasons, seems a little far-fetched. Advanced players could find the game not very challenging.

The good news is that EA has introduced Madden Share this year. A long time coming, players now have the ability to share and download rosters, slider sets and custom playbooks. I noticed in the materials distributed by EA that the service is “free”, which can’t help but make me wonder if it will soon be a premium service users have to pay for. There is no indication of that, however, and for now at least, Madden Share is probably the single biggest improvement to the franchise since they got rid of the “vision cone.”

Minor tweaks and improvements have been made to Madden Ultimate Team and Connected Careers, not called Connected Franchise but nothing to write home about. The biggest change is the addition of “Owner Mode.” Owner Mode allows the gamer to have full control over just about every aspect of running the team from ticket prices to stadium relocation. You can play as a current NFL owner or create your own. In Owner Mode, you still have the ability to draft and sign players and play games but the bonus is you control the business side of the operation as well. How successful you are and how much revenue you generate will directly impact what you are able to do to improve your football team.

We’ve seen elements of Owner Mode before in Madden but never quite to this level. It is a fantastic addition for gamers that really want an immersive, total control experience and frankly there is no reason not to leave it in as an option for gamers in subsequent versions of the game.

That said, we found it utterly boring and time-consuming. It adds a boatload of tasks on top of improving your players, practicing, gaining XP, scouting and playing the games. If you like to really take your time playing through seasons, this mode is for you but if you lack patience, you are better off playing franchise as a coach.

There is no telling how this title will play on Xbox One and PS4, but on on the current gen consoles, it is a heck of a lot of fun. The game looks and sounds an awful lot like Madden 12. The lack of major visual enhancements, any real noticeable change to the audio (which to be fair wasn’t that bad to begin with) mean you won’t notice much of a difference between Madden 12 and Madden 25…until you snap the ball.

The gameplay improvements are what this title is all about and the addition of Madden Share means it is a title you can hang on to for a while if choose to. After 25 years, EA has put out the most realistic-looking football game to date that is an excellent reflection of today’s NFL.


+Vast improvements to gameplay, physics and running style.

+Madden Share makes Madden 25 accessible and gives it a longer shelf life than any other title in the series thanks to community roster updates and sharing.

+/- Owner mode gives players total control of their franchise…but at the risk of putting them to sleep.

– Other than tweaks to Ultimate Team and the addition of Owner Mode, no real new game modes

Score: 9.0/10

(A copy of this game was provided to GameSided for the purpose of this review.)