The reviews are better than expected. Here’s a sampling:
The differences aren’t huge, and hard to spot at a glance, because most are under the hood. Over a few games, though, it becomes apparent that Madden 25 doesn’t screw up as much. The Infinity Engine 2 physics got a lot of tweaking, and players look more realistic than ever in action. Each tackle feels and looks different, with players tumbling to the ground in myriad ways, but this year they do it without the crazy splaying legs and linebackers comically tripping over a downed receiver after a play. The cartoonish goofiness that took us out of the experience is gone, and Madden feels one step closer to replicating the look and feel of a real NFL broadcast.
Polygon, 8.5— and this is the one that cinched it for me, they’re basically talking about Chip Kelly and Michael Vick here:
Yet Madden NFL 25 makes a number of mechanical tweaks and modifications to player behavior to make the action feel like a video game. It seems like a strange statement, but this isn’t always the case for Madden releases. Running is more responsive for every ball carrier (including a smoother-than-ever read option feel), and QBs have plenty of time to pick apart a defense. Simulation sticklers who demand a minutiae-oriented, difficult take on NFL football might find this shift to playability abhorrent. To me, it makes Madden NFL 25 one of the more accessible releases in the series, as it takes advantage of the NFL’s trend of mobile QBs and wide-open offenses.
Game Informer, 7.75— because god forbid they don’t round to the nearest half number:
The uneven execution of ideas that have characterized Madden in this generation continue. You can see it in an owner’s mode that changes little of how you run a franchise. It’s also evident in the game’s second stab at a physics model that produces tackles and hits that you would have never seen before, but which often inexplicably do not accurately take into account the mass of the players involved. These collisions are also at the whim of AI that have a hard time identifying targets to block, angles to take to a tackle, and sometimes even the awareness to trigger a tackle animation when the ball carrier is near.
EGM, 9.0— shockingly, Electronic Gaming Monthly is still a thing:
As such, Run Free gives the game a new—and much more refined—balance. Players who build their running skills while keeping up their passing attack will be stronger and much harder to defend. No longer can defenders rely on strong pass defenses, knowing their rival will just run headfirst into a pack of waiting defenders with little to no hope of breaking free. Whenever new features such as Run Free are announced for a sports game, it’s easy to discount the relevance as marketing copy. That isn’t true here. Run Free makes Madden NFL 25 a whole new game.
By sports game standards, however, this is a game that lags behind the pack and is increasingly unreflective of the professional game it represents. At its worst, it’s hamstrung by iffy commentary and glitch post-play animations. Its Connected Career Player Mode completely misses the point of stepping into the RPG shoes of one player, and its menus and interfaces are so sluggish that I was done trading after 10 minutes even though I’m the kind of Franchise gamer who always turns a squad upside-down.
It’s a game that’s increasingly unreflective of true NFL football, too often concerned with selling things to gamers instead of making the game fun. Case in point: Connected Careers’ new Owner Mode. Like the Player and Coach Modes in Madden’s franchise mode, the new Owner Mode lets you create your own owner, choose an existing one, or play as a legend and guide him through multiple years in a quest to reach the Hall of Fame.
Madden’s detractors often, and incorrectly, refer to its annual release as a “roster update.” Madden NFL 25 is anything but; it’s better than last season’s solid effort, and when compared to releases from two and three years ago is light years ahead in terms of on-field quality and off-field activities. While Madden may be burdened by relying on a core engine that is creaking under the weight of everything the development team is putting on top of it–and can’t quite seem to come up with a combination of gameplay and presentation smoothness that counterparts such as MLB: The Show or NBA 2K do–it scratches that football itch quite nicely this season.
Generally, the game’s on-field play is much better than that of Madden 13. Last year’s overly-effective man coverage has been tuned down, and the ease of leading both streak and wheel routes to the far inside of the field, perpetually out of the reach of defenders is a thing of the past. EA Tiburon also introduced a better read option system in Madden 25this year, in that the game identifies which defenders to watch out for when calling the tricky plays where both the quarterback and running back are a threat to run with the ball in their hands. Madden 25 also includes the new version of the physics engine first introduced in Madden 13, the Infinity Engine.
The consensus is that Madden 25 has significantly improved the running game and, to a lesser extent, the gameplay overall. It doesn’t feel drastically different from previous versions, though, because it still relies on the same, aging engine. The connected careers are hit and miss. Everything that you would expect is there, but the true RPG experience, especially in the newly added (and recycled) owner mode, is lacking.
But with all the talk about the enhanced running game and “read option” mentions, it sounds like the game was basically made to play with Chip Kelly’s offense. Better yet– in connected careers, you can take Randall Cunningham and place him on this Eagles squad. Yes, I’ll be doing that.
You can buy Madden 25 and support CB by using this Amazon link.