Madden NFL 25

What Do You Get John Madden For His Silver Anniversary?

Wait, Madden is 25? That makes me… never mind!
Author: Aram Lecis
Published: August 27, 2013
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Tales as old as time… song as old as rhyme… it’s the late summer so it must be time for a new version of the granddaddy of all football games, Madden NFL 25! Mere months away from the next generation, how does this year’s game stack up in the storied history of this franchise?


The Madden franchise historically has undergone one major revision each generation (usually in the second year) and then refines that in future iterations. You’d therefore be correct in assuming that this latest release doesn’t bring any great change but instead offers one of the slickest versions of the game yet, with mode becoming even more refined and gameplay that is tweaked more than evolved. When you’re starting off from the top (and frankly there isn’t any competition) you can afford to pay attention to the subtleties.

This year’s edition of Madden marks the 25th anniversary of the original PC release that no one but me has any recollection of (but you can check it out here). If you take the time to look back at that, you’ll find that you really can see the basis for the games we get today. Back then, games came in cardboard boxes and 2 point conversions were for kids, but we still ran plays from the bottom of the screen to the top (which was considered more “hardcore” back in those days… ultra-popular Tecmo Bowl used a side view). We’ll always have a soft spot for the passing window years and Madden 25 warms our heart with loading screens that double as trivia tidbits for various years of Madden. Unfortunately these screens aren’t as interesting as they could be (some just say “This was the first year you could import a player”) and there aren’t ones for every year, only about a dozen of them. I would have LOVED to just have the loading screen be a video of some gameplay from a random year and all iterations of Madden were rotated through.

Poor Don Majkowski gave way to Brett Favre after this

While the gameplay doesn’t shift seismically each year, EA does make sure they spice up things with some new moves (or at least new terms for existing moves). This year’s new innovation is known as “Run Free” and is designed to give you more control when toting the rock, and is the next step to improving the running game after last year’s updated blocking schemes. The idea behind Run Free is that in addition to the usual array of moves you can pull off with the face buttons and the right analog stick, you can also execute advanced versions of those by holding down L2 while inputting the action. Thus your simple dive becomes a dive where you stretch out for those extra inches that ARE RIGHT THERE IN FRONT OF OUR FACES, or your truck becomes a truck where you truck so low that you kiss the defenders cleats. The claim is that you get 30 total moves to keep from getting tackled, although it’s closer to 10 that have little variations and can be combo’d. The new training mode (still miss the old pylons from the minicamp in the PS2 days) will teach you all that and more and offers a nice little distraction when you only have a few minutes for Madden. I really can’t say these new moves helped me rush any more efficiently, but I did feel like I had a bit more control when trying to elude tacklers.

On top of that there are a wide-ranging variety of minor tweaks to blocking, passing, and defense, along with tweaks designed to cut down on known online exploits. The Infinity Engine received a bit of an overhaul this year to make the physics a bit more real, but we get the impression the real changes won’t be seen until we are playing on a PS4.
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