The demo for Madden NFL 25 released earlier today and provides a significant sample of gameplay to evaluate. Here are three complete game videos along with brief impressions and player ratings for the Seahawks, Packers, 49ers, and Ravens.
Coming out of E3 it was evident that Madden and NCAA Football 14 would play similar but there are some distinct differences. The one that has stood out the most is due to defensive players simply being more talented in the pros. The read-option can be effective but not practically uncontested as in NCAA. Making a mistake in Madden leads to a greater likelihood of a fumble or injury to the QB. The zoomed out camera angle, which many have expressed displeasure with already, seems to be playing a part in this as well making it harder to read the defensive keys.
The better players in general find themselves around the ball more and lay out bigger hits – and with the slower pace it makes Madden feel a bit more sloppy. The up-tempo and more open college game may have been disguising some issues.
The physics and collisions are all over the place at times. Even some one-on-one situations where a player like Randall Cobb flattened a bigger defender with a stiff-arm. Improvements to blocking are evident though assignments are still missed making plays like tosses feel as though they are a total crapshoot. Receivers and others blocking downfield is a highlight however.
On too many occasions receivers are not attempting to get their feet down on sideline catches. For whatever reason there have been more catches attempted at the sidelines than in year’s past possibly signaling a certain way the defenses are taking away the middle of the field and leaving those areas open. The CPU QBs have a tendency to make a lot of throws to receivers open heading toward the sideline. CPU late half/game AI is still questionable and they have the tendency to run no-huddle in situations it isn’t warranted.
The defensive line doesn’t seem to generate much if any pass rush. This along with the accuracy of the quarterbacks – and these are four terrific ones so that has to be factored into consideration – results in probably the biggest issue identified with the game so far. The CPU QBs are frequently completing 80%+ of their passes. When the Seahawks with the best defensive backfield in the league can’t keep Aaron Rodgers under 90% completions in a game good luck to teams with mediocre or poor secondaries.
One improvement over Madden NFL 13 and NCAA Football 14 is that the Hit Stick appears to have some purpose again. Last year using the Hit Stick was basically pointless, and in NCAA there are so few fumbles it doesn’t make much difference how a tackle is performed, but in Madden 25 big hits have forced some fumbles.
Atmosphere is still weak and commentary fairly bland and inaccurate at times. Presentation wise some of the post-play scenes are better especially the individual sack celebrations but some of the scenes still come from camera perspectives that don’t exist. Having a sideline reporter is a nice addition but she has yet to provide any information of worth.
Overall Madden comes across as a bit underwhelming after having spent time with NCAA but where it evidently hopes to separate itself is with the Franchise modes rather than on the field.