Madden NFL 25: Hits and Misses

Posted September 5th, 2013 at 4:15 pm


Madden NFL 25 released without any truly defined expectations. With an anniversary year being heavily promoted it stood to reason that EA Sports would pour resources into the game – releasing at the tail end of the current generation where it peaked in the last – and realize the benefits of having rebuilt eight years ago and overcoming some of those struggles as of late.

At the same time launching on the Xbox One and PS4 in November the next-gen version of the game was sure to siphon off some of the resources that otherwise would have been invested in current-gen as the company attempts to avoid those missteps and launch in strong fashion.

Continue on for a look at the areas where Madden NFL 25 excelled and where it fell short in this ‘Hits and Misses’ review.


Connected Franchise
Many will invest the most time with Madden NFL 25 in Connected Franchise mode. Whether playing as an Owner, Coach, or Player, it’s a rich and enjoyable experience that mostly delivers on what is promised especially when friends are involved online. Make sure to check out the extensive write-up on Connected Franchise from earlier if it was missed.

Owner mode is the big addition for this year and handling the executive functions – attempting to generate revenue, being able to move a team or build a new stadium, hiring and firing of the head coach/scout/trainer, and dealing with the fans – are tacked on to everything else that is done as a “Coach” in the mode. Owners still get to play the games, sign free agents, make trades, and so on. Draft Classes can be imported from NCAA Football 14 whether the Franchise is “offline” or “online”. Unfortunately it appears everyone who’ll be picking up the next-gen version later will have to start Franchises from scratch rather than being able to transfer progress over.

Where Franchise falls apart is with the in-game presentation and commentary. There is almost nothing linking back to current or past events taking place in the Franchise universe. This was the biggest disappointment with the debut of Connected Careers in Madden NFL 13 and inexplicably was not improved upon. The developments in Franchise are handled well in the menus but it’s a very detached feeling when actually playing a game.

Value and Fun Factor
Even with all its flaws this year Madden still offers exceptional value and EA has a proven track record of supporting the game post-launch. Significant improvements will surely be made within the next couple months and additional content will be provided.

Feature wise Madden 25 offers a strong package. Franchise mode and its incorporation of playing it several different ways is exceptional in concept and almost there in execution, the Skills Trainer can be very helpful to those seeking out practice and refinement of abilities or others who may just be learning how to play, Online has been consistent in terms of performance (though games tend to be all offense), Ultimate Team could practically be its own game for those who invest time in it, significant roster updates are released weekly, and there are even other features like the “Never Say Never Moments” which will be updated weekly throughout the year.

Madden is still a fun game and that should never be discounted. Those who plan to move from Xbox 360 to Xbox One can essentially consider one of the versions free by buying the 360 version through Amazon (which includes $10 promo credit) then trading it in through the online retailer for $50 in credit towards the One version. Unfortunately there are still no promos that will apply to Madden for consumers looking to pick it up on the PS4. Those who took advantage of the Anniversary Edition basically get NFL Sunday Ticket on PC/tablets/phones for $40. While these things don’t make the actual game any better they do help to justify the purchase if on the fence.

Ultimate Team
The addition of Online Seasons adds purpose, intrigue, and reason to continue playing Ultimate Team beyond just rewards from having one-off games. Bringing back Chemistry makes for more strategy in forming a team that plays well together and reaping some benefits from that.

Unfortunately not every new feature is a winner. The “Best Lineup” option, which is supposed to go through a user’s entire collection and put together the ideal lineups on offense and defense, is flat out broken. Forming a second lineup will also cause problems.

While Ultimate Team is certainly not for everyone Madden’s version continues to improve the experience and make the competition and the process of team-building more compelling. They just need to follow through and fix that “Best Lineup” feature. Keep in mind that consumers going from Xbox 360 to Xbox One and PS3 to PS4 will be able to make a one-time transfer of content when they move to the next-gen version of the game.

Madden Share
It may be an overdue addition but should be welcomed due to the flexibility it provides. Madden Share allows for users to upload their own edited rosters, slider sets, and playbooks – and for those to be downloaded by others. Even more importantly they can be used in Franchise mode. Start up a new Franchise and import a custom roster and use your custom playbook in Franchise games. It’s still a bit of a crapshoot in determining which files to download but having a community-based ranking system (can sort by number of likes, dislikes, or downloads) and an area for descriptions on each file do help in making those choices.



Long an area of weakness very little was done to bring presentation up to an acceptable level with Madden 25. Outside of the special video lead-ins for primetime and playoff games there isn’t much to praise. There are only two or three game openings (which they try and trick into seeming like there are more by using different camera perspectives), there is still nothing that can reasonably be called a Halftime Show, commentary has barely been improved, the new sideline reporter has very little specific to add to the conversation, celebration cut scenes are better but take place out of context, and the “moment of the game” highlight is usually something mundane like a random field goal. The lack of tying back into Franchise mode through commentary or on-screen graphics also kills the immersion when playing games there.

Atmosphere lags behind severely as well. Outside of a few crowd chants the crowd and stadium sounds are all the same. Over a third of fans won’t even show up to games if it’s snowing or raining apparently. It’s sad when a real-life Seahawks preseason game has a far hotter atmosphere than a playoff game in Madden. What should be automatic challenges don’t always trigger when they should particularly on turnovers. Hell, EA didn’t even bother to get the wind indicator pointing the right direction.

It would have been difficult to imagine gameplay landing in the “misses” section prior to the demo’s release but there is just too much chaos taking place on the field, and too many legacy issues, to overlook them and rest on the fun factor to elevate it. Make sure to check out the extensive write-up of initial impressions from earlier if it was missed.

Staring with the Infinity Engine 2.0 which might be better described as 0.2 because player interactions are a mess and gameplay looks and feels worse much of the time because of it. When an area is clogged it seems players just run into and bounce off one another. In one-on-one situations most hits are better described as collisions than tackles.

The Precision Modifier is another big whiff. While it does help somewhat in differentiating highly skilled individuals from others there is little to no reason not to just hold down the trigger all the time and try for the super moves which – with the right player and right timing – can practically be unstoppable. The rate of fumbles did not prove to have any correlation to whether the modifier was being utilized or not. Momentum and player types did not always portray realism as far as the results went. When Darren Sproles is stiff-arming a linebacker to the ground that tends to stand out. That stiff-arm animation too is troublesome as it tends to stick for a long time (dragging a player 10+ yards with it further downfield) or even being effective when other players are in between the two locked into the animation.

CPU QBs are far too composed and accurate. More often than not they’ll complete 80% or higher of passes each game. A lack of pass rush from the front four and the fact that QBs just don’t miss on throws creates the problem which is also present in head-to-head games. Sideline catches far too often don’t have the receivers trying to get their feet down. It’s almost as though the receivers have NCAA’s sideline logic.

The read-option on the other hand is represented quite well. There is much more risk/reward involved in Madden since QBs are prone to injuries, the defense can play it better due to the talent on field and a coaching option to choose to attack the RB or QB, and fumbles are more prevalent than in NCAA.



Isolate Madden NFL 25 from every other sports game on the market and its own history and it could be considered a really good game. That isn’t how things are judged however nor should they be. Madden had started to gain momentum with the past two releases – and really three out of the last four were quite good for their respective years – but it has taken a step back here by disappointing in gameplay and presentation. Consumers should expect much more out of Madden after 25 years. The question now becomes whether the transition to next-gen in November will represent a resurgence for the series by getting off on the right foot and displaying great potential or if it will simply wallow in the footsteps of the current generation letdown.

  • SamCmass

    Im by no means a Madden hater I buy it every year and usually think it was worth it. Not this time. Im not sure I can trust EA that the Xbox One version will be that much better either.

    • Iown You

      Yeah, it’s not worth it. Madden 25 is just a patch to Madden 13 and not even a good one.

      “Staring with the Infinity Engine 2.0 which might be better described as 0.2 because player interactions are a mess and gameplay looks and feels worse much of the time because of it.” -Pasta

      Damn! Truth! The Real-Time Physics engine in Madden SUCKS. It’s pointless for it to even be in the game now. All you see are the same crappy tackles over and over again which the RTP was SUPPOSED to eliminate, smh.

  • smsixx

    A few more additions to the “Misses”
    – Your game may not make it past the main menu.
    – Your game may freeze while navigating menus
    – You will probably have to wait until October for a patch for all issues to be fixed and new ones to occur
    – Player cards are missing completly
    – No CPU vs CPU in franchise mode
    – Restricted free agents are still absent (despite being in ps2 and original xbox versions)
    – Pro Bowlers still wear generic helmets (despite ps2 and original xbox having players in respective team helmets)
    – Still no in game saves
    – You can find one play/hot route that will beat the CPU everytime.
    – Your offensive linemen are still retarded.
    – Ratings are disposed of when playing on “All-Madden”
    – Crowds are dead and full of cardboard people
    – No real “postseason atmosphere”
    I could go on forever…I’ll just let the rest of the posters here fill in the other blanks.

    • Keith.

      — Still no realistic ball physics
      — Still no realistic penalties
      — The Super Bowl sometimes ends with the wrong (i.e. losing) team being shown in a cut-scene getting handed the Lombardi Trophy, and a player on the wrong (i.e. losing) team receiving the game MVP award
      — Still no custom cam and still no acceptable number of gameplay cameras
      — Still lousy replays

      People can point to next generation all they want, but sales are in the tank (down more than 33% compared to last year) for one reason: people are flat out tired of being burned with shelling out $60 for Tiburon’s sorry excuse for a football game.

      • khadeemw

        to mention the cornerback and wide receiver interaction need to be modified…press coverage needs to be more realistic….a team with a great d-line should be able to generate a pass rush with a 4 man rush….the cpu still can press tight ends when they are lined up next to the tackle…its a shame

    • Rod


    • khadeemw

      yea this is really disappointing….its crazy because for post proves my theory that sports games are becoming a joke…you take out great features from previous generations and not incorporate them into the new generation…I personally enjoyed madden 2005’s franchise mode the most out of any franchise mode…the sad part was that was almost a decade ago…the fact ea couldn’t match that enjoyment is a shame…I missed performance based progressions and restricted free agents…I miss the old owner mode…I miss the system in which players would get happy or upset even though it needed to be tweaked….its a shame that madden has all this potential but it will never be reached because of $$$$

      • Jesus

        Actually only madden is really a joke. The Show, NBA 2K, FIFA, and many other titles prove sports gaming can be great. PES also comes to mind.

        • khadeemw

          not true…2k has become a joke over the last few titles…choosing to
          remove the simulation aspects from basketball despite advertising itself
          to be a basketball simulator…the physics in the game are despicable

  • Henry

    If running the ball wasn’t soooooo easy and the defense wasn’t a complete mess at times, I wouldn’t have an issue with the game. Other than that, I can overlook the small things that was mentioned in the misses portion. I just play to have fun so I don’t pay close attention to everything. This game makes you learn to have patience when passing the ball and it pays off. It’s a good game though, not great by any means. If they can tighten up the run game and fix the defense miscues, it would make things a lot better

  • Brad

    It’s like no one uses sliders. They make the gameplay pretty playable. CPU QB completes 80%? Fix it. Running game too easy? Fix it.

    • jake

      Or how about,

      EA, fix it!

      That’s the truth right there.

      • Brad

        Everyone plays the game differently. You can’t please everyone out there with the default setting. Sliders are a good thing, not an excuse for EA to put out a bad product, which is what you imply.

        • Jesus

          Okay but EA put out whatmany consider a broken game, especially on the defensive side of the ball.

  • clubsteve

    how ncaa 14 can have better presentation than madden 25, boggles my mind…..also, no create-a-team feature? rushing almost too easy now. no hall of famers too.

  • Madden lover 2345

    FIX GENO ATKINS he has a 99 pwrmove rating but doesn’t use bullrush because its not on as a trait which should be at least 2-3 star but anyway please add BULLRUSH Trait which is really one of he main techniques he uses in real life due to strength and size just look at highlights on YouTube …he never uses it and always try’s finesse moves first because he has the traits for it please don’t cheat the best DT in the leagues thanks 🙂

  • alkamist1

    all i can say is game play sucks in this madden, and if yo have to change the sliders to get better game play its not worth it, i like the share, but the game needs to go back to the drawing board, and redone! Its like playing the same game from last yr, but an upgrade and roster changes! Players dont even look like players on the field, Played with the hawks and russell wilson does not look like russell wilson… slants are still beast in this game and not stoppable, deep ball there is none if you have a good def, wait there is no def in this game!

  • Dagreat2nd

    DB read and reaction is terrible roster ratings are off for example, The Cincinnati Bengals was a 84-85 overall they added players like James Harrison, Tyler Eifert and Giovanni Bernard and they dropped to a overall 81. I’m a Stealers fan I scout teams we play whether it’s a video game or not. Jermaine Gresham of Cincinnati was a 84 at the end of the season now he’s a 80! WOW! And he made it to the PRO BOWL twice. EA LET”S GET THIS RIGHT THIS YEAR PLEASE!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Fabio

      a Steelers fan would know how to spell Steelers correctly. just sayin

  • DatDudeLane

    What’s with the super dives. I don’t see player shoe string tackling players alot in real life games.

    What’s with the Adrian Peterson cheat code effect. I know he is great but untacklable?

    No Over the outside shoulder of WRs passes?

    Why are the FBs so dumb?

    Any chance of a spectator mode? In connected careers playoff games (Only in playoff games)

    How about more injuries related to ankle tackles, since the animation shows wraping up the ankles of RBs, WRs and TEs, I do believe there is a high chance of high ankle sprains.

    What good is the injury of a player if people are able to return him to the game and he plays better than he was before the injury. Low injury should decrease the players ability a little and Med should decrease a bit more and so on.

    Connected Careers

    The ability to remove computer vs human games and allow HvH
    Overall the game is tight like that but I am concern about just a few things that would make the game more exciting.

  • Willy2535

    All the rookies in CCM are glitched too, most of them all have the exact same equipment, permanently wear white long sleeves and they all get a captain patch, my entire team now wears captain patches..

  • I’m not convinced next gen Madden will impress.. From that one video they release (albeit early) the running animations are comical.

  • Tank

    Why they can’t get the presentation right is beyond me. Do those guys at EA even watch a real NFL football game on TV or have they been to one? I mean, these EA developers are supposed to create a true NFL experience and it seems as though they never do. Say what you want about All Pro Football 2K8, but they had a nice football atmosphere in that game. It’s like the stadiums would come to life on a big play and explode when you scored. When you break one for a long run, you could actually see the crowd actually start to stand as you’re running as they anticipate your score. APF had a much more lively atmosphere and better gameplay as well. Madden will never get better unless they get some competition. Hopefully once the exclusive license deal runs out. 2K will be able to make an NFL game. Right now, all we have is a sub-par NFL game year after year.

    • Willy2535

      I like how they do the Touchdown celebrations at the other end of the field you scored at, u can see the team down the other end of the field…. Did they think we wouldn’t notice?? lol

    • Kaylab242

      By now I have been convince that EA can not make not even great but a good football game issues after issues over the years have leave NFL fans in derange feeling over the NFL sport we fans love, now people and NFL fans all over the world who love the NFL and only purchase madden over the years because of the NFL am about to put the blame on a name for this crappy game and its not EA people but without further a dew Roger Goddell for selling the license instead having game companies compete for the rights to carry the NFL logo name, the seal of the NFL is a great name because the game is about great competition, so how could you just sell out to 1 company and make them lazy in the product.

  • KMillsZ19o

    After playing this game on this system I dont even care nor am I going to try the next gen version ill pass im trading madden in to get 30 bucks store credit i will never ever buy another Madden again

    • dhall

      Like it matters if you trade it in or not. EA already got your $60. You’re the one that looks like the idiot for buying it and then being satisfied by getting half of your money back. You should’ve just rented it. You look really stupid with this comment. Like, EA gives a shit if you trade the game in…Haha! “Screw you EA, I’m trading this in…I hate Madden!” – KMills “Umm…OK?” – EA

      • KMillsZ19o

        Yay!!! you insulted me @dhall you feel good about yourself now? I can tell you really put your time & effort into that comment the way you wrote it was as if you wanted to say look folks come and see me insult this guy for just writing a simple statement/opinion shows how much of a lame loser you really are do you think I care about losing 60 bucks? had I cared about that I wouldn’t have brought the game I have bread to burn 60 isn’t going to kill me it’s my money and I can do whatever I plz with it good day

  • Realist

    i wanted so bad to like this, but alas, it sucked

  • shhheeeiiiitttt

    id like to know why the hell i dont even load the 1.01 update, and i play “PLAY NOW” and i am still getting invisible players? wtf EA! and where the f are the roster updates. FOOTBALL STARTED LAST NIGHT! i guess the article a couple of months ago was right EA IS THE WORST VIDEO GAME COMPANY!

    • Just Asking???

      Thats what I would like to know where the HECK IS THE ROSTER UPDATE!!! EA keep showing that they have a roster update available and than I downloaded it and is the same dumb update. EA they usually good at this wzup EA?

  • KinGoVnY


  • IceChief27

    Personally, I really like the game. There are some issues, but nothing is ever going to please everyone or be perfect. Sure the out route and the slant shouldn’t be there as much as they are, and the defensive agility is not good, but that makes the game harder. It separates the good from the great. My biggest issue is getting into ultimate team games. You can’t see who you are playing beforehand, and it usually disconnects transitioning from the loading menu several times. While this doesn’t seem to affect my record, the game penalizes me for playing too many games per hour and I don’t gain any coins.

    • Stew

      Not sure whats up with your Ultimate team but I haven’t been disconnected once and have played 40+ games. I’m glad you cant see who your playing before hand. This stops people from just checking other people rosters and be able to pick and choose who to play. I’ve played multiple teams with good players and still won so does it matter that much?

  • KinGoVnY

    I’m on season 2 of my connected franchise Owner playing as the giants. And there is MISSES ALL OVER… I now see some of my own players on the opposite team and vise versa, there is absolutely no pass rush JPP finished season 1 with 6 sacks in total and j.tuck went form a 90 overall rating to 80 during the season and 6 sacks in witch he somehow ended with 5 sacks in one game only. Tom Brady, Drew Brees, P.Manning, all retired after season 1. I’m continuously getting torched by QB’s with overall ratings in the 70’s. Slant routs are unstoppable.. My 94 Spd CB’s continuously get burned by 83 and 85 Spd WR and TE.. My Defenders run side by side of the ball carrier without attempting to make the tackle. Deep throws down the field are continuously under thrown and short resulting in a garanteed Interception. Linebackers jump like Jordan in his prime. The QB throwing motion is off.. There’s nobody in this World that can throw a straight bulletin pass 20 yards down by the sideline at head level and no type of air on it! This is completely unrealistic and allows CB’s, LB’s and even DE’s to be in the area and it will be an easy INT no jumping needed just put there hands up…Owner Mode: since Coach Tom Coughing retired after season 1 I was forced to hire a new coach. In this area you are only allowed to make 1 offer at a time and not all coaches will approve your purposal and random no name coaches are available

  • KinGoVnY

    I’ve been playing madden since Madden 94. It’s obvious these game developers never played a flag football game in there life let alone an actual game not even at the high school level. They just never get it straight .. It would be better off they drop a madden game every 2 or 3 years and get it right with roster upgrades In between seasons than drop a 60 dollar game every season full of errors and bad mechanics

  • Relly

    Connected careers “Player” mode is TRASH and a skeleton of what SS mode from earlier maddens could have been

  • Jay (The Truth)

    Sliders I downloaded from Madden Share have negated most of my issues on the gameplay side. Presentation wise, there are a few things that get on my nerves, but none of it for me has been immersion breaking.

  • T

    I’ve barely touched M25 after a couple of days – something I’ve never experienced before. I’ve also never gone back to a previous year’s game. But… I might just go back to M13. M25 is so incredibly disappointing – the laundry list of problems and misses is astonishing. I really feel like I wasted my Madden money for the first time ever. All the build up, and a clearly below average game is what they release? At some point, you will lose huge sales. Even from long-time supporters. Like me.

  • Brad N.

    After last night’s great performance, I think Peyton Manning has earned a boost to a 100 OVR. Though I doubt he’ll get that big of a boost. I’m sure they’ll boost him to a 99. As for Joe Flacco he needs a bump down 2 pts to his OVR.

  • Ron

    I would just add..for all the’s still a fun game…and obviously those complaining just want something to bitch about…how do I know this…because EVERY year they complain about this or that!! (Think about that for a moment) If you complain about something every year that mean…(riiiight) YOU BUY IT EVERY YEAR…..and if you are buying it every it really all that bad…I mean..if you went to Subway and order a meatball sub and it was god awful..then you went back and ordered another and it was god awful…how many times wold you go back..again (riiiight) it must not be god awful. Are there flaws in madden..sure..this yr..the defense on time is unresponsive or super slow..still players bumbling around..etc…but the running game seems greatly improved..i love the new features and choices…could it be better sure…is it worth bitching about to this level….NO…if you dont do Next will buy it again next year…but after all that negativity..its still a fun a gm…better than 2k5, I still say no…but fun in its own right..2k presentation was far superior…being able to implelemt your own music in a game, and at different times throughout the game..was cool…seems madden could use this…and we can totally do away with the custom uniform feature which is stupid..because you can do this at team select… shut up..sick back and enjoy the game you love to hate..or hate to love..however you see we…eh hm….I men “they” got your Money every year for the next few!!

    • jimmyj

      no its not actually that fun anymore: used to be but not anymore

  • Ron

    Evil EA exec<<<<< " hahahaha, I have your money..I have your money every year! Suckers..sure the game is a patch of last years idi…I mean people keep paying money for a 3 month patch..we are telling you we spent a full year creating and developing the game. I mean our with our year patch..we can lay off half the staff..which put more dollars in my pocket..take out some feature you like..bring it back after 2 years and call it something else..and you will think its brand new..and pay for the same shhh…you paid for 3 years ago…hahahah..I love it..sure some of you will complain…but YOU WILL STILL BUY….some will cry..but you will still buy…some will say..I will NOT buy..and guess what……….(you get the idea) so on behalf of EA, Enron, BP, Richard Nixon and myself…..we thank you from the bottom of our hearts for making us RICH B**tchES!!!!

  • Huejac2

    I don’t think some of these analyst know enough about real football to effectively evaluate Madden. For example I keep seeing comments that the CPU QB can’t held below 80% completion. What, are these just one defense no matter what the down distance or formation? Sine the release I have had shut outs and blow outs. High scoring & low scoring games. I played 20 games against CPU QB using the Hawks and I picks, picks sixes & sacks. I don’t think some of these guys will be happy until they can get a play action that works without fail, even without a running game, a quarter defense that you cant run or pass on & two to three special teams touch downs per game.
    The fact is Madden played at its highest level is more the neck up and not the wrist down. Madden has done a great job in stopping clowns from benefiting from starting Maga Tron at tight end. Think what happen if the Lions did that for real. The coach would be fired on the filed. This the best Madden ever.

  • Pete Ontiveros jr

    Anyone have a problem with the audible system? I run a shotgun formation with 2 WR, 2TE and a RB and when I go no huddle and go to audible it won’t let me change to a different formation with the same personnel. Am I doing something wrong?

    • Huejac2

      No because no real team goes from dime personnel to base personnel. Wide receivers with their hands on he ground at tight end is not real football. You don’t see that crap on Sunday so why should it be in Madden. What you doing wrong is playing Madden 25. Go back to 13 or learn to play real football.

  • guy

    no more football games for me

  • jimmy J

    Madden 08-12 were fun enough that i was able to ignore all the game’s major issued. with madden 13, that fun factor was just gone for some reason and it feels like NCAA became the only “fun” football game, sadly

  • Details

    2 years ago I think I speak for most that we were super excited for physics to finally get added to game. 2 years later it seems like EA’s version of a physics engine (which is definitely not “real time physics” as they advertise it smh) has done more harm than good to the game. The game is so sloppy, twitchy & feels so unpolished smh. It still has a lot of legacy issues & so many bugs. Players look way too small, horrible camera angles, no signature animations, poor pursuit angles, over the top WWE style hits, footplanting is still suspect, etc.. I disagree about the fun factor Pasta. The game is unplayable to me. I had it for 2 days & traded it in towards GTA 5. It’s been the same BS routine with Madden this entire generation. I have zero faith that EA will ever get it right as long as they have the exclusive license. They’ve been selling us football in compartments for 8 years now. I’m done with Madden. Too many other quality games coming out for me to continue to waste my time. Screw you EA!

  • Jacob

    Does any one please know how to contact the people who make madden cuz I want to tell them to put back COMP VS COMP IN CONNECTED FRANCHISE and the need to fix the overall becuz it won’t show they’re real overall and they need to put back the grades uno what I mean like A and B and C n stuff and the need to put superstar mode back to where it’s on ur wide receiver not the qb and he needs to hike it like in the old ones not you any1 agree with me thanks guys n if u know how to contact them let me know please thanks