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PlayStation 4 Review: ‘Madden 25′

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EA’s revenue at the end of the previous financial quarter was near $1 billion. A fictionalized estimate says $100 of that was spent on Madden 25 next gen.

We were promised history would not repeat itself when EA Sports launched its first spate of next-gen titles. Madden 06 opened with the Xbox 360 launch in infamously incomplete form. Bungled feature sets were questionably functional if included at all and commentary was handled by a dry, solo radio announcer. He would not return.

Truth be told, with Madden 25, EA did not repeat history. They fumbled even worse. PlayStation 4’s inaugural professional football game is an embarrassment. This is not only a stain on EA, but the NFL as a whole. Their key interactive product is in shambles and ducks inside of its decomposing shell hoping no one will notice.

In an era of sharing, where video and still shot evidence can be strewn across social media, people will notice. In fact, so will those people’s friends who will share with their friends, and them with theirs, and so the cycle continues with regards to this absolute mockery of corporate exploitation. Madden 25 is a $60 football game, released halfway through the official NFL season, and nearly identical to the PlayStation 3 (and Xbox 360) version which preceded it.

This is not a guess. Shared elements can be proven. Soldier Field carried a glitched, shimmering polygon in one of its corners during introductory sequences last gen. That remains in place on PlayStation 4. Animation routines continue to turn players into stubborn robots. DB and safety play remains scrunched into moronic form. Ball bounces are pitifully unrealistic and players stumble over their own physics engine.

It is interesting to note EA did not offer the $10 upgrade deal with Madden 25. PlayStation 3 buyers of Battlefield 4 (another EA game) could pay to have their game “jump” generations. EA must believe they have a videogame worth $60 with Madden in spite of the product being sheltered from the broadened horizons of new hardware advances.

Maybe it isn’t fair to describe this new version as identical. There are changes. During post-play routines, teammates will randomly freeze in place. That is actually new. Not intended, but new. Little compares to the hilarity of a contortionist Jay Cutler standing in the backfield with legs and arms in awkward positions, immobile until an edit saves him from muscle spasms.

Madden 25 is a touch up visually, much like a magazine which blasts female cover models with splashes of mark removal to dim the sense of being human. Coaches carry deeper, eerie faces with exaggerated shading. Grass remains a flattened texture except for close-up celebrations. Fans have become fully polygonal yet seem attached to one another as they stand and sit in unison. Sidelines are expanded with a richer sense of journalistic coverage, except one photographer is attending the game with 20 of his clones.

Marketing can throw numbers regarding polygons; results are what matter. More was done to broaden the visual aesthetic of the menus than in game. Logic goes that EA wanted to show off their features. Unlike Madden 06, this edition is rich in options and complete in terms of Ultimate Team, multiple franchise mode approaches, and online suites. You can do everything expected of the premiere NFL package except play a better game.

Fans are being stung, and if they have an adverse reaction forcing them to stay away next year, maybe EA will be more careful with their $1 billion stinger.
Madden 25 is rated E (Everyone) by the ESRB This game can also be found on: Xbox One, Xbox 360, PS3.

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About Matt Paprocki

Matt Paprocki has critiqued home media and video games for 13 years and is the reviews editor for His current passion project is the technically minded You can read Matt's body of work via his personal WordPress blog, and follow him on Twitter @Matt_Paprocki.
  • Venks Dunson

    Yikes. I’ve never been a sports game fan, but this just sounds terrible. I’ve seen ideas being rehashed between iterations of a franchise… but actual code? I really can’t imagine finding much enjoyment in this game.

    • Matt Paprocki

      This is one of those tough ones wherein the game actually plays fine. Madden 13 was fantastic despite its quirks for the sports type. However, it was released a few months ago and there’s nothing new here. If they sent it out at $20 and acknowledged the pittance of an upgrade, I wouldn’t be so bothered.

  • DJ

    2k5 was 20 dollars and it was light years ahead of madden. Can’t even imagine how awesome that game would be if EA hadn’t taken over the industry with their licensing