Zadzooks: Madden NFL 25 review
With the professional football season underway, it’s time to appreciate a quarter century of gamers attacking on a virtual gridiron in Madden NFL 25 (Electronic Arts, rated Everyone, reviewed on Xbox 360, $59.99).
Before we dive into the latest version, it’s worth noting that time period because I really feel sorry for sports video-game developers. Year after year, they must come up with some amazing new feature to goad fans into buying a game they probably own and have multiple versions of already.
Developers of Madden can never get too crazy to upset the die-hard fan base and still must abide by the rules and look of a professional football experience, period.
I bet those yearly meetings on what to do next must be excruciating.
Yet, once again, EA Sports tries to sweeten the deal in 2013 for fans that bought the more-than-adequate Madden 13 last year.
Among the refinements, the latest version promotes a Zen-like appreciation for the running back by becoming one with this pixilated warrior through an outrageous amount of control.
I nearly required a third hand to pull off some of the latest moves while in an actual game situation thanks to the addition of extra controller options called precision modifiers.
These modifiers add accuracy to spins, dives and hurdles with variation to specific actions as stumble recovery, stiff-arms (hard-shoving defenders now for example), truck spins, left and right juke combinations, spin jukes, jab steps and back juke spins.
Of course, with this fount of power at my fingertips, I also worked in the massive Connected Franchise mode (formerly Connected Careers) where I chose to develop a rookie running back, actually one of the best of the game, the Chicago Bears‘ legend Walter Payton.
Being able to stretch the ball out for that extra inch while being tackled, stutter-stepping into the end zone, or diving or hurdling over a defender to score a touchdown was always vintage Sir Walter.
The life-consuming Connect Franchise also now bundles in control of a team from the owner’s perspective to add another level of headaches or micromanagement, be it relocating a team to a foreign city or handling the price of food and merchandise.
Ultimate Madden Team is also back adding ways to assemble a team with the right chemistry and still allowing gamers to build a championship roster using a trading card incentive.
Suffice to report, for the average football fan, it’s a mind-boggling amount of off- and online modes and control scheme minutia that can gleefully add or woefully suck any fun from the sport.
Although, make no mistake about, Madden NFL 25 wants you to become one of its permanent disciples and consummate fan of football.
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