How bizarre that the first game to break my summer slump is the newest entry in the vaunted Madden franchise. I’m not really a Madden fan. I do love football, though, so I feel that I meet the entry requirements.
I didn’t play Madden 25, but I heard complaints that the game did not live up to the next-gen technology it could have used. Graphics and textures were better, but not so very much more than Madden 13. The sidelines and crowds were not as animated as the game’s pre-rendered footage had led the fans to believe. In short, from what I’ve heard, it was good but not precisely the next-gen Madden which fans had been promised.
The Madden series is currently the only game in town for gamers who are also football fans, since Electronic Arts has the exclusive license to NFL games. There is a devoted audience for this series, and they are the ones EA is endeavoring to please. That means there is a very particular kind of gameplay and mechanics the audience is expecting which can be improved upon.
Upgrading the defense seems to be the primary development from the preview installments. There is a defensive player-lock camera, with a tackling reticle to improve defensive tackles. You can lock right onto the quarterback as a defensive player and move to intercept him when he’s making the big play. That being said, I question the wisdom of making defensive motions hinge on quicktime-style button presses. Hopefully it’s more intuitive than it looks.
Another complaint I’ve heard about Madden 25 was that the celebratory gestures were overly-scripted and repetitive. I’ve heard that the devs have tried to overhaul that, claiming dynamic celebrations this time. I don’t know that I believe that: This is a video game, so everything is scripted to a certain degree. But we’ve also been promised half-time shows and in-depth first-half recaps.
So it’s glossy, it’s new, it’s updated…it’s also not completely next-gen. The game will be released for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in addition to the new PS4 and Xbox One. I think that’s a good strategy on the part of EA: Sometimes those of us who are in the midst of the new console fervor forget that not everyone can afford them right now. EA wants to move as many copies as they can, and since this game will appeal to multiple kinds of people, it’s important to try and keep it as inclusive as possible.
I know that, regardless of what I say, the Madden series will be able to move a lot of copies. It’s a licensed franchise that has been heavily promoted by the NFL itself, and I can see the appeal for football fans. EA has made a good choice by releasing the game for PS3 and Xbox 360. Have fun and play hard, everyone!