Madden NFL 25 (Xbox 360) Review
Run wild with the new Run Free system
For the first time in over two decades, EA Sports has chosen not to name the main version of the annual Madden based on the following year, but rather name it after the game’s 25th anniversary to celebrate the long running franchise with Madden 25. After the series became to feel stagnant a few years ago, the Madden franchise was reinvigorated in part by the addition of the Infinity Engine in Madden 13.
Now the question is, did EA Sports make Madden 25 even more worth your while than any in the series before or is it just more of the same? Let’s find out as we look through the best and worst aspects of the latest annual entry in the Madden series.
Infinity Engine Upgrade
As mentioned above, last year’s edition of Madden introduced arguably the biggest change to the series since its move to the current generation of consoles. The addition of the new physics engine in Madden 13 felt leagues beyond the past games and this year steps it up even further. You never feel stiff while controlling a player on the field, especially at running back, and it feels like you actually have full control of that player. The Infinity Engine at its base seems to focus on realism, even more so with this year’s upgrade to the engine. When running the ball in past games in the series, a running back could hit one of his offensive linemen in front while running up the middle and just fall down half the time. Last year somewhat fixed this, but Madden 25 got this one down about perfectly. Now you are able to bounce off of players while running the ball, more like an actual NFL running back would be able to do rather than animations where they look like they hit a brick wall and bend awkwardly.
The new engine also features the addition of Force Impact which allows all of the moves like truck moves and big hits are influenced by the engine itself, which adds more weight to each individual collision in the game. This is a giant part of the game for both offensive and defensive players as that one truck move over a defender for a TD or big hit leading to a fumble recovery by the defense can change your entire game, rather than it seeming completely random like it was in the past. The combination of Force Impact with the Infinity Engine 2 also improves other areas of the defense such as allowing defensive players to readjust and get back into a play if they happen to misplay that sequence from the snap. The dive tackle has also been improved immensely, which I found to be vital when facing a speedy running back on the edge and you are the last line of defense to prevent a large gain or even a touchdown.
Running Game Overhaul
While the aforementioned Infinity Engine was the biggest addition to Madden 13, the largest addition to Madden 25 is by far the Run Free system, including the Precision Modifier. The Infinity Engine itself improved the realism of the game, but Run Free makes you actually feel like you have complete control over your favorite running backs in the game. Past games in the series, as well as the NCAA Football series, have had spin moves, juke moves, and stiff arms among others, but Madden 25 takes it a few steps beyond that. You still have the staples like mentioned above, but now you also have new abilities such as stumble recovery, which allow you to regain your balance when starting to fall by pushing the right analog stick in the correct direction. As mentioned above, the Force Impact system improves each of these in its own right, but that’s not all.
The addition of the Precision Modifier gives even you even more control over your players. For instance, one use of the Precision Modifier is with the juke move. By using it prior to contact with a defender, it will allow for much sharper and effective moves and enhances your chances of getting past the defender. However, the timing is key in this case, so don’t try it in big games until you get a chance to master it. One of my favorite moves with the Precision Modifier is the spin juke, which allows for you to spin past one defender and juke another right after. This is especially effective with speedy running backs that are very elusive. Running the ball has always been one of my favorite aspects of the game, which is why I always preferred the NCAA Football series to Madden in the past. This addition to the series has made me enjoy the game even more.