Madden 25 – A First Look

As many of you know, I love the game of football and I love video games. But while I do love these two things individually, I’ve learned that they shouldn’t always go together.

Yes, Im talking about Madden 25 newly released from my favorite corporate swindlers and yours.. EA Sports.

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But let’s not stand on ceremony here, Madden is one of the greatest video games of all time, sports or otherwise. It’s long standing lineage and success story dates back to when Reagan was still in office.

It’s a great game that can be taken as an arcade game, or played straight and sim-like, which truly is what is great about the game.

However, it’s been quite a while since EA has released anything that truly deserves your hard earned money. And with the newest release and a few hours of Madden 25, I don’t see this trend changing anytime soon.

The fact is EA stopped caring… long long ago. I’d say in 2003 or so is when they stopped caring. Why you ask? Well they didn’t need to with exclusive rights to the NFL and NCAA, they are the only game in town per se.

And with a game like Madden whose replay value is zero as soon as the football calender year winds down, EA knows where it’s bread is buttered. And trust me, they have done nothing to buck convention or jeopardize the cash cow that is Madden football.

So many people ask me, is this year’s Madden any good?

Let’s break down the game by category for those curious.

Gameplay

Madden 14…. err Madden 25 really seems like the developers at EA took the horrible broken game that was Madden 13 and simply put more glitz and polish on it. At it’s very core, the gameplay is exactly the same as previous years, which really is the issue with many Madden fans forking over 60 dollars for a roster upgrade.

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The increased defensive backfield intelligence that foiled the crossing routes and spread formations in Madden 13 have been taken away.

Plays like the Falcon Cross and Spread Slot Cross are still as deadly as ever and cannot be stopped against a skilled offensive player with decent stick skills.

Defensive players and defense as a whole has taken yet another step in the wrong direction. For the life of me I cannot figure out players who pick teams with loaded defensive fronts, because they cannot generate much of a rush without blitzing or nano blitzing anyway.

An average player can reliably be trusted to complete over 70% of their passes and rack up the score with the best of them. Sadly none of these numbers seem like the gameplay has evolved into something that actually drive the game but instead unfairly punish the player to create a sense of realism.

Simply put, without the game’s horrible pass interference detection or quirky methods in which the receiver drops the ball, many players would just destroy the computer on it’s default AI settings. Many a time you will see your receiver, star or not, drop a pass for some unknown reason, regardless of how routine the pass or play may seem.

In other words, the game decides for you when you are doing too well and punishes you to create a sense of realism.

NO RAHIM!!!!!

Football is a game played by human beings, and while we are completely capable of making mistakes ( ask Rahim Moore ) there’s not enough humanity in the AI for Madden 25 to be believable/

Defensive pass interference is still as broken as ever, and defensive backs can still “sense” the ball without ever turning their heads to locate it first. Chris Houston may be the greatest cornerback in the NFL if he were gifted with this physic ability.

I’ll get to the “new” additions to this year’s version of the game towards the end of this review, and if you think they are a waste of time for the most part… you are right.

Sound 

Not much to see here, with some obvious musical staples and classic sports crowd songs such as AC/DC’s “Thunderstruck” and Guns N’ Roses’ “Welcome to the Jungle.” Madden 25 stays the course on the music front.

However the new booth duo of Jim Nantz and Phil Simms are horrible if not comedic. The same issues that have plagued the Madden series after John Madden stepped down continue.

Boring generic staples, odd insight and constant contradictions make you want to either cover your ears or reach for your nearest set of earplugs.

As with Collinsworth and what’s his face, these two are not watching the same game you are playing. Broadcast booth is something that the next version of Madden should take a little more seriously, because it’s becoming something of a joke.

Menus 

I had a serious problem with last year’s Madden and their so called “Connected Career Modes” and this year does nothing to change that.

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Clunky menu options, long load times and far far far too many options make navigating around the Madden menu a chore.

Play FIFA or NHL counterparts and you will quickly see the huge contrast in styles and efficiency.

Cmon EA… your fans deserve better than this.

Whats new

Run Free – At first I hated this new gimmick and likened it to the failure that was “Run to Daylight” in a previous incarnation of Madden. By pressing down the left trigger and pressing a corresponding button, you can make the ball carrier execute a set of spins, trucks or stiff arms.

At first I thought this was nothing more than a paltry gimmick, but the more I’ve played with it the more I realize that this is actually a pretty nifty control set for those who like to run the ball. ( not me in other words )

Defensive Heat Seeking lock on

This sounds as dumb as it is in execution, because now as a defensive player you can hold down the right stick when you are near the carrier and the CPU will automatically square the defender up.

While this may be useful to the neophyte Madden player, it’s really just another gimmick by EA to fool you into thinking they have done some actual work on the game.

For those who know how to tackle and how to lay a big hit on a ball carrier, I guarantee you will forget this feature even exists.

Madden Share 

You can now share your rosters, tweaked files and classes of rookies using this new sharing option. Unfortunately it’s existed in a previous version, and it’s something the fans have long clamored for ( remember when you still had to manually enter rookie names for the incoming draft class? That’s true love of football.) and so I can’t give EA praise for something that really belongs in the game to begin with.

So in closing Madden 25 is a very solid game with very solid fundamentals and awesome replay value. The problem is you can say any year’s version of Madden in that sentence and be completely correct, and that’s the issue.

Nothing is new, nothing is different, nothing has really changed outside of names and numbers on the roster and the fact that I forked over 60 dollars to play this game… again.

Happy playing!

The Return of the S16?

I’ll admit I was a little more than disappointed when Nissan initially denied any rumor to the S-Chassis returning as a smaller, slimmer version of the 370Z to compete with the Toyobaru twins.

I never get tired of the S15

Many Nissan fans didn’t like the news that Nissan though of the Juke as a suitable replacement in the subcompact sports car class.

hmmm..

In 1996 Nissan unveiled the Urge, a six speed rear wheel drive roadster that was a few years to late to the game.

With Chevy and other manufacturers clamoring to replicate the success of the lightweight rear wheel drive Toyabaru twins, it only seems logical for Nissan to bring back something that’s long been a staple of their company.

In the fall of 2012, Nissan design director Shiro Nakamura talked Austrailian based automotive magazine Drive and hinted to the possibility of a lightweight rear wheel drive coupe.

Hinting to the possibility that Nissan may consider downsizing its sports cars, including possibly a sub-compact 370Z model got enthusiasts excited. He also revealed that the next version of the Nissan Z may not have a higher displacement motor than the current one.

“I much prefer smaller sports cars,” Nakamura said. “With 370Z, we still don’t know if the next-generation will have a smaller or larger engine.”

Besides the possibility of a smaller engine, Nakamura said reducing the weight of the next Z car is a priority and all other future Nissan sports cars will be lightweight.

As well as dropping hints to the next Nissan Z, Nakamura also spoke about the possible return of the Silvia, otherwise known in the States as the 240SX. Nakamura was notably coy when pressed for details from Drive Magazine, could this really be in the works at Nissan?

“I cannot say,” Nakamura said, “A light, sport coupe is a nice concept, I like it.” he would continue after reinforcing the fact that he was a huge fan of the lightweight rear wheel drive platform.

With the 350Z, 370Z, and the Skyline GT-R, could Nissan support all the different platforms and vehicles as well as possibly add the new 240SX to rival the FR-S and BRZ under the same performance moniker?

According to Nakamura, yes. “If there is a market, we will do it,” Nakamura said.

Rumors are abound regarding the MR engine and many have projected it’s use as a 1.8L powerplant. Question is will that be enough to hang with the likes of the new FR-S, BRZ and STi flagships that have recently been released?

If there’s any clue to the temperature of the “market” and the willingness of Chevy and other domestic manufacturers to join the lightweight rear wheel drive coupe race, we could see the S16 make a triumphant return.