Are you ready for some football?

The last NFL game I purchased was NFL 2K5. Like most NFL nerds I cried and cried when EA became the exclusive NFL video game license holder. 2K5 was amazing, I spent hours and hours on the game while never really bothering with Madden. Madden sucks. EA sucks. Everything sucks. One day I woke up and thought “hey, maybe i’ll stop being a jerkoff today!” and stopped my pointless boycott and purchased Madden 25.

I enjoyed it.

I used to feel like the players were skating over the field, like everything was a little too smooth. Now while Madden 25 still doesn’t feel perfect the game plays really well. Running the ball feels punishing, burning a defender on a deep route feels exhilarating, and taking a sack really sucks. It has a lot of little cool things going for it. Players will tightrope on the sidelines, plant their feet and make a catch in bounds, and get tossed around while still maintaining enough balance to fight for extra yards. Once while playing in the snow I was on the goal line  going for a quick screen pass. I snapped the ball and the receiver I was going to hit slipped. I panicked, scrambled for a bit and tossed a pick. After the initial swearing I laughed, I had no one to blame but myself. The conditions sucked, the receiver was mediocre at best, and I should have had the smarts to have another target in mind as a backup. Little things like that really bring you into the game.

Not everything is perfect though. One of the  annoying things in the lack of jump ball battles. Too often I’d go for the deep throw with a WR more than capable of bringing down the ball but they would simple run straight forward while the CB would undercut the route and swat the ball away. I understand not allowing the player to gun the ball down field every place like a jerkoff but it’s really frustrating to see a play not happen because the WR is oblivious to the ball. Maybe its the games way of forcing you to take more control of the game. my completion rate jumped when I began taking control of receivers after tossing the ball. Ultimately dropped passes and interceptions don’t happen because you are doing too well and the computer wants to make things close. They happen because either the player sucks or you do.

The game does a great job with the difficult settings. I started playing on Pro as the Lions. I struggled at first but after two seasons I was dominating every team en-route to a perfect season. I turned the settings up and all of a sudden those deep ball routes dried up and instead of simply bouncing off the CB hands I was watching him bring the ball back at me. It really made me adjust my play style. I had to work harder at quickly reading the field and making the correct throws. It wasn’t enough to throw to the open receiver I had to make the right throw (do I zoom it in there or lob it up?). Defences do a great job of closing in on the ball, reacting to plays and adapting to your play-style. One of the best feelings is to audible, causing the defence to adjust, and burning them for a big play knowing you earned it. You can see the defence tightening up the more you run and dink and dunk, allowing you to surprise them with a bomb down the field. You can’t just randomly do things and expect success, you have to game-plan and react. I sucked when I started but I steadily improved the longer I play.

On offence at least, I’m still god awful on defence. I honestly can’t really speak much about this side of the game. I would either sim past it or play as a DT and  go for the QB. The latter was fun enough, you can try and shake and out muscle the offensive lineman or just bull rush and push him back. Both are enjoyable but not why I play the game. I love watching a awesome defence do their thing on Sundays’ but I cannot translate that to Madden. It’s just like anything else, you get what you put in. I can see how it would be fun playing as a CB and shadowing a receiver but I just don’t have the will to work at it. It’s too easy to slip up and let a big play happen. As it should be though.

I spent the majority of my time so far playing as a GM. It’s the typical stuff, you can trade/sign/draft players as well as fire and hire staff (but only at the end of a season) long with playing full games. Playing as a coach is much of the same while playing as a player is nice because you only play when your character is on the field and have no real control over your destiny. you can ask for a trade but might find yourself in a worse situation on a new team. Starting out exclusively on the practice field is rather dull but you can burn through that fast and it feels rewarding when you finally get a chance to play in a meaningful game.

Madden 25 is about as good of a game of football as you can expect. Controls are tight, visuals are nice, the computer plays well enough, and you are given all the tools to succeed and enough rope to hang yourself.If you like football buy it. Then again if you like football this is the only game you can buy so you probably have already.

The game was played on the PlayStation 4.