On Tuesday, the demo for Madden 25 released on Xbox 360 and PS3.
By pre-release demo standards, the sneak peek is pretty robust. Gamers can play a full game of five-minute quarters with two compelling matchups: a Seattle Seahawks at Green Bay Packers clash or a rematch of Super Bowl XLVII, with the San Francisco 49ers visiting the Baltimore Ravens.
There is also a Skills Trainer mode as well as informational videos about modes that are included in the full retail version.
The maximum size for a demo on Xbox Live is two gigabytes. The Madden 25 demo pushed the limits, weighing in at 1.99 GB. With the Playstation Network allowing larger demos, the download was over three GB.
Needless to say, this isn't going to completely quench your thirst for the game, but there is enough here to set the proper expectation for gameplay. Primarily, that's what this demo is about.
Here is a look at a little over a quarter of action in the Packers-Seahawks matchup.
Gameplay Hits and Misses
The precision modifiers offer a treasure chest of moves at the ballcarrier's disposal. Most of the jukes, trucks and stiff arms have been there in the past, but there is a new potentially more effective way to perform them.
In Madden 25, gamers can hold the left trigger (L2 on PS3) to execute the moves in a different way than most have become accustomed to. Think of it as a way to utilize stop-and-go moves or a means to plant your feet and deliver a blow.
When you hold the left trigger, you aren't in speed-burst mode, but the moves you perform are more explosive. It actually works out well, but will take some getting used to for speed-burst addicts like myself.
I'd advise giving the Skills Trainer a look. It'll get you acquainted with the precision modifier as well as the new and improved Read-Option mechanics. They work just as crisply in Madden 25 as they do in NCAA 14.
Misses—A Little Too Much Power From Receivers at Times
(Keep in mind this is an early version and many tweaks and fixes can be implemented before the retail release)
There were a few instances where wide receivers really lowered the boom with truck sticks and bowled over cornerbacks. While there are some very physical and strong wide receivers, these types of truck sticks don't generally happen in receiver-cornerback collisions.
Let's hope that aspect of the game gets tuned. It's not a deal breaker, but it is worth noting.
Hits—Sideline Play from Receivers
We saw this aspect of the game tuned in NCAA 14, and thankfully the improvements have made it to Madden 25 as well. The sideline awareness of receivers, tight ends and running backs has improved.
Before, it seemed intended receivers would always allow their momentum to carry them out of bounds on swing routes and some out patterns. This year, the receivers respect the white lines, and there are a good number of cool, new sideline animations that depict catches or spirited attempts.
Slight Miss—Pass Blocking
Look for the pass blocking of the offensive line to be turned down a tad. As of now, it is a little difficult to get a consistent pass rush off the edge. This is an easy fix, though.
Graphics and Animations
Hits—More Realistic Physics
The Infinity Engine is in its second year with the Madden franchise, and you can see the improvements from last season in the demo. There are even more animations and cool reactions to collisions on the field.
While there is nothing completely groundbreaking visually here, the game still looks good and slightly better than Madden 13. To be fair, we're at the end of this era of consoles. The next big visual leap won't arrive until we get our hands on the Xbox One and PS4 versions of the game.
Improved Instant Replay System and Presentation
The instant replay system is 100 percent better than it was in Madden 13. The replay captures the entire play and gives you a fast-motion version as well as a slo-motion replay of the biggest part of the play. The fast-motion look really shows off the beauty of the animations in the game.
In the demo, you can't control the replays, but as a YouTuber, I'll be getting a lot of use out of this replay suite.
There is a brief halftime show that features dialogue from new sideline reporter Danielle Bellini. She talks about a conversation she's had with one or both coaches. The segment displays a stat overlay, but Bellini isn't on screen. It is unclear whether this will be the complete halftime show, as these things are often left out of the demo to conserve space.
Because of this, it is hard to make a fair assessment of the game's overall presentation qualities. From what we've seen in the demo, there are more camera angles, varied cut scenes between plays and on the sidelines.
Overall, I like the gameplay and am encouraged by the fact that the few issues I found could easily be attributed to playing an early build of the game. These minor missteps could be fixed by Aug. 27 when the game officially releases—if they haven't already been corrected.
I also recognize that while the gameplay improvements are big, the largest appeal of Madden 25 is its enormous feature set. The Owner mode, Madden Share, Importing of draft classes from NCAA 14 and Ultimate Team are major portions of the overall package that couldn't be included in the demo.
Ultimately, this sneak peek assured me that these exciting features would be supported by a game that plays even better than Madden 13.
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