The Maddenoliday is nearly upon us. EA Sports' Madden 25 is set to release on Aug. 27 through retail outlets, but becomes available to Season Ticket subscribers on Aug. 23. I've been fortunate enough to have the retail version since Aug. 16.
I've given it a spin...or two...or three. Though I've had some time with the game, a review would be premature at this point. However, I am fully capable of delivering a comprehensive preview. If that's what you're looking for, you've come to the right place.
There are tons of new features to describe, so without further adieu, off we go.
Ever hear commentators and sports chatterboxes refer to a specific player as the glue to his or her team? Well, in Madden, the glue is the gameplay for the series. While some versions may or may not have held things together to every gamer's liking, the last two versions have been quite sticky.
To make the adhesive even stronger, EA Sports has added the following elements:
The Run Free concept is based on giving ball-carriers the ability to use every tool in their toolbox to elude or power through opposing tacklers. Run Free is executed with the use of Precision Modifiers.
These stick controls are enhancements on staples of the Madden franchise: Spin moves, dives, hurdles, stiff-arms, and of course, truck sticks. With the use of the left trigger (L2 on PS3) gamers can add more effectiveness to these maneuvers and even create new moves.
Holding the trigger allows your player to momentarily slow his pace only to explode into the move of his choice.
This concept births hybrid moves like truck spins, jab steps and juke-spin combos. There is even a stumble recovery feature that creates a window of opportunity for the ball carrier to regain his balance, or leap for the last few crucial yards.
With the right ball carrier and a mastery of the skills that best fit that player, a gamer can be quite formidable in the open field. That's the whole point.
Infinity and Beyond
Madden 13 was a groundbreaking point for the series because of the incorporation of the real-time physics based Infinity Engine. The engine brought a renewed realism and got rid of canned animations almost entirely.
In Madden 25, Infinity Engine 2 works to enhance the concept while marrying itself to the Precision Modifiers.
Something Old and Something New
While most gamers would agree the gameplay was drastically improved in Madden 13, the series did catch some flack for the transition from traditional franchise mode to Connected Careers.
Features like fantasy draft and importing draft classes from the NCAA series were omitted upon release of Madden 13. EA Sports listened to the feedback and made the appropriate adjustments.
Importing draft classes has returned and all the elements of traditional franchise mode have been properly married to the Connected Careers concept. Like Voltron, the two form what is called Connected Franchise.
Included in Connected Franchise is the return of one of the community's all-time favorites, Owner Mode. Gamers can take complete control of an organization. You can hold sway over every aspect of your team from marketing, ticket sales, player personnel moves and yes, you can relocate the squad to any of 17 different cities.
Are you eyeing an unprecedented move overseas? Owner Mode has these international spots: London, Mexico City and Toronto, Canada. This is option allows up to 32-team control with a fantasy draft.
EA Sports hasn't left out fans that loved Be a Superstar or just controlling your team in the most traditional sense as a coach. In fact, you can run a Connected Franchise online with 32-team control. In that vast gameplay opportunity, gamers can participate as a player, owner or coach.
Conceptually, this is the most all-inclusive set of franchise-mode options the series has ever seen. It covers almost every base and fan request from past years.
The popular blend of fantasy sports and card collecting returns with a few wrinkles. Gamers can now play 10-game seasons that climax with an eight-team playoff. Playing well in your regular season will get you a higher seed and maybe even a first-round bye.
The legends are back in the Madden Ultimate Team concept. The list of greats obviously includes cover athlete Barry Sanders, but greats like Lawrence Taylor, Jerry Rice and Deion Sanders are also available. There are over 50 legends included in the game overall.
The stars of yesteryear will also be available in your Connected Franchise—though some have to be unlocked—as well as in Ultimate Team.
There are eight levels of competition and this year, gamers will have to manage their team chemistry. There are eight skill-based chemistry traits (four on offense, four on defense). If you match players with like chemistry traits, your squad will receive the appropriate boost.
If you're a gamer that likes to create and download content from other users, you'll love Madden Share. Rosters, players, playbooks, sliders, etc. will all be shareable data in the Madden community.
Want to be a celebrity in the Madden community? Create something special and watch the downloads of your content rise.
If you build it, they will come...wrong sport, but you get the idea.
Once I've had a chance to play this puppy online and play through more of a season, I'll be ready for a review. Look for the lowdown on Aug. 27 when the world has an opportunity to experience the newest Madden 25.
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