Madden NFL 25 PS4 review – Expansion team forgets its personality
Imagine ordering the world’s largest steak sandwich, only to discover that while it looks succulent on the outside, there’s little actual taste to it. Madden NFL 25 on PS4 is that meaty sanger in virtual form. Everything is here that should be: Ultimate Team featuring players past and present, a career mode packed with off-field distractions, realistic looking stadia and players – yet there’s just something missing. And sadly, it’s more than a side of béarnaise sauce.
On the surface there are positives: pass blocking is noticeably improved from the PS3 version, and running backs are able to move with more subtlety than on last-gen – for instance, squeezing through the narrowest of gaps between two defenders. But whereas FIFA 14 feels like an entirely fresh experience on PS4, this plays like a halfway house between the two gens. Graphics aside, it’s not all that different from Madden 13 on PS3 – let alone the little brother version that came out two months ago.
What it lacks, more than anything, is soul. A big issue in this regard is commentary, with Jim Nantz and Phil Simms recycling numerous lines that were gratingly overused even in last year’s game – and often more than once per match. It’s offset to an extent by sideline reporter Danielle Bellini providing injury updates, but this trio still has a fair way go to match the seamlessness of Stelling, Tyler, Smith and McInally in FIFA.
On the upside, new animations mean your players perform tiptoe catches near the sideline (grabbing the ball while staying in-bounds) properly for the first since the PS2 era, while weather effects (and field degradation) are spot-on – it’s impossible not to enjoy a snow game under grey New England skies even with Tom Brady racking up yards on your frozen defense.
What it lacks, more than anything, is soul. A big issue is commentary recycling numerous lines that were gratingly overused in last year’s game
The final score is a toughie. I awarded the PS3 version 8/10 and while this is a marginally better game, the final product has to be considered a disappointment when weighted against its lofty expectations – and sphere-kicking stablemate, which has already set the bar high for PS4 sports sims. 6/10 it is, then, with the hope that Johnboy takes more cues from FIFA between now and next August.