Madden NFL 25 Review: No More Batarang Tackles
For fans of the Madden NFL franchise, it’s nothing new to see each years’ revision come and go without any significant updates. But Madden NFL 25, which is technically Madden NFL 14, doesn’t fully succumb to that stigma. Instead, it opts to fine tune the Infinity physics engine that made its debut in Madden NFL 13, while expanding its graphical prowess to take full advantage of modern hardware. But beyond this, Madden NFL 25 doesn’t do much to enhance the gameplay and ends up feeling like a bit of a let down.
Noticeable Improvement over Madden 13
Last year, Madden 13 debuted a new physics engine that offered more realistic tackles that functioned just as real players would. It wasn’t this over-the-top imagining of how someone thought football should be played in a videogame. It was accurate — or as much as could be — now that technology had finally progressed enough for EA to stop worrying about making Madden look pretty so they could focus on having Madden actually play well.
But while this physics engine was a welcome addition, it wasn’t fully developed. There were areas that clearly needed work, often showing their lack of polish through visible and definitive glitches. You’d often see a player tackled in mid-air and fly 30 yards down field like a batarang. It was funny to see, but really didn’t help sell the illusion that this was somehow the most realistic Madden yet made.
Madden NFL 25 is an attempt to make up for those issues. There isn’t a load of new content, but rather, a deep and extensive amount of polish has been put into existing content that removes a lot of the gimmicky feel from this game’s predecessor. Instead of ridiculous tackles that send players flying, it feels like there’s a real weight to players. They’ll fall accurately — if not too accurately. You can’t just run through the middle of the line using the right stick to “Hit Stick,” throwing all your body weight in a certain direction, to power through or force a fumble. Your player isn’t unstoppable: they’ll get knocked back if the opposing player has someone set up to stop them, and they’ll trip if you continue to press the Hit Stick once you’re already out of the rough — because that’s what would really happen if a player kept all their body weight forward when trying to run down field.
Interceptions also work a bit differently now because of this change. Instead of an interception taking place right when the ball touches an opponent’s hands, it now takes a few seconds, with the game waiting to see if the player can control the ball. The result is a much more subdued, controlled game that doesn’t allow interceptions of every passing play.
Unfortunately, if you’re used to how these games have played in other years, this does take some getting used to. Passes will often bounce right off of a defender’s hands, or even not register as interceptions because the game didn’t recognize full control before the player ran out of bounds. It can be incredibly frustrating, even if you do realize that the game is more realistic because of it. But the changes are well worth the hassle.