With another edition of the Madden franchise having just hit store shelves, I am hearing a lot of the regular Madden-bashing going on. I just want to say that there is not much worth complaining about. Every time word of the next title in the series starts making news, the generally hateful troublemakers start oozing out of the woodwork to start preaching about how everything Madden and Football is stupid and terrible. Yeah, that's dumb.
I guarantee it still would have sold gang-busters.
If you are not a football fan or don't like sports games, shut up.
I am a gaming Renaissance man. I have a large classics collection from the Sega Master System and Dreamcast. I have my PS1, 2 and 3. I have a Steam account wherein I recently broke 200 games. Titles range all over the board. I have indies, I have mainstream and I also have some hidden gems. But, I also love football. This is where the most common disconnect occurs. We have people pissing and moaning about the next Madden who either don't like football or don't like sports games. That's like a 4 year old complaining about the selection of erotic magazines at the local Citgo. Not for him. You will never hear me comment on the state of MMORPGs because I don't play them.
I main with Human Torch and Omega Sentinel. No joke.
This is not just a problem for Mr. Madden, but the same goes for mobile, Facebook and children's games. While I am not the biggest fan of Facebook games, there is one that I play and enjoy regularly: Marvel Avenger's Alliance. It is a solid RPG with minimal acceptable micro-transactions. You can comfortably play and advance reasonably quick. But you can pay to get things sooner. I have given money to them. I also don't feel cheated because I have enjoyed the game and it's solid battle system for almost a year now. And really, at their core, Facebook games and MMOs have so very much in common. Perception is the only difference. But all the same, if you don't play them, you cannot intelligently comment on them. So don't.
It is not really a rehash or roster update every year.
Just about every game with a yearly release can fall under this header. I really like the Assassin's Creed games. But one could argue that they are just releasing a new map pack and weapon each year. Millions of people line up to buy the latest Call of Duty expansion every year. Tony Hawk. Halo. Mario. God of War. Need for Speed. Zelda. There is nothing wrong with continuing a franchise annually, if you can support it and people keep wanting to buy it. Also, there is a roster update.
The best comparison I have heard is to the fighting genre. To the outside observer, nothing has changed in fighters since the old Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat days. However, fans of the genre will be quick to point out all of the deep mechanic advances that have become common. managing multiple fighters and super bars, tech hits, parry and combos. So keep in mind that things have changed. Even if YOU cannot see it.
EA keeps managing to pack in new and modified gameplay elements every year. The franchise started off with Single Game and Season. This evolved into Franchises. The game introduced the ability to play as a single player in any position through their entire career. It even had a kind of morality system involved at some point where if you were boastful or arrogant to the press it would give you negative reputation points that effected you on and off the field. All of this has gone online this generation with ongoing 32 team leagues with each player managing his team, scouting, making trades, running practice drills to increase his players stats, hell, you even play football.
The physics engines designed for these games have more variables calculated than in any other type of game. They are calculating wind speed, traction and surface type, and the full body movement of 29 people with different levels of physical and mental capabilities and reactions on the field (including refs) slamming into each other. Each falling and running motion is rendered in detail beyond any other title.
Madden was also once responsible for major graphical innovations as well. Continually raising the bar with each release. While the advances have not been quite as revolutionary the last few years, the same can be said of games in general. This video shows the visual evolution of the past 25 years of Madden Football.
Not everyone buys the game every year.
Before I picked up Madden 25, the newest copy I owned was Madden 09 (20 by the 25 title). However, I did have just about all the Maddens from 95 up through about 2006. It would be fun if I could say that it was out of protest for the exclusivity, more on that in a moment, but it was really just not a priority at those times. And I had borrowed some from friends. A great deal of people will just purchase an older copy from game store. But usually just from the previous two years. Anyone who has browsed the bargain bins knows that there will never be a shortage of Maddens from 5 years or more ago. I'm pretty sure I could get as many as I could carry for a nickel. But that also goes to show that the players are not terribly nostalgic for many specific years. I keep a couple for the PS1 - PS2 library and all classic titles. This winter I was playing games of Great Football on the Sega Master System and the occasional Bo Jacksonless game of Tecmo Bowl.
Exclusive NFL license, totally worth a complaint
From EA's seat, brilliant business opportunity seized. Most people think EA hunted and poached this one down, and it's easy to believe because... c'mon EA has been kinda dick the last handful of years. But, no. The NFL, who has a small pile of their own evil to play in, sought EA for exclusivity. That does not change that it is the worst thing to ever happen to the game. Yes, they have done a good job making improvements to the game. Nowhere near as many and as great as if they had still been in competition. 2000 to 2005 were the most exciting years to be a fan of the genre. EA and 2K in a beautiful battle exchanging blows like Rocky Balboa and Apollo Creed. And we won that battle. I bought both. And honestly, on the whole, I did like Madden better. But to go back to that Rocky reference, it's like the end of Rocky; it didn't matter who won. He went the distance. And now I can only wonder what may have been and hope that the NFL will open licensing back up.
So, what do I think of the new Madden 25?
Now I have put a bit of time into the new Madden 25. And it is another good title in the series, but there are some issues that keep it from being great. The new precision control systems work really well and emphasize the sight and finesse that you could develop. I played a few hours and did not perform well against the AI. There was some aspect of the gameplay that I was missing out on. That's when I entered the game's skill drills. Great tutorials that teach you the mechanics behind the new control scheme. The ability to perform good stutter moves and decide how you lead your receiver. This changed the game in an awesome way. Before, you could only really throw a bullet or loft it. It makes interceptions a more definable discrimination between my error and the defense's skill. It also praises your own vision as a quarterback to determine how the defense will react and how well your receiver runs his route. Huge, best thing since the hit-stick. The graphics are fine, but not quite where I wish they would be. This is an area that had little improvement over last year's. Especially after seeing the improvement they made to the NBA franchise. I can forgive the graphics. However, I really cannot forgive the loading times. Now, I normally game a pretty decent PC. So, I have gotten very used to almost nonexistent wait times. I like it. Now, were I just playing a single game and had the minute long loading screen, whatever. But when playing a career, you are loading up practices and cycling through menus. All of which take time to load. It stutters when I move the icon. It is not smooth. Until you are playing. Then it is great.
I used to make fun of one of the Imagine games. Not for the usual stuff. It was that the title didn't make sense. Imagine Party Babyz. They always market the games as sims. And babies don't party. The closest they get is when mom holds their tiny fists in the air and says, "yay" for them. But they have the tots on the cover dancing and shaking maracas. The mind reels. But alas, that game is not intended for me and I have no right to be upset by its existence. Now, I'm off to dust off the Wii and PAR-TAY... BaBYZ StYLe!
I watch football on tv during the season, in fact I'm an avid Browns fan (don't judge me), and I have to say If I ever get the urge to play a football video game, I just pop in NFL Blitz or Blitz 2000. And I realize that there is advancements in each entry of Madden, it's just that imo, playing by "real rules" isn't nearly as fun as running backwards half the field to throw a pass to the end zone
It doesn't play the same. Yeah, it follows football rules, but a large part of my review of the game focused on how they changed so much with the controls making it so much better than previous editions.
I've been waiting for someone like you to step up and place an objective outlook on this subject for a long time now. I sincerely appreciate your consorted effort and you as an objective human being without even having to memorize your name. It's important that people continue to express themselves with a honest, but educated opinion. Thank You.
Do i hate sports? Yes. Do i complain about Madden? Not really, i don't have real rights to complain when i buy Assassin's creed every year even if it's done is completely different. The only complaint i really have, is it really doesn't look different from any viewing stand point besides the mechanics.. but then again, sports don't lend themselves to be anything but the same thing with minor updates and changes.. so i guess it's fitting?
They only did that on the Wii and Vita versions, and they admitted that they did that, it isn't really a fair comparison. The next gen systems and the current gen systems are all getting the brand new Ignite engine fueled games, so what you are saying isn't quite true.
That being said, I think this was rather well written and educational. Most people do not know that the NFL sought the exclusive deal and those that are not EA fans usually spin that into more hate for EA, that they were the ones to go after the NFL and "ruin" sports games forever. I also liked the comparison to a fighting game, though those are often criticized as being just a roster update as well.
Just like COD I'd be more forgiving if they did something to make the game feel new or different. But overall it plays the same, it looks the same... it is the same. Well, at least I know I don't have to buy it and that those who want it can.