Well, well, well ... so the pedestal falls and the game releases. Madden 25 with cover athlete, Barry Sanders (elusive back extraordinaire), has set its sights on current gen. consoles: Xbox 360, PS3 ... for now. The gameplay powered by its new Ignite engine (collective technologies engineered by EA Sports studios to bring real-life sports to gaming fans' living rooms) has shown the public that Madden continues to only climb the proverbial success ladder. Has the ascent reached its pinnacle or is there room for improvement, though?
As your Carson Palmer throws his Hail Mary with four seconds left from the outskirts of the Red Zone to Larry Fitzgerald against a monstrous Seattle Seahawk defense, can you honestly say its better than when he was doing it as a Raider against the Pro Bowl Chief defense in last year's Madden?
Small details aside, Madden on 360, PS3 has not improved much since monopolizing the market nearly a decade ago (2005). It's a gradual improvement each year leaving fans in partial-yet-perpetual disappointment over the lack of progress in ingenuity and evolution. Disgruntled fans often criticize EA for not only robbing the piggy banks with required additional online pass purchases after the game arrives home with you but for seemingly keeping some well-kept secret of improved phenomenal game-play from the public.
Every year it's the same old minor tweaks, lackadaisical improvements (said lightly) that keep fans from euphoric experiences. Sure the graphics are a bit better, the controls changed (preferential to some but a system shock to others) and game-play physics received quite the upgrade (with fields depreciating over the course of four quarters -- as are the uniforms on the players' backs from hits, tackles, et cetera) but does it offer freshness, excitement?
Simms and Nantz sure do not, as they are as boring and generic as ever, never offering insight, rather taking a page out of Captain Obvious' bag of tricks when commentating. An overhaul was a viable answer but EA Sports believes that by releasing its Ignite Engine -- which, in short, makes the in-game players smarter on the field (e.g. the punter knows to tackle the kick returner, the safety knows the slant is coming and attempts to impede the slot receiver's progress on his own, et cetera) -- for the final current generation release and subsequent generation forthcoming (November, sports fans) that it will make itself a hero to the populace.
The real truth is by sticking to the bare minimum philosophy since no real competition exists on a monopolized market, EA might have doomed itself when the license expires. Not offering fans new reasons to look forward to the game over the course of the complacent-laden monopoly era for pro football might be a masochistic coup de grâce rather than a saving grace for ol' EA.
Let's summarize a gameplan: everyone is advised to play what you have until two months and some change pass and PS4's/ONE's version of Madden is released. Unless you're sticking to current generation for the foreseeable future or upgrading from PS3 to PS4 or 360 to ONE and utilizing Gamestop's trade-in offer (buy Madden now on 360/PS3 and trade it in toward a next-gen. copy for only $9.99) then waiting is the best answer. I hear NFL 2K5 is still very playable. Wink, wink. ;)
Madden 25 rating on current generations: B