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Critics: Madden 25 stumbles, but scores

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Madden NFL 25 (Credit: EA)

EA's Madden franchise has been a fixture in the gaming world for over two decades, boasting a fan base and lifetime sales that any publisher would envy.

The 25th anniversary edition of the flagship sports title hits shelves today, and while the franchise faithful have likely once again come down with a case of the Madden flu to spend time with the game, critics have had a bit more time to dissect it.

The consensus? It's more of a field goal than a touchdown. Madden NFL 25 currently has a Metacritic rating of 77 for the PS3 version and 80 for the Xbox 360 version. EA opted to bypass Nintendo systems this year.

Some critics really enjoyed the game's accessibility, an issue it taken some hits for in the past.

"Developer EA Tiburon has built a more approachable game of football than it has in years — even while Madden NFL 25 gives a giant foam hand pat on its own back," writes Polygon’s Dan Rubenstein, who gives it an 8.5/10. "The NFL itself breeds die-hards who need every tiny option at their disposal and casual fans happy to enjoy some healthy competition. While Madden NFL 25 does an admirable job of catering to those with little use for, say, the ability to make 14 changes before each snap, it stays true to its ethos to give you as much control as you could possibly want."

IGN’s Jack Devries, meanwhile, calls the game "more of a run-of-the mill upgrade than a big anniversary edition," but still says it's everything a fan could ask for.

"The real meat-and-potatoes gameplay is better than ever, and when it comes down to it, we’re here to play some damn football. Madden 25 brings it with bone-crunching intensity," he says, awarding it another 8.5/10.

But the lack of celebration in a 25th anniversary edition is more of a concern for GameSpot’s Brett Todd, who gives it a mere 6/10.

"It's a shame that EA Sports decided to make such a big deal out of the Madden anniversary this year," he says. "Putting that big '25' on the box cover ramps up expectations and may well make a standard baby-steps Madden sequel seem more disappointing. The heart of how the game plays on the field has been transplanted from its predecessor, making this a small shuffle forward that settles for subtle enhancements while leaving a lot of long-standing flaws intact for another year. This just isn't a fitting way to celebrate a milestone in the long life of one of the biggest and best franchises in gaming history."

Game Informer's Matthew Kato agrees, saying if this is the best EA could do with a milestone edition, it raises fears about what fans can expect in years to come.

"If the past is prologue, Madden 25's inability to separate features from fluff and meaningfully execute them has me worried for what we'll be asked to accept as progress in the next generation," he writes, though he gives the game a more favorable 7.75/10.

We'll learn a little more about how the next gen looks later this year, when Xbox One and PS4 versions of the game, both of which will utilize a new engine, hit shelves.

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