The end of summer means a few things: back to school, colder weather on the way, and a new edition of "Madden NFL Football." That's the way it has been for 25 years now, as "Madden 25" celebrates its silver anniversary right on the cusp of a new console generation. The annual upgrade this year ($59.99 for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3) unfortunately saves the revolutionary new features for the edition coming later this fall to next-generation consoles in the Xbox One and PS4 — both due in November, also for $59.99. The game for the PS3 and Xbox 360 largely relies on the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" philosophy.
With an annual sports game, there are a few things that will keep players coming back every year. Honestly, there are fans that will pick up each edition of "Madden" just for roster updates, play their own seasons, and never touch the rest of the game. For those players, you'll find a similar set of options to last year, with the Connected Careers from "Madden 13" replaced by Connected Franchise, which opens you up to controlling a player, a coach, or now even an owner as you try to lead your team to the Super Bowl.
The owner mode has the most new features, with what is essentially a management simulator built into the game – something EA has had success with in Europe with its "FIFA" franchise. It's not for everyone, but if you've ever been dying to set merchandise prices, you're covered. For those who like every aspect of their games to allow for their own hand in creation, the owner mode does allow you to relocate your team (a Brooklyn NFL team? Yes, please!), choose a name, logo, uniform and stadium. It's like having a bit of EA's other behemoth franchise, "The Sims," inside your Football game. Basically, if you want a story in "Madden 25," you can make it all your own.