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Friday
Aug302013

Madden NFL 25 on iOS does free-to-play in all the wrong ways

Madden NFL 25 isn't just available for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3--and coming soon to Xbox One and PlayStation 4--it is also available for iOS and, get this, it is 100% free! I know what you're thinking, "Free?! Oh boy, that sure is swell!" Well, before you get so excited you crap your pants, realize that this means Madden NFL 25 on iOS is a free-to-play game and it is a shining example of everything wrong with the free-to-play model.

A good free-to-play game should never require paying to play--it is called "free-to-play" after all--but, while it is technically viable to play Madden NFL 25 without ever paying, the experience is greatly inhibited without paying and, if you want to play online, your ass will get destroyed by those who paid to unlock better players and additional plays via blind card packs--yes, many plays are locked, some unlocking after a certain level is reached, including the ability to set up for a kick return on the left or right side of the field (WHAT?!).

Adding to the need to pay for better players and additional plays--there is an auction house where you can bid for players using in-game coins you earn, but that will only get you so far--is that every game costs energy to play and all you get at the start is 10 energy; the cheapest exhibition game--one with 2.5 minute quarters--costs 8 energy, while the most expensive exhibition game--one with 4 minute quarters--costs 14 energy. This means you can only play one exhibition game before having to wait as 1 energy is earned after 30 minutes of real-world time. But that's not even the worst part; when playing online, it costs 1 energy for one possession; that's right, you read correctly, it costs 1 energy for one--as in, one middle finger--possession.

This nickel and dime nature is all over Madden NFL 25 and turns what could have been a fun game into a tedious, annoying money grab--why not let people play against the AI for free, letting them earn energy for playing online by beating the AI or pulling off big plays? Madden NFL 25 is a horrible example of how to do a free-to-play game, so bad it deserves a different distinction; instead of being called, "free-to-play," I say we call it, "fuck-the-player," because that is exactly what EA is doing with Madden NFL 25 on iOS.

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