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Madden NFL 2005

MARK BEMENDERFER AND TREVOR GASS | Thursday, December 2, 2004

Trevor: Another year, another Madden … apparently the saying still stands, if it makes money, make another one. The Madden games span all three-console platforms (as well as the PC, and Gameboy Advance) and have proven to be a highly successful series. Would any football craving college student disagree? Why not look into the history of Madden – Madden 2004, Madden 2003, Madden 2002, etc. It would be safe to say that Madden is the Final Fantasy of Football. The most recent installment in the growing dynasty of this pigskin pastime proves to be a step above last years, specifically in the defensive options now available to football addicts everywhere. The offensive game-play from Madden 2004 remains relatively intact.Modes of play include the familiar franchise mode and owner mode, with a new practice mode and “mini camp” games. Beyond actual gameplay, days of homework can be neglected as you fine-tune each player on your bench and even design your own fans.It is a frequent occurrence in male dorms to be walking down the hall and hear the ruckus of a touchdown from a room full of guys hunkered down around a TV. Playing against your best friends is a reveled pastime on campuses nationwide. Now, with the inclusion of on-line gaming, you can be running through the defensive lines of opponents living time zones away.Overall, Madden 2005 continues the tradition of further enhancing the game each year. Fans of previous Maddens will have few qualms with this smash hit series. Improvements in the franchise mode (as well as aesthetic tweaks) keep the game-play solid, yet still familiar. On a final note, audio wise, not much change can be noticed between 2004 and 2005. Madden’s ritual commentary is fundamentally the same, which can be good or bad. You choose.

Mark: Madden, Madden, Madden … when will the dynasty end? The essential elements are all the same. It’s still football, as authentic as it gets. There’s no “pad” building, no cars to steal, and players do not spontaneously combust. For fans of football or Madden, it’s hard to find a better game. For the average gamer though, he or she may find it better to hold off on buying this game for a few months, or even think about buying an earlier version. Even though this is the best version yet, with the most realistic gameplay and increased defensive measures, some may find that plunking down another $50 on this game seems a little pricey – especially considering anyone could find last year’s version for about $15. Something worth mentioning is that this year, EA Sports released a special edition of Madden. Included on it are three retro versions of Madden, as well as more teams, trivia and videos. It costs $10 more, but considering the limited production run, it’s worth picking up. Finding it a year from now, or even in a couple of months may prove difficult. For some, it doesn’t get much better than Madden. However, the average gamer may find the Madden series is getting a little stale. Sure, there are improved rosters and some improved game elements, but the game is essentially very similar to all the previous versions of Madden football. This little detail wouldn’t detract from the game much for your average Madden fan. But it lacks the originality that is found in this year’s earlier football title, NFL Street, as well as the price tag that was attached to ESPN NFL 2K5, which happens to only be $20. With all the alternatives currently on the market, this year’s Madden may appeal more to true Madden fans than otherwise. Great game, best one yet, but the alternatives certainly are appealing this year as well.