Review by dafreestyleking

"This game is three years old. Why do I still play this?"

Hello, my name is dafreestyleking, and this is my review for ESPN NFL 2005 for the playstation 2. Is this game fun and exciting, or boring? Let's find out.

I've played all of the next gen football games, and while they may have improved some, I still find myself with the urge to play some ESPN NFL 2K5 action, and I'll tell you why. For me, despite being a three year old game, it gives me the best representation of the NFL possible, which is a good and/or bad thing depending on how you look at it.

VIP SYSTEM - 9/10

In ESPN NFL 2K5 you will have to create your VIP. Your VIP keeps track of all of your stats, trophies, and franchise achievements. Your VIP also keeps track of your playing tendencies, and the best part about this is that you can literally play against yourself if you choose to do so. For example, I like to run a lot and control the time of possession, so my VIP keeps track of this, so whenever I choose to play against my VIP it feels like I'm playing against an actual person, not some cheaply controlled A.I. opponent.

GRAPHICS:- 7/10

I'm no graphics snob, but I think the game is pretty solid to look at. I especially like watching/playing games in the rain and snow. I like the scale of the players, in other football games I've played the players were either way too small, or look like mutants.



PRESENTATION: -10/10

This is the easiest part of the game to review by far. It's amazing how a three year old game by far has the best presentation. Commentators Peter O'Toole, and Dan Stevens, while fictional, have great chemistry together. They both react to what's going on the field extremely well. It's a lot of the little things in this game that make the presentation so great:

-There are actual refs on the field.(If you played certain football games, you'll know why this is a big deal.)

-If you blow out the opposing team, you'll see a cutscene of your opponent shaking his head in disbelief of the brutal thrashing his team is receiving. This goes for their fans as well.

-This game treats the Superbowl with the respect and integrity that it deserves. It's not treated like some preseason game, you'll see the teams make a dramatic entrance on the field, and jets flying in the sky, wow!

-Suzy Kolber provides excellent sideline reporting. If there's an injured player on the field, she'll let you know about it!

-A lot of other things like your teammates celebrating a key defensive stop, or a huge late game touchdown. I tell ya, the atmosphere in this game is top notch, and it makes you feel like you are part of the experience.



FRANCHISE MODE: -8/10

Franchise mode is the meat and potatoes of any football game, and this game does not disappoint in that aspect. You have the option of doing a weekly preparation for your team to boost your team's attributes. But be careful, if you train your team too hard, you will injury some of your players.

In NFL 2K5, you don't have to make your quarterback throw footballs through some imaginary loop, or run in a 40 yard dash to improve your players here. The weekly preparation does all of that in a simple, yet effective way. You want to improve your running backs speed? Then schedule him in a tire relay, or train him by using aerobic exercises. Want to train all of your players? No problem, schedule a 1st, 2nd, or 3rd team practice. For the reasons listed above, to this day the option to train your team and/or player in this game is still unrivaled today.

Not everything is good in franchise mode though. The A.I. controlled teams put up some ridiculous stats. Eli Manning had one game where he threw for 425 yards, and 5 touchdowns, yikes. In the NFL, players change positions from time to time. Unfortunately, you cannot edit player positions in this game. So Cowboys player Andre Gurode, a guard in this game, cannot be changed to his current position,center.

Coaches cannot be fired, that includes assistant coaches as well. This is a huge letdown for me. Keep in mind this game came out when Bill Parcells(aka "Dallas Coach") coached the Cowboys, so it stinks that I have to play an entire franchise with the "Dallas Coach" as the head coach for the Cowboys. Also, once you're in franchise mode, you cannot edit players. It may be small, but I'd like the option of being able to change my player's attire.


GAMEPLAY: -9/10

Passing in this game is fun, but running the ball is where the offense truly shines. The running backs actually follow their blockers. On defense, you can double/triple team a particular receiver, or you can assign individual blitzes. You can move your defensive lineman and linebackers to whichever side you wish. Also, you can play tight bump and run coverage, play loose coverage, or assign individual man/zone coverages for your defensive backs.

The only thing I don't like is the A.I. has some brain fart moments. At times, the A.I. does a poor job using the clock. For example, at times after a 2 minute warning, the A.I. will choose to run a draw play instead of throwing the ball down field. Another gripe I have is if you are blowing out the A.I. late in the 4th quarter, they'll extend the game by using all of their timeouts, even though they have no chance of making a comeback. I can overlook these flaws because the game is so fun to play.


PROS:
-It's still the best football experience you can get from a video game IMO.

-The VIP system is a unique feature that keeps your stats, trophies, and play tendencies. It helps keep the game fresh.

-The game is so fun to play.

-Excellent commentary

-The best presentation I've seen in a sports game to date.

-Weekly preparation in franchise mode still to this day is the best possible mode for training players. They are no annoying, tedious mini camp drills here.

-This game is dirt cheap, you can probably get it for a dollar.

CONS:
-This game is old, so it's up to you if you think it's worth updating the roster. I know some people play the Madden games just for the updated roster.

-You can't edit player positions.

-You can't edit players in franchise mode.

-You can't save options in franchise mode.

-You can't fire/hire coaches in franchise mode, which is a shame.

-Questionable A.I.(particularly at managing the game clock)

FINAL SCORE: 8.6
This is a solid game, it's just unfortunate that the good folks at 2K sports never were given the opportunity to work out some of the kinks. Despite that, it's still a solid game that I recommend to anyone that likes football, and/or tired of the annual expensive roster update from it's former main competitor. I can understand if you don't want to play a three year old game, but again if you're not satisfied with the competition, give this old gem a chance. You'll be glad you did friend.


Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 11/17/08

Game Release: ESPN NFL 2K5 (US, 07/20/04)


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