Review by maxpayne44

"Move over Madden, time for ESPN to have some glory"

Ever since Sega Sports began the football franchise battle with EA things haven't gone too well for them. Only that Madden is their only competition because Gameday has yet to do anything good and Blitz isn't really a football game. But now Sega has something to give them hope. ESPN recently signed with Sega for a deal that's going to blow EA right out of any competition.

Now that Sega has ESPN to help, major problems have been imporved. First off ESPN has top notch gameplay. Running the ball has never been so easy with all the features given. ESPN allows you to add juking, spinning, stiff arms, and all out power to your top half back. Also the passing game has improved. Lob passes, bullet passes, scrambling is pretty damn good as well. You need all these elements to have a succesfull gameplay in a football game and ESPN has brought that to Sega's football franchise.

Every game has to have solid unlockables. Madden has had success with Madden Cards but they really need to change something with the value of their cards. ESPN has introduced the crib. The Crib is your little mansion that you fill with trophies, team gear, and plenty of nice furnitrue and electronics. Plus you can deck out the crib for your style only, and that's always a plus. Also, the unlockables are great. Players include: Micheal Irvin, LT, Ronnie Lott, Walter Payton, plus Sega has some of their characters set up at positions as well(sorry no Sonic). Also, there are items you can unlock for your crib, such as posters, furniture, photos, etc. ESPN has some of their greatest commercials set up for you to unlock as well. You can get new create-a-team logos, superbowl stadiums(actually set up with the teams names in the endzone and everything), bobbleheads, the list goes on.

The best part about football is the crowd. Last year it was AFC North rivals the Cleveland Browns and the Pittsburgh Steelers duking it out in a wild card game at Heinz Field in the snow. ESPN offers you that same emotion in their wild card round as well. Why you might ask? 3 solid reasons. 1- Outstanding weather effects 2- Great crowd noise (plus, if you get a TD or turnover, they will show actual fans cheering or booing.) 3- THERE'S ACTUALLY A FRIGGIN NFL PLAYOFF LOGO ON THE FIELD!!!!!!!!!!!!! Madden doesn't have it, Gameday doesn't have it, Blitz doesn't have it, and Fever doesn't have it. C'mon no one can be that stupid!

But there are always faults: The running back looks like he's having a seizure while he's running, backgrounds (cities, landscapes, etc.) are not well mapped out, and graphics could be a little better. But at least the names on the players backs are the actual letter design for the team.

I have had it with Madden and I'm switching to ESPN. I suggest all of you do the same.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 02/01/04

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