Review by robbiedbee

Reviewed: 10/07/04

Could have been better. But not much better.

Madden 2005

So, the most anticipated sports series is finally here. The big question is, has EA managed to improve on Madden 2004, and do we actually need to part with $50? I’d say yes.

Graphics 8/10

Good, good, good. Not great though. You may find that in my review I compare Madden 2005 to Madden 2004, so here I go. If you ask me, the graphics are both better and worse at the same time. The players are better animated, and the animations themselves are fairly fluid. However, the players tend to not blend in with the background too well, making it seem a bit cartoon like. Improvement or not, the graphics are still good.

Gameplay 9/10

Definitely an improvement on Madden 2004. In last year’s instalment, I thought we had achieved near-perfection with gameplay, but Madden 2005 takes it to a whole new level.

The game itself is marketed around the new defensive overhaul. Now, at the line of scrimmage, we can alter each player’s defensive instructions and change play quickly to adapt to an offensive audible or whatever. With a flick of the right stick, we can set a player to blitz, or cover a zone, as well as double-team a receiver. Also new to ’05 is the hit stick. During play, a flick of the right analogue stick can trigger a big hit on the ball carrier, which not only looks good, but can cause a fumble. This is useful if timed correctly, but if not, it can go horribly wrong, and the ball-carrier will shrug off the tackle. All in all, it is easier to defend, which was in my opinion, a slight flaw of 2004, and with the new defensive controls, the pre-snap strategy as seen in real life is much more evident. That’s what’s new.

The gameplay we have grown used to over the past 2 or 3 editions is still there, the controls are good, game plays quite well and there is great challenge in playing at higher levels. In terms of playing a realistic game, there isn’t much we can’t do, apart from a lateral (next time, please!).

In terms of gameplay features, all the traditional modes are there, tournament, franchise mini-camp and so on. The franchise mode has been expanded further, now there is a greater level of interaction with players, and with the new storyline section, we can learn of personal battles between players for a starting spot, or how players are embarrassed about losing on Monday Night Football. Nice.

Lifespan 8/10

This time around, there isn’t really anything terribly addictive that sets it apart from any previous titles in the series. I am sure some people will not like the new features in the Franchise Mode. Some people just want to play football. Fair enough I suppose, but just doing that grows quite monotonous after a while.

That aside, Madden 2005 isn’t a game that you can play for hours and hours on end. I do however think that you will probably play it for about an hour a day every day until the Superbowl. When the season is up, I’m sure this game can give you the fix of football you need to get you through the day. The good thing about this game is that it never gets to the point where you hate it, and never get permanently bored of it.

Sound 8/10

The soundtrack features bands such as Franz Ferdinand, Hoobastank and Greenday. Fun. There is the typical mix of metal and rap that we have grown used to over the years. The songs are not as good as they were last year, but I don’t include my own preference in the score, I just decide whether they are good or not. Which they are.

The sound effects aren’t necessarily new either, they are however realistic and do add to the football feel of the whole thing. Madden and Michaels do the traditional commentator duties, and do a good job of it. No complaints there.

Rent or Buy?

I’d say rent first. Long term fans of the series might not consider the changes good enough to warrant paying another $50 on what could be seen as the 3rd version of Madden 2003.

Final Score 8/10

Could have been better, but not much better.

Rating:   4.0 - Great

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