EA Sports

Madden NFL 2005

After recently attending E3 2004, one of the games I found myself playing everyday was Madden 2005. For all you true Madden fans out there this will be the game to buy! The game is more realistic than ever. There's better gameplay to all the true NFL fans that know the game well. Xbox Live support is here! That is just one of the great features being added to this year's game.

Anywhere from knowing when to calling an audible, to knowing how to throw a pass, the gameplay has improved. For example, knowing when to throw the bullet or the lob pass. This feature has been modified. It is no longer easy to catch a pass with a receiver (99 speed) using the loft pass because it gives the D'backs enough time to pursue and get under the ball to bat it away. I find the bullet pass to be more effective when throwing to any receiver. In addition to offense, they brought back the Y button feature- meaning that when you want to scramble outside the pocket with the QB, all you need to do is tap the Y button. Then when you want to sit and pass, tap Y again and throw to your desired receiver. Another awesome feature added to offense is the WR's ability to change patterns during a play. Depending on where the QB rolls out, there are dotted lines on the receiver that stand for different change up patterns. For example, a wide receiver can now automatically change up his route from a hitch to a corner, or a button hook to an out. Also, before the snap a WR's ability to read defenses (such as zone and man coverage), also changes during gameplay. He will again automatically adjust his routing. There is only one major factor you need to take into consideration when using this feature. The "awareness level" of the receiver has to be good. Obviously, a receiver with poor awareness will not be able to adjust his routes as well to get open. There will be new formations added to the offenses. In addition to these new formations, I found it pretty cool that I can call an audible on the field, change up my formation, and keep the same desired running or pass play.

As for defense, the first new feature I have to talk about is probably the best new feature in the game. I call it the "BIG HIT" feature, EA calls it the "Hit stick." When on defense, the right analog stick creates a monster hit on either the ball carrier or the wide receiver. This feature is all about timing and can be very risky. By tapping the right analog stick at the correct time, you can create a devastating blow to the running back, causing a fumble or to the wide receiver creating him to drop an easy pass in his hands. The only downfall to this feature is not timing the "BIG HIT" properly. You can go from a routine tackle to a to a much larger indefinite game for the offense - so be sure to practice with the timing when using the "BIG HIT" feature. When timed right, the hits are bone crushing. Depending on the angle and positioning of your defensive player, there are also many different types of tackles you can make when using this feature As well as offense, there are many more defensive plays added. Before a snap in Madden 2005 (during gameplay), you can audible anyone on the field to a new assignment and reposition them. Michael Vick watch out! With a good defensive strategy, even Vick won't be able to scramble. In addition to the enormous defensive update, you can now matchup any DB one on one with any WR. For instance, you can take Roy Williams (strong safety - Dallas Cowboys) and play him one on one all game against Randy Moss to try and eliminate his ability to be an offensive powerhouse. Strategy in Madden 2005 has come along way to give this game a more realistic action-packed name. As if all the other Maddens weren't great games to begin with, Madden 2005 is the cream of the crop! To all the added features on defense, they are still working on more to keep Madden as one of the best and top-selling sports games on the market.

Franchise mode has changed drastically! To start off, you can practice with your team and try different players in different positions. Team morale is more important than ever. In preparing a team, getting rid of good players for salary cap, can play a significant role in the decline of team morale. Although you can build up team morale, it will take time and great decision-making. In pre-season, another added feature is the battle for a starting position. For instance, a drafted rookie QB as opposed to a starting QB for 3 seasons doesn't guarantee who your starter will be until after pre-season is over. Which ever QB put up the better numbers, will be the starter. Of course you can change your starter manually, but this game is very realistic as I said before. Benching the QB that is statistically better during the pre-season can have a negative effect, lowering his attributes. In other words, if a scrub QB proves himself to be better than Chad Pennington, then start him. So think a little before you mess around with the depth chart. On the contrary, this feature is also similar with coaching changes. Depending on the coach you bring to your franchise, it can be the make or break point for your team. For example, getting a coach like Bill Parcels is a no-brainer that it will raise the teams overall attributes. So be careful on who you bring in to coach your team. And most of all, keep in mind that dodging your pre-season games is no longer feasible. It is apparent that pre-season will aid to building a solid foundation around your team.

As for kicking, it is quite simple. There are no more of the easy cheesy onside kick glitches. Like I said, the game is more realistic as to where it makes it tough to get the onside kick. One other feature added to the kicking game is the squib kick, which is awesome to mess around with. The ball can really pick up some good bounce.

Finally, in addition to creating a detailed player, you can now create a detailed fan. Fans are shown throughout the cut scenes of the games. There are over 300 total scenes from talking, to dancing, to horseplay. You name it, the fans do it. They even show players in the cut scenes doing realistic acts, such as dumping the cooler over the coach's head in pursuit of victory. I found the create a fan feature to be quite amusing. Spending a good majority of my time at E3 2004 in EA Sports' booth, I found it essential to create a fan to buoy up my team. So, I chose the founder of Xbox Exclusive, Steve Melanson himself to be my creation when making my supportive #1 Dallas fan. Although I knew I could never get him to wear the team colors of blue and gray, I found it quite amusing to have him represent my team when playing other gamers at E3 (haha). In addition to creating a fan, it is just as detailed as creating a player. There are so many selections to choose from. Too much for me to type out! Another feature in the game is sportscaster Jill Arrington being added to the game. She gives sideline reports to injuries, discusses weather, and talks about all that good stuff that applies to the atmosphere of the NFL.

So Madden fans, buckle up and begin the countdown, because Madden 2005 is going to bring a game to Xbox that is going to bring down the house! I played an incomplete version of it, obviously because they are adding more features - but my overall rating to this game is near-perfect. I didn't give it a perfect evaluation because I didn't play the finished product. But you can rest assure that this game in all viewers eyes will be a perfect 10. Be sure to look for Ray Lewis on the cover, because Madden NFL 2005 is coming to you in AUGUST 2004...Is it in YOU?

Related Links:

Official Madden 2005 Website

-Bobby Bernauer