Madden 2004: that's good pretend football
Stock up the mini-fridge, order some pizza, and forget about writing that eight-pager due the next day. Madden 2004 for Playstation 2 is a feature-packed football powerhouse that's going to keep you glued to your TV during the entire football season. There was a lot of buzz concerning this year's latest installment and let me tell you, the 2004 version with all-new dynamite features does not disappoint. Madden 2004 reigns supreme as today's best NFL video game, bottom line.
Year after year, Madden is the type of game that raises the bar...on itself. Now hardcore Franchise Mode players are allowed to control every facet of their team with the new Owner Mode. This new feature gives you total control of your team's operation on and off the field, including changing ticket prices, concessions, adjusting parking prices, and advertising to put more fans in the seats. Building a dynasty through the Franchise Mode and winning the Super Bowl year after year is one thing, but do you have the mental fortitude to turn out a profit and make millions in the Owner Mode? Madden 2004 isn't just about the standard Xs and Os anymore; it's also about the dollar signs.
The off-the-field maneuvering options can keep you busy for weeks, but it's the new on-the-field features that make Madden 2004 so great. Credit this mostly to the new Playmaker Control. This ridiculous feature allows your players to change their patterns on the fly while the play is still developing. For instance, say that you're rolling out of the pocket with Michael Vick, no one is open, and you don't have room to run it up field. By simply pressing the right analog button, you automatically signal your receivers to change their roots so that they can get in position in order to catch a pass. Now that's just not fair for the opposition's secondary. Warning...this doesn't always work; it takes practice to master the art of Playmaker Control. If you can manage it, then you can also perform other slick tricks such as directing your blockers during a run.
Playmaker Control also comes into effect before the ball is even snapped. You can react to the opposing team's defensive set up without even calling an audible or switching up your blockers. For example, say that you're playing the Dolphins and you notice that Zach Thomas is blitzing from the left side and your running play is heading that way. No problem. With just a simple tap of the analog button to the right, you automatically switch the play away from the blitz without even tipping off the defense. You hand the ball off and avoid a three-yard loss and instead get a four to eight-yard gain. On defense you can instantly commit to the run or the pass once you have read the opposing offense. This works well if you know the situation of the game, but if you make a hasty decision, you are liable to get torched.
The graphics are just downright awesome. E.A. Sports keeps improving year after year with smoother player models and stadium designs. The detail is so crisp and clear that you can see everything from the veins popping out of Lavar Arrington's biceps to divot marks down at Gillette Stadium during a rainy game. The players and stadium are so realistic that I have to pinch myself just to make sure that I'm not watching a live game. It's wicked nasty!
In terms of sound, you get your standard dose of Monday Night Football's commentary duo, Al Michaels and John Madden. They do a great job in calling the game and John Madden's corny and obvious analysis provides comedic relief. The players on the field do their fair share of trash talking, which only gets the gamer even more excited. Speaking of trash talking, gamers can buy the online attachment and a headset. This allows them to open up a can of whoop ass on friends who go to other schools. The soundtrack is superb, and it has a great variety of artists ranging from OutKast and Bubba Sparxxx to Alien Ant Farm and A.F.I. Even the roar of the crowd makes you feel like you're sitting on the 50-yard line.
I have only a few minor complaints with the game. The computer A.I. is still much too good, especially when it comes to two-minute drills. They just can't be stopped. Also there needs to be more field goal and punt blocks. They never happen in Madden and as we all know with football, special teams are a major factor when it comes to winning games. Other than that, Madden is virtually flawless.
Madden 2004 is the cream of the crop when it comes to sports games. Nothing compares to it, and the best just continues to get better. Madden NFL 2004 raises its game to yet another level. Once again, the road to the videogame Super Bowl leads through the house that John built.
This evening at 6:00 p.m. there will be a Madden NFL 2004 tournament on the movie screen in Cleaveland 151. There is $10 entry fee, with a cash prize for winning. To enter or if you have any questions, email Travis Dube at firstname.lastname@example.org.