Game Company’s Description: In its 14th season, Madden NFL Football remains the undisputed leader in authentic NFL football simulationˆ. This year, players can make adjustments after the snap and create championship caliber plays with revolutionary Playmaker Control. With new EA SPORTS™ Talk*, online tournaments, and new Owner Mode, no other football video game offers more depth. Madden NFL 2004 is the most complete, authentic sports video game ever, making it The Ultimate Judge for sports gamers.
Look: It looks like Madden 2003 with a little more spit and polish. There is more detail the character models. There are tattoos, which though realistic not exactly enhancing the game. The stadiums look quite good. The grass and turf look more natural. Honestly if you need more details read our 2003 review since everything is similar to that. There are new animations and screens. You can see the dirty tricks your team, or the other team, pulls on the new animations.
Feel: Gameplay is just like 2003. You don’t fix what isn’t broken.
First thing you will notice is the playmaker option. You almost wonder why it wasn’t incorporated years ago. You can audible or change up a play mid-play. It’s kind of like really being in control of Mick Vick. Vick doesn’t follow the playbook exactly as it’s charted, heck who does? Now you don’t have to either. You can send a receiver to an area on the field and turn a busted play into something huge. It works on defense too. If you spot a run you can stack your defense and crush their running back.
One of the most notable improvements is on blocking. If you have a strong lineman then he won’t get the heck knocked out of him, yet if your guy is weak in one area it will get exploited. Great AI. The defense works better on coverage and overall intelligence. It seemed passes caught were more a game of percentages rather than ability. Not this time around.
The playbooks are also updated and specific to your team. What is worse than having the same plays for Vick as you do Favre? Makes no sense. It’s fixed thankfully this time around.
The franchise mode is so deep that it could take all of this year to get down to the dirt. You have a new owner mode where you literally run everything from the ground up. Want to charge $5 a beer, then do it, but you might sell less, thus less money for your team. The great part is how you can win stat points during drills and literally build a player. Want to be the best quarterback in the league with your last name? You can do it, if you are good enough at the drills. Owner mode is almost like Sim City Football. It’s amazing the depth; it’s like a game within a game.
You can also play historic teams and change the names and numbers. I tried to play the Super Bowl Buffalo Bills, but honestly after changing a few names I got bored and bailed.
There are some problems. There are tons of big plays that seem impossible to stop. Not just Moss catching a pass and taking it 80 yards.
Hear: I love Madden on Monday Night Football. He is an excellent announcer but the same thing still goes, the commentary on 2004 is just as bad as it’s been in the past. There is no flow and no chemistry. It’s not that they have no chemistry live so why not on this game? You tell me because I can’t figure it out.
Frankly: Don’t upgrade for the graphics. If that is the reason you want to plunk down fifty bucks then don’t. If you want to get a ton of new features and the updated rosters then you can’t pass this up.
+ Rick Carey