GAME STUDIO DESCRIPTION: Lead one of more than 320 Division I schools to the Big Dance with NCAA? March Madness? 2005, the most strategic basketball game ever developed. Use scouting reports and locker room videos from many of the nation’s top college coaches to create the ultimate game plan that takes you to the top. Along with a deeply revamped Dynasty Mode?, EA SPORTS Online play* (PlayStation 2 only), and Mascot and Rivalry Modes, for the first time you can rewrite NCAA history by replaying classic match-ups between a collection of the greatest college basketball teams ever assembled. With additional new mascots, cheerleaders, arenas, crowd chants, fights songs, and Dick Vitale and Brad Nessler calling the action, NCAA March Madness 2005 puts you on campus for the deepest and most authentic college basketball experience.
PLAY: In football you can call an audible—well in the 2005 version of March Madness you can do something similar and call your plays on the court. There is even a menu that comes up to show the play. What a great edition that is sure to be the norm for all basketball games to come.
Similar to the NCAA football releases, you’ll come against competition that isn’t on par—or perhaps you’ve picked a team that wasn’t on par. If you are Kansas and you are taking on Buffalo there is little resistance however the AI is better adapted this time around which helps increase the chance of destroying a lesser team. Why? Because if your shooter has a 5% three point shooting percentage he isn’t going to reel off 10 threes in a game with twelve shots. It’s more realistic than that.
The way a senior can take advantage of a freshman is a great edition. It happens in real hoops why not in a game that is attempting to mimic that? Well EA hit it on the head. This is what separates the college game from the NBA—that and the big contracts and the shorter schedule.
Dynasty Mode is an all involved handling of your universities program. You must recruit and better your program or it could lead to issues with the athletic director and get you fired. If you run into NCAA violations you could get fired or lose players. This is a great way to add depth as some of the easy games in your schedule become nothing more than mere walk-through.
GRAPHICS: EA uses the same graphics of NBA Live. The players are designed well yet not entirely like actual players—which we didn’t like. Then again how could they design players for 100+ university basketball teams? The arenas of the major universities are dead ringers while some smaller schools look similar to other smaller schools—thus generic.
SOUND: The commentary by Brad Nessler and Dick Vitale. Vitale is his usual annoying self while Nessler is consistently good. The music is okay as no one really came for the Black Eyed Peas right? We wanted only to hear the university bands and the fight songs.
FRANKLY: March Madness 2005 is fantastic. It’s the type of game that will have you playing from Thanksgiving until the flowers bloom in the spring. That is a testament to EA’s ability to make you love their games. Hoop it up!
+ Richie Wright