Review by ShortyThePimp87

Reviewed: 10/18/05

With Only One Option This Year, Is The Game Worth It?

Overview: Madden returns for another year of hard hits, miraculous catches, and game-winning touchdowns. However, this year there is only one option as Madden has bought the license to the NFL and ESPN has been eliminated. So, let's break down Madden's improvements and see if it's worth it to own a copy of this game. Well, in general the new additions to madden include a "Truck Stick", "QB Vision Passing", and the all new "Superstar Mode".

Graphics/Presentation: In this department Madden hasn't really upgraded much of it's presentation. In fact, they have taken out pre-game animations and have the same Playoff/Super Bowl animations. However, there are plenty of new tackle animations, catching animations, and signature player-specific touchdown celebrations that really accentuate the atmosphere a true NFL game should have.

Gameplay: Gameplay is split into two new additions:

Truck Stick: Similar to the Hit Stick on defense that allowed a player to deliver a punishing blow on an offensive player Madden has given the offense a way to retaliate. With the brand new Truck Stick players can now use a RB or WR to run over defenders, by pressing up on the right analog stick, in an effort to gain a few more yards. In certain situations this can lead to a wide-open road to the endzone. However, they have kept it realistic as you won't be seeing a RB running over a 300 lb. LB every play, for the most part only DBs will have to be victims of a hard hit from a RB. Players can also press back on the right analog stick in order to stop mid-run and hopefully "fake" the defender into diving in for the tackle and missing.

Vision Cone Passing/Precision Passing: In this years Madden creators aimed for realism and it looks like they are accomplishing just that. Now not only are stats important but, with the QB Vision Cone a QB's accuracy and power can determine how well he performs. The Cone is represented by a hightlighted portion of the field in which the QB will be more accurate while throwing in. QB's that are more accurate have a wider range and therefore have a higher chance to complete a pass. The QB will focus his cone on one WR until players switch it to another WR, this is effective in looking off passes so defenses can't pick it off although it takes a while to grow accustomed to. After players have found their desired target they can hold down any direction on the D-pad right before they pass in order to control the direction in which the ball travels. For example, pressing down will cause the QB to throw low while pressing left will cause the QB to lean his throw towards the left. All these additions help to advance a more realistic sense of Offense and add in-depth strategy to the gameplay.

Superstar Mode: In Superstar Mode players have the ability to create and control their own NFL player beginning from the draft and controlling every aspect of their NFL career. The NFL superstars are randomly generated or can be exported from an NCAA '06 file/NFL Streets 2 file. After your player is drafted they will go from IQ tests to movie deals to becoming an NFL legend. Each week they will also have to practice which can get repetitive, but will benefit your superstar and will prepare him for his game later on in the week. There are also little surprises throughout the weeks and little extras include editing the appearance of your superstar to hiring the right agent to represent you.

Overall: To some up the review, Madden is a great game that has only improved itself year-after-year. Although the presentation hasn't improved drastically the new gameplay additions should surely make up for the lack of updated graphics, presentation, etc. With the "Truck Stick" and "QB Vision Cone" the distinguishing line between playing a game of Madden and being out there on that field with a hundred thousand fans watching your every move grows just a bit thinner. This is the only option out this year? I wouldn't ask for anything else. My recommendation is to go get a copy of this game if you're a football fan and avid gamer. You won't be disappointed.

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

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