Finally after a long and difficult season I was finally with my team at the Super Bowl. I hear the fans screaming as I walk down the entrance and onto the field. Oh, wait a minute, I’m just sitting in my dark room alone playing Madden 2004. Yes, that’s right. This game is so good that for a short period of time I thought I was actually playing professional football with the superstars of the NFL and even closer to getting one of the cheerleaders phone numbers.
Every year around the start of fall, every game company that makes sports games releases its own football game. But year after year the popular Madden NFL series produced by EA Sports is the official titan of the turf.
The series has been going on for about 15 years now and has been known for having the best in game graphics and play of any football game period and in no way is this latest installment an exception.
Madden 2004 is by far the best installment of the series, but not only because of the game play and graphics, but because of the sheer size of the game. There are tons of modes to choose from including the brand new owner mode, which is the newest landmark in sports game history. But don’t let my brown-nosing be the only reason why you buy the game and create a shrine for it around your console. It’s time to break the game down and find out why it is such a colossal achievement.
As I said before, the Madden series has been known for being the king of football games. One feature that makes Madden 2004 the leader of the pack is its beautiful graphics. Everything in this game looks like the real thing, from the stadium packed with fans to the player’s facial expressions. Another thing that has been visually improved in this installment is the lighting effect.
Never has the shine on a football helmet looked any sharper. Madden 2004 also pays great attention to detail, such as the player movements. Each hike, pass and tackle has been smoothly transferred into the game from motion capture. Everything in the visual department is done so professionally, that you do not want to miss any second of in-game action. I never skipped any of the game intros or the player celebrations because I thought I was watching a real game, which is of course impossible to fast-forward.
When playing a football game you may not pay much attention to the sound, you cannot help but enjoy the sweet symphony of men grunting and beating each other senseless in Madden 2004. EA made sure not to just focus on a single area and really attempted to cover everything, which they did. There’s not much music in the game, but if you blast the audio all the way up, you feel like you’re surrounded by 20,000 screaming fans or in the middle of a crucial huddle. That’s right, every move has its own unique sound, which really sounds like the real thing. The audio in the game only adds onto the visuals, making Madden 2004 even more of a realistic experience.
Where do I begin? This game truly excels in the game play department. Let’s start with the basics of picking a play.
Just like every football game, you have an option of which plays you want to pick, but Madden 2004 offers the largest array of plays around. If you’re new to football games, no problem. There’s even an option called “Ask Madden,” which let’s the game pick a play for you.
After you begin to understand how football works, you can start to pick plays on your own. After you select a play, you have to execute it. Madden 2004 has such good and responsive controls that you can only blame yourself if your play ends up being incomplete. Passing the ball or even choosing to run with your quarterback has never been easier. The praise on the games controls is the same for the defensive side.
Because of the controls reception, running after the guy with the ball or trying to sack the quarterback is actually possible and simple to do. Enough with the controls, let’s move to the modes.
Madden 2004 has the usual game modes such as exhibition, season and playoffs, but what truly makes this game a standout is the new owner mode. In owner mode you pick which franchise you want to be and you actually get the set the prices for tickets, snacks, etc. The more you play and win in owner mode with your team, the higher the prices for your tickets and other items will go up (Good luck if you’re playing as the Bengals).
Owner mode actually does justice to the name; you get to do whatever you want with your team and after that you get to play as your team. It is a win-win situation.
Overall, I cannot think of a single thing that is wrong with this game, but there is something wrong with the day because there are not enough hours in it to play Madden 2004. By far, Madden 2004 is the greatest football game of all-time.
Overall score: **** (Out of four.)