Madden 2005: Another must-have

Every year, sports video game fans anticipate its release. Electronic Arts Sports’ hard-hitting Madden football series is back for its fifteenth year and is once again better than last year’s version. Madden improves its flaws and adds new features to enhance game play and realism.

The biggest improvement to Madden 2005 is in the franchise mode, which now requires players to have some skill to run their team correctly. The new “enhanced training camp mode” and “week practice mode” allow you to study your own team in depth. Strategy has now become a part of the game as week-to-week analysis of your opponent has been added. Off-season signing and trading is also much more difficult, and signing someone else’s franchise player is no longer possible.

Madden 2005 also gauges player happiness and media coverage, making franchise mode more exciting and complex. The newspaper feature allows you to read about your team in your city’s local paper. You can also keep tabs on teams throughout the league by skimming the sports pages of the national paper, USA Today. Your team’s key wins or significant injuries will also be recorded here. ESPN Radio’s Tony Bruno hosts a show for Madden 2005. This addition is an interesting novelty, but if you blast your own tunes through the headphones, you won’t miss much.

Graphics and player movement each year is slowly tweaked to become more and more realistic. EA has nearly perfected faces, game play and player models. However, the player movement may have been over-tweaked, making any slight motion exaggerated. The new hit stick for both PS2 and XBox is hard to control, but if an opposing quarterback scrambles and your player nails him, the ball will be out of his hands and on the turf.

Madden shows once again why it has been the staple of video gaming for the last fifteen years. This game is a must-have for any sports fan and surpasses the hype surrounding its annual release. Madden 2005 is worth the 50 bucks – you wont be disappointed.

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