Madden NFL 2004 - PC

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Also for: PS2, Xbox, GameCube
Viewed: 3D Combination Genre:
Sport: Football - American
Media: CD Arcade origin:No
Developer: EA Tiburon Soft. Co.: Electronic Arts
Publishers: Electronic Arts (US/GB)
Released: 18 Aug 2003 (US)
12 Sept 2003 (GB)
Accessories: Control Pad


With over 28 million copies sold and a 14-year history behind it, it's hard to dispute the Madden NFL series' position of number one American Footie sim. Well, rather unsurprisingly, it's that time of year again and the game that taught us all how to play the strange cross between rugby and It's a Knockout all those years ago is back with its annual makeover. This time around the emphasis has clearly been placed on a serious graphical overhaul, deeper gameplay and quality visual presentation.

One of the more notable features of the game is what's known as the Playmaker Control, which is an element that gives you more control of the action both before and during play. Before the snap, you have the option to quickly change plays, routes and defensive coverage, and once the action kicks off you can then call out blocks, direct receivers or make quick adjustments to the defence. Another new feature is the Deep Owner mode, which allows you to take over the full bottom line responsibilities of the owner, in addition to the manager, coach and players. Subsequently you can find yourself getting immersed in such duties as building a new stadium, organising car parks and even setting prices for food and merchandise.

As mentioned before, developer Tiburon has placed a lot of focus on the graphics and presentation in Madden 2004, with the aim being geared towards broadcast quality visuals. As such, transitions between the end of play and the play-call interface are now seamless, and the overall visual style is enhanced by other such features as split-screen replays, speciality animations and new quarter back scramble transitions, designed to improve throwing the run. Player models have also been tarted up (not literally) and now include such minute details as tattoos and dreadlocks. Rock and roll!

As you would expect with an EA Sports title, all the accurate data is to be found in abundance, and is packed with information directly from NFL coaches via the NFLCA licence. According to EA documentation, a package personnel system provides an innovative and fast way to change personnel to create favourable match-ups in any formation at the play-call screen. If any of you understand that then we take our hats off to you!

All in all, this 2004 update of the franchise is exactly what you'd expect from the EA Sports range - an officially endorsed, accurate and faithful simulation of its respective sport, with a host of new features and improved graphics and gameplay. And you can't argue with that, can you?