The good and bad of the gridiron.



The
good and bad of the gridiron
by

Michael
Knutson

Lets discuss the two predominate Football games strengths and weaknesses, and
how to make each game better.

What is a fanboy?  I found this definition to be the most accurate.
Biased people who think that the things they worship about are the masters of
the universe. However, since they are biased, they will constantly bash opposing
things instead of thinking about it and stating its positive and negative
attributes.

The great debate has once again risen up, now that the latest version of sports
games has been released: “What football sports franchise is better: Madden or
ESPN Football.” You can say that this debate was started when EA refused to
develop sports games on the Dreamcast. This caused Sega to create their own
brand of sports games called the “2K” games. For those who do not know, since
acquiring the ESPN license last year, all the sports games begin with ESPN then
the sports year, this year it is ESPN Football 2K5.

Dreamcast fanboys were overheard saying “NFL 2K is the best football game
around, you can have your Madden and just be envious of us,” and the exact
opposite was heard on the Madden fanboy camp. No one could ever make a direct
comparison until Sega went out of the hardware side of gaming and focused on
creating games for all platforms.

Since I have played both Madden 2005 and ESPN NFL 2K5 on the Playstation 2, I
thought that it would be a good idea to outline the strengths, and just one
weakness in each game.

Before I get thousands of hate mail inferring that I think that one game is not
as good as the other because I am “hyping up” one feature over another. Please
take notice that I am listing the greatest assets of each game with one of its
weaknesses (and that weakness could be very minor). I do this in hopes that the
developers will take notice, and improve upon their games to make them even
better next year. I am in no way condemning either game because of any
weaknesses; I just think that there are some areas that could use some
improvement.

The Strengths

Madden 2005 – Football gaming at it’s best.
Madden has been around for fifteen years, so they have had plenty of time to
perfect the football genre. Each year they add new features that make the series
better than ever, and make you wonder how you ever played a football game
without it. This year the newest additions are the Hit Stick, Defensive
Playmaker, fleshed out Franchise Mode, and Create-A-Fan. (To read more about
these features please check out my
Madden
2005 review.
)
 



The hit stick in action


What I am getting at is that Madden is all about the game of football. The
developers of Tiburon really know how to create the most accurate simulation of
football you have ever played. Each year they add something into their games
that make it feel so close to the real thing. At the rate they are going each
year, you expect to see a guy come out of the screen and flatten you. For
instance, both the offensive and defensive playmaker controls really opened up
the boundaries of the football genre. It is really hard to play a football game
that doesn’t have this since it really becomes an integral part of the game.

ESPN NFL 2K5 – Presentation
to the max.

For being a relatively “new kid” on the block, the developers at Visual Concepts
have sure given the mighty Madden Franchise a run for their money the past
couple of years. Each year the ESPN NFL series gets better than ever!  This
year the newest additions are the V.I.P. system, expanded Crib Mode, and a
really budget friendly price point. (To read more about these features please
check out my
ESPN NFL
2K5 review
.)
 



The Crib


One thing that you can count on is the guys at Visual Concepts really know how
to make a game that is highly presentable. Before each game I play, I looked
forward to finding out more information during the loading screens. Who can
forget the Crib mode, it is one of the reasons why people continually play the
game over and over again, trying to unlock more catalogs and make more money so
you can buy everything to really “pimp out your crib.”  The V.I.P. system
is nothing short of ingenious!  At first I thought that it was more
“gimmicky” than anything else, but after testing out my V.I.P. verses my
brothers, I can tell that it is really true.  The V.I.P. records all of
your actions, and if you play against someone’s V.I.P. data, you will feel like
you are playing against them.

The Weakness

Madden Franchise:
I think many people will agree with me on this point: EA, Please liven up the
commentary!!!  You have just about perfected how your game plays. 
Each year I get more impressed with your development skills, and how you can
actually make your perfect playing football game, even better than before. 
The only thing that seems to be stuck in the past is your commentary.  It
feels like for the past several years I have heard the exact same things over
and over again.  Also take a cue from ESPN with their Crib mode; this is
one of the most ingenious and addicting things in their game. As much as I love
messing with all of the things in Franchise mode, the Crib mode really had me
mesmerized to make sure I have the best place around.

ESPN Franchise:
I think that the ESPN really lacks the extras that Madden offers gamers. There
is a ton of extra stuff to do in Madden, from the training camps, Madden cards,
and many other things that helps distract from the main game. Not only are these
extra modes fun to play around with, but they also help players learn and play
the game better. For instance, in the Training Camp, players learn how to become
better at playing the game, with certain obstacles placed in front of them. 
Not only is it fun to try to overcome these obstacles, but it also helps players
become better at the game. The extra features that ESPN NFL 2K5 offers cannot
compare to what Madden 2005 includes.

Well there you go, these are a few of many strengths that each game presents,
and just one weakness of each, which isn’t too horrific, but something that
could be improved upon.  In all, both games are fantastic to play, and they
both fight over which one gets to stay in my Playstation 2 longer. If you have
the necessary funds, I HIGHLY suggest that you pick up both games, as they are
both exceptional, and your gaming library will not be complete without both of
them.