Madden NFL 2004 (Nintendo Gamecube, 2003)
|Likely the most successful and recognizable sports video game franchise of its time, Madden NFL returns to consoles and computer screens for its 14th season of professional football action. As usual, the teams, rosters, logos, and stadiums have been updated based on information from the most recent (2002-2003) NFL season. Monday Night Football's Al Michaels rejoins John Madden to call the action and supply commentary, while a virtual Melissa Stark sends updates from the sidelines. There's even acknowledgment of Madden's "horse trailer" player of the game, for the first time in this edition. Other new presentational features include split-screen replays, smoother transitions between plays, new "specialty" animations for actions such as stumbles and open-field blocks, and player models of a variety and detail unprecedented in the series.
Among the most prominent new features in this "2004" edition of Madden NFL is the "Playmaker Control" system, designed to offer gamers greater control of the men on the field, both before and during a play. The right analog stick can be used to change called plays or coverage at the last moment, as well as to adjust blocking assignments and receiver routes after the ball is snapped. Other additions include an extended franchise mode, which uses a number of mini-camp drills to boost player performance during the off season, and an all-new Deep Owner mode, which saddles gamers with all the authority and responsibilities of a team owner, as well as those of general manager and coach. Deep Owner players can set prices for food, merchandise, and parking, or even build a whole new stadium and relocate the team.
Madden 04 was met with very positive reviews upon release, with the GameCube and PS2 versions earning near universal acclaim. GameRankings and Metacritic gave it a score of 91.54% and 94 out of 100 for the GameCube version.
Playboy gave the game a score of 100%, stating: "Looking for more depth? Take the owner's seat and relocate your team, set concession stand prices in your new stadium and hire your coaching staff. Ditka: Send us your resume." Entertainment Weekly gave it an A and praised the Owner Mode, "which lets you negotiate salaries, build a stadium, and - for the detail obsessed - even set prices at the concession stands." The Cincinnati Enquirer gave it a score of four-and-a-half stars out of five and stated, "Because of its tight game-play, depth and dizzying amount of features, Madden is still the one to beat."
|Game||Madden NFL 2004|
|Number of Players||1 - 4|
|ESRB Rating||E - Everyone|
|Game Special Features||
|Game Series||Madden NFL Series|
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