It’s that time of year again, when EA either wows us or disappoints us with the new Madden, and people talk about how the Sega/ESPN game is gonna be the new king.
I just saw the commercial for ESPN NFL 2K5, and I think this may be the year. They got close last year (and Madden 2004 was the best Madden’s been in years!) but this may be it. The graphics look STELLAR, it’s got Boomer and Suzy Kolber, they’ve fixed a few gameplay issues, and it’s only $19.99!
Let me repeat that: ESPN NFL 2K5 is only $19.99.
So, which game will the SDMB football-heads be playing this year?
I’ll go with Madden. I’ve been a loyal fan of EA since the early 90’s on Sega Genesis. I also have NCAA '05, and I can import draft classes from that game into Madden. As a primarily college football fan, I really like that. I’m not really interested in having to figure out the controls to a new game like ESPN (call me lazy if you want).
However, I personally think ESPN is making a shrewd move here with the major price cut (more than 50%!). It makes the game cheap enough that people that buy Madden are still likely to take a chance on ESPN and possibly make the decision to switch franchises from EA to ESPN. I’m not a huge video game person, but from what I understand, video game consoles are on the back end of their life span. Next generation consoles are supposed to start being introduced pretty soon, and ESPN is clearly making a move for the future rather than the present.
I don’t know what game company is making ESPN, and I’ve never seen anything more than screen shots for the game, so no plans on switching here. Competition is a good thing here and hopefully it will either get EA to cut its price (yeah right) or light a fire under them to get a better product out.
Well, the console upgrade thing is a point of debate (I think Microsoft is shooting themselves in the foot here by trying to force an upgrade cycle before the market is ready.)
ESPN NFL 2K5 is produced by the fine folks at Sega Sports/Visual Concepts. The series started out on the long-lamented Dreamcast, and has been good from the start (Except for NFL 2K3, which was absolute poo.)
I’ve always been a Madden guy, too, and my roommate got me playing NCAA Football 2003 and 2004.
(Sorry for the late bump but Madden 2005 will be released in a couple days and I didn’t want to start a new thread)
So, I’ve got my Gamecube, I love football, and I’ve never played any Madden or ESPN football game. So I’ve got a few questions:
Madden looks like it has a million options and is very deep and complex. Since I’ve never played before is it going to take me forever to learn how to play this thing? Does it have a training/learn mode??
I know how to play and watch football on a basic level and know the difference between a wide receiver and a running back and know the rules fairly well but I have no grasp on play formation of play strategy. I have no idea why a buttonhook pattern would work. My play knowledge is limited to pass short, pass deep, and run. Will the variety of plays available confuse me?
Since I am not brand biased and not set in my ways with eithers controls should I dive into Madden, or start up with the ESPN deal?
I’m probably more into the gameday playability. The off-field drafting/trading I could take or leave. Which game is more exciting on the field?
Madden 2005 is already released - my friends and I have created our franchise on Tuesday night and have booked about 12 hours on Saturday to play.
You can run practices (repeat the same play over and over to get a feel for timing), two-minute-drill practices, single games, et cetera. Start on the rookie difficulty and raise it to Pro, All-Pro, and All-Madden as you improve.
It can if you let it. Start small and practice the plays. Why would a receiver run an out? (i.e. a few yards upfield, then a 90-degree turn to the near sideline) It could be used if the corner is playing soft: run a five-yard out, you get the ball in the receiver’s hands, and he has the opportunity to make a move to get past the defensive back. Maybe you need to kill the clock and get the ball out of bounds, et cetera. Similarly, a hook is suited to a situation - you know exactly when the receiver will cut off his route and turn to catch the ball, but the defender doesn’t.
Corners, posts, ins, hooks, screens, and so on - a well-crafted passing game is a thing of beauty to watch.
Runs can be a little easier to grasp but can have more nuances depending on the blocking scheme. But then, “run straight ahead” is the easiest play to call.
ESPN is charging $19.99 as a concession to Madden. They can’t compete at the same price point, so they’re offering a similar product at half the price. I’d suggest starting with the cheaper game to see if you like it, and maybe rent Madden for a weekend or play it with a friend who has it.
Booo, the draft and franchise management is the best part. I feel Madden is stronger in this respect, but for game-day play, it really comes down to personal preference.
Really I think that the major point here (as was mentioned in the OP) is that 2K5 is only $19.99. The Game Crazy circular that came the other day shows Madden for either $49.99 for the regular version or $59.00 for the super edition. Sure, there are the Platinum Hits that go for $20, but this is a brand new game! I hope and pray this is an indicator of things to come. I hate shelling out $60 to play a game that I rip through on a weekend and can only sell back for $20.
Seriously though, I used to be just like that. Buy tons of games, blow through them quickly and never touch them again. Well, after finally coming to grips with the fact that I was monetarily retarded, I just stopped buying games. Haven’t purchased ones in months, and the only one I do plan on buying soon would be Halo 2, since I know that’ll have major replayability.
Anyways, I’ve saved myself a shit-ton of money and I really don’t miss having the latest and greatest game, I can just rent it instead (or borrow from a friend).
I’m a long-time Madden-ite who switched to 2k5 this season. Admittedly, the pricing was a bit of a factor - if I didn’t like it, I’d sell 2k5 to my boss for 10 bucks and buy Madden. But I think I’m sticking w 2k5, reasons being:
graphics that are much better, imho, than Madden 04*, especially replay angles and player movement that seems more realistic (with the glaring exception of the kicker on kick-offs).
Maybe I’ve just played Madden for too long, but I like the announcers, even if they are 2 guys whose names I don’t remember.
Passing seems more realistic - I can’t use PlayMaker for a quick and easy pass 6-10 straight plays.
There’s a ton to do during the week between games, ie setting up practices, scouting, etc. I like that; others may set that to ‘Auto’ and never mess w it.
The hardest part is getting used to the different controller lay-out, especially when I’m rotating between 2k5 and NCAA Football 04 (trying to get stink-ass Arizona to the BCS in first year of dynasty mode now) and its EA Sports layout. And the ‘Crib’ function seems pretty dorky in 2k5 but I’m not even messing with it.
*I’m yet to actually see Madden 05, and I reserve the right to play it at GameSpot tonite, crap my pants with excitement and bust out the secret credit card the wife is unaware of and sneaking that badboy home.
I’ll echo that sentiment. I was a big fan of Front Page Sports Football and was very sad when it went belly-up. Do either of these games come close to the player management that it had? Players get old, then retire, new players are drafted and get better, that sort of thing?
I feel that Madden05 has superior off-field functionality. Players get old (and stats improve or decline throughout the season and between seasons), retire, can be traded, cut, free agents signed, a 7-round draft with multiple rounds of scouting of specific prospects beforehand, salary caps, stadium renovations, team relocation packages, hiring head coaches, coordinators, training camp drills to improve specific players in specific skills, franchise economic models (gonna raise the price of beer? Maybe have cheaper parking? An advertising blitz prior to a big game?)
All that was in 04 and earlier - 05 introduces player chemistry and personality to an extent, so a skilled player may start sulking if he feels he’s not getting the ball enough and demand a trade, and other off-field improvements, such as sports columnists, local and national newspapers, et cetera.
I play the game with two friends, which neatly divides our roles in our franchise into QB, RB, WR (and three down linemen), but it’s enough to tempt me to buy it and a Gamecube so I can play as a GM/head coach rather than a player.
Rent 'em both, play around for a weekend, and see which you like better.
I’ve read reviews that say that some of the controls and options are either buried in menus or that there are times when you think you’ve done something but you haven’t. I’ve also heard of several bugs, including a “clipping bug” where the runner gets negative yardage on any play called back because of clipping. For example, the runner gains 20, but it’s called back due to clipping, and the stat gets recorded as a 35 yard loss for the runner.
I’d say go with the Madden NFL 2005, because I really freakin’ hate it when people contract numbers. They’re only saving one keystroke for christ’s sake! Plus, with “2K5”, if you capitalize it, you don’t gain ANYTHING! AAAUGH! And! You have to look at it for a second to see if it’s a contraction for something OTHER than 2005, like, maybe it’s 2 Kilometers, 5… no, that’s not it… 2 kids, 5… no… what the heck…