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PC Reviews: Madden 2004


Madden NFL 2004 Screenshots


The Final Say!


Madden NFL 2004 -
reviewed by Andrew B
Review Date: 28 August 2003
Review Score: 9.5/10
Distributed by Electronic Arts

Once again EA Sports American football game, Madden NFL 2004 continues the strong tradition of perfect gameplay and amazing life-like graphics which guarantees that this game is the best of its genre. I've been playing EA Sports games for almost as long as I can remember and when we received Madden NFL 2004 for review, I was a little more than excited. The installation of the game was as simplistic as could be and once the disc was inserted into the CD-ROM drive, it automatically installed and I was ready to play.

For the uninitiated, Madden NFL 2004 is one of the most realistic American football games that covers just about every aspect of the sport, from creating your own teams to managing your own stadium. This ensures that Madden NFL 2004 caters for almost every sports mad gamer, provided that you are a fan of the NFL.

As with the previous games in the series, Madden NFL 2004 allows you to create your own fantasy NFL team or select one of the pre-existing teams that are already available. You basically start the game at the beginning of the season where you must slowly work your way through an entire season of American football. An improvement over its predecessor is the AI of the game that are now more decisive and actually gives gamers a run for their money, depending on what difficult you have the game set to.

Fortunately EA Sports have included a new aspect into the game called "Training Camp" that allows you to increase your players skills so that they will become formidable opponents in the field. While playing matches, I highly recommend that PC gamers use a gamepad because I did notice that while playing the game, it referred to the D-Pad which is a Sony PlayStation term.

The mouse and keyboard are adequate for the game but if you want something more accurate and basically a lot more fun, then it's time to hook your gamepad to the PC. EA Sports have also introduced a new playmaking control system that allows you to change your gaming style while playing the game.

Another new feature of Madden NFL 2004 is the "owner mode" that allows you to deal with the business side of the NFL that I'm sure will be a welcomed addition to sport management fans. The owner mode basically allows you to manage your own stadium that gives the gamer a variety of options such as hiring staff, modifying your stadium, setting the prices of tickets and managing your team's revenue.

The owner mode also allows you to create and sell your own merchandise such as program records, jerseys and even foam fingers. You can even fiddle with the advertising figures for your team so that you can promote the team and hence increase their fan base in order for you to receive more profits. Just be wary though, if you frequently blow the budget, it will affect how much money can be allocated for training and when your team starts performing poorly, your fan base will soon drop. Although extremely expensive, hiring a high profile coach can sometimes make or break your team.

Although this new feature in Madden NFL 2004 may sound extremely difficult to master, the developers have ensured that the gamer doesn't become too engulfed with all the wheeling and dealings of the team as there are advisors for just about every facet of the business side of the NFL. Although a complex addition to the game, this can easily be turned off for those that don't want to get their hands grubby with the money side of the sport.

Graphically, Madden NFL 2004 is a visual treat that contains some extremely high detailed gaming environments that almost look like you are watching a real NFL game. The NFL players themselves appear to contain an extremely high polygon count that ensures for some realistic movements and life-life expressions. The texture details on the players themselves are detailed but sometimes appear a little bland. The stadiums are also highly detailed and you can literally see thousands of people in the crowd. EA Sports have also improved the sidelines in the game that now look more realistic and less two dimensional as it did in the previous games in the series. Another impressive feature of the graphic system is that the players in the matches actually start getting dirtier as the game progresses. That is, once they have been tackled or have fallen to the ground, their jerseys start to clog up with dirt. The frame rate of the game is also extremely smooth and unlike the console versions of the game, it supports a variety of resolutions and colours.

The commentary of Madden NFL 2004 is perfect and actually uses the legendary John Madden himself who commentates the matches with Al Michaels. Unlike some sport games, the commentary is extremely smooth and it doesn't sound like a bunch of sound clips that have been joined together. The sound effects of the matches are also perfect and it actually sounds like you are at a real NFL game with the crowd screaming and all the grunts and bumps of the players on the field. The musical score behind Madden NFL 2004 uses a variety of different modern-day music to help get gamers into the spirit of American football.

In conclusion Madden NFL 2004 is a brilliant game that once again proves that EA Sports is truly the only creators of perfect sport games. With amazingly realistic gameplay and some awe-inspiring graphics, Madden NFL 2004 is the perfect game for those fans who just can't get enough of American football. Highly Recommended!

- Andrew B

Copyright 2002 www.impulsegamer.com