Madden NFL 2005
It's what's inside that really counts, right? We dive into this visually lackluster game to find the good stuff beneath it all.
Greek mythology tells the tale of Medusa, the evil woman/thing with snakes on her head who could turn men into stone. Amazingly, a similar story exists in the videogame industry. Game journalists tell the horrible story of a Nintendo DS title that's so ugly you'll ditch both the game and the system and wait for the Sony PSP. That game, is EA's Madden NFL 2005. Trust me. Ugly has a new name: Madd-ugly NFL 2005.
The Madden NFL 2005 visuals are a real shame, because EA's game is the first fully-3D portable football title. Here we are, ushering in an era, a "cutting of the ribbon" if you will, and EA quickly puts together this abysmal-looking sports game that tries to expose the Nintendo DS as an underachieving N64. Actually, it goes a step backwards, because it looks more like a PSone title. Blocky players with no faces, jerseys that are fused into their skin, and jaggies so sharp they'll cut you are a few of the lowlights.
The sound is equally appalling. The crowd sounds like a bunch of white noise no matter what's going on, and the commentary is extremely sparse. When they actually do talk and just repeat the same line over and over again, you'll wish they never spoke at all. If you're going to bring it, at least bring it hard.
Now I would've loved to slap this mutt with one star, because EA doesn't need a tap on the wrist as much as it needs a dropkick to the face for even releasing this game. But visuals and audio isn't the only thing gaming is about!
Under the muck, Madden NFL 2005 plays a great game of football. All of the teams and players are in there, and you can enjoy exhibition games or entire seasons. The gameplay is spot on, and you can execute all sorts of plays. There is joy to be found in catching a bomb and running in for the touch down.
What's also cool about Madden NFL 2005 is how it uses the touch screen. You can call all of your plays by just pressing them with your fingers/stylus, and the menus are extremely easy to navigate. Plus, the game features a wireless multiplayer mode for up to two people, and what's cool about that is your opponent will never know what play you're running, an annoying trust-breaker that often occurs in the console football games.
While Madden NFL 2005 at the very least plays well, where are the modes? EA was quite skimpy on the features, the most notable being a franchise mode. I understand that this is a portable game, but with Nintendo preaching the joys of the DS's battery life, I'd like something meaty to test it out on, and Exhibition just doesn't cut it.
Despite its faults, Madden NFL 2005 is a decent football game, and you'll get the most enjoyment out of it if you can somehow imagine a paper bag over its head. Once you achieve this "zen", you'll find the game to be a lot of fun.
What's Hot: A good game of football, complete with great touch screen controls.
What's Not: Ugly. Just ugly.