A Big Hit All Around

One of the best parts of football is the big hit.  The one where the crowd lets out a collective "OOH" and stays silent, and the television replays it over and over in slow motion until the players peel themselves off the field and wobble woozily back into the huddle with little canaries circling their heads like an old cartoon.  I love those hits, I wouldn't want to be on the receiving end of any of them, but I would love to be able to give a Ray Lewis like hit.  Thanks to the revamped Madden 2005 football game by EA Sports I can, so you better fear the D!


Madden by EA Sports has been the best selling football franchise running for years.  Offering great, in depth plays, the trademark voice of John Madden, and fantastic graphics the Madden franchise has remained virtually untouched, even in this era of big dollar, big profits gaming industry.  Yet, the crew at EA Sports doesn't rest on their laurels and have once again made improvements on last years stellar offering, Madden 2004.


The biggest improvement this year is the improvements to the defensive game play.  My favorite of the new features is the Hit Stick.  Using the right analog stick you can lay those serious hits (see above) and change the momentum of the game or cause the crucial turnover that wins the game.  This feature brings a greater degree of realism to the game and a true sense of momentum.  Also, EA Sports has improved the defensive playmaker function.  This great feature allows you total control of the pre-snap defense including double teams and player-specific match-ups.  I love this feature.  In Madden 04 I was constantly being beat by the likes of Randy Moss or Eric Moulds on a deep play that always seemed to end up in the end zone.  Now, I put the double team on, and no big play and I'm getting a Gatorade bath for the victory.  The additions to the defensive game play are great, but they aren't the only ones.


EA Sports has added a number of features that bring the atmosphere of the stadium, season, and franchises much closer to reality.  When I lined up with a fourth and seventeen, my home crowd booed me, which was great, especially when I busted out for a thirty-three yard gain and they cheered like wild banshees.  To get the feel of being on the field, this years Madden allows you to choose different audio perspectives including on the field and in the stands.  It's always more fun to play when you can be heckled. If that isn't fanatical enough for you, they also have a customizable fan mode where you can create the perfect fan, for you of course.  In addition to that, now your players will react to every move you make in the upgraded franchise mode, bringing the petty egomaniacal aspects of the NFL right to your living room.   Throw the new Storyline feature where you can keep tabs on all the happenings around the league with the voice of the NFL Tony Bruno and local newspapers, and now the Franchise mode reaches a whole new level.


Add all of those great features to the already great game play featured in Madden 2004 and you already have a fantastic game.  This game also features the great ability to play online (Xbox and PS2) so if say you have a beef with your buddy the Miami Dolphins fan in Sacramento you can take your Buffalo Bills online and put the smack down, over and over and over again. 


I love the Madden franchise, and Madden 2005 did not disappoint.  The defensive upgrades make the game more realistic and finally bring defensive game play on par with the offensive.  The graphics have once again been upgraded and look as spectacular as usual, the controls are as good as ever, and did I mention I laid the proverbial smack down on the Miami Dolphins.  This game is great and if you love football you should surely play it, now.


For more information go to: www.easports.com

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