Draft Day Review


It’s time to look at an NFL film from a while back. I always like to see films based on Football because it’s such an interesting sport. Watching the live games is already great so a film like this would be sure to land as well. Having the Browns be the main focus also makes sense since they tend to never be doing all that well. This year is the first time they’ve had a winning record in many years as it is. Of course that means you feel like the Browns are doomed no matter what here but at least they’re trying to draft well. Ultimately this is a solid title even if I feel like some plots weren’t really needed.

Draft Day is here and the Browns GM Sonny is being pressured on who to draft. The owner Anthony wants Sonny to pick up the #1 quarterback since he is guaranteed to make a splash. The coach thinks that Sonny should be picking up a running back to help the offensive team really have a balanced attack. Personally Sonny wants a linebacker since he believes that this guy is the best fit for the team but defensive players don’t tend to make big headlines like that. It’s just the way it’s always been and Sonny knows that his job is on the line here. Is there a way he can make this draft a success without getting himself fired?

Naturally the owner has a lot of pull so you can’t blame Sonny for quickly thinking he just needs to go with what his boss says. At the end of the day if the owner wants something it’s going to be pretty hard to stop him if you want to keep your job. The pressure he gets from the coach isn’t nearly as serious. It’s also tough because a fresh quarterback can change everything while a superstar defensive player can only do so much on his own. It’s why quarterbacks tend to make so much money. No single player is a whole team but the quarterback does have his hands on the ball for every offensive play so he has more control than any other player on the field. Additionally this quarterback seemingly has no weaknesses and is considered the best player in the draft.

I’m glad that the film didn’t give us a cop out by making the quarterback turn out to be terrible or anything. We do get some potential weaknesses on and off the field here but the film doesn’t do anything too drastic so there’s still a good debate to be had. The linebacker, running back, and quarterback are all very valid picks to be sure. I also enjoyed all of the banter between the teams. There was a lot of fun back and forth with the Seahawks for example. He definitely manipulated the Browns GM with ease initially although Sonny gets ready to start turning the tables later on. None of the other teams get huge roles although they are certainly present the whole time.

What I could have done without here was mainly the plot with Sonny and his family. In particular he had some issues with his mother and his Ex. This plot didn’t really seem to add much to the film and also hurt Sonny as the main character. While their demands weren’t always the most reasonable, it just makes Sonny a bit less sympathetic when he’s yelling and breaking laptops. He seems like a guy who ultimately balks when there’s a lot of pressure as seen with his opening draft deal which was pretty terrible. The film tries to make this up by showing his greatness later on but the final deal is extremely convenient to the point where it’s not very realistic. Personally I’d say an ideal ending would have just omitted the final part of the deal or nerfed it a bit so there was still some sacrifice while giving an ending that worked out for all of the characters. I think that would have worked out quite nicely.

One character I enjoyed quite a bit was the coach. He definitely disagreed with Sonny at almost literally every turn but I liked his confidence. The guy clearly just wanted to make sure his offense was intact and didn’t like that Sonny’s trade threatened to jeopardize everything. Sonny’s right that he has no obligation to bring the coach in on these decisions but when the decisions are incredibly suspect like that it does make you think that the coach had a point. In a way the film shows the organization as being very split in their decision making which makes a decent amount of sense when you consider how poorly the team tends to handle its new recruits. I wouldn’t be surprised if there were a lot of disagreements within the staff there.

We also have a subplot with Sonny and his secret girlfriend Ali that doesn’t seem to add a whole lot to the film. It’s the kind of romance where you feel like they could have just gone public with it a lot sooner and it wouldn’t have been an issue. As it is it seems like all of the important characters knew that they were together anyway. Sonny also didn’t take Ali’s news at the beginning very well either although interestingly the film mainly starts right as/after the announcement was made rather than having a whole scene devoted to it. I thought that was a good idea.

So what I’m getting at here is that the sports aspect of the film was great but the drama around it wasn’t as solid as it could have been. The sports angle is why I liked the film though and it more than makes up for the rest. The writing is definitely really solid when it’s focused on the main plot. The pacing is nice and tight with a lot happening at all times. Whether you like Football or not I expect you can enjoy this film. Some of the terminology may go over your head but the film at least explains the main parts so you should understand what is going on with the draft.

Overall, Draft Day is a solid film. I don’t think it’ll go down as being the definitive NFL title or anything like that but I thought it was handled well. Draft Day is definitely one of the biggest days for a GM since a lot of important calls are made on that day and they will be remembered for the rest of your career. Make a mistake and people aren’t going to let you forget it even after years have passed. That’s just the way things shake out here and not without due cause. A GM makes a whole lot of money to be able to prepare for days like this so you have to be ready. In that sense Sonny should have had his team prepared a little better than he did at the start but he learned gradually as the film went on. It was also a really nice touch that the coach had been with the Cowboys and won a Super Bowl. Even this film had to remember to acknowledge that the Cowboys are always winners!

Overall 7/10

Best NFL Players


With the NFL wrapping up it’s 100 year anniversary I figured it was a good time to take a look at who I believe was the best player to play the game in each position. You’ll notice that not all positions are on this list. I don’t have enough knowledge about the ones I’ve excluded like Linemen, Fullback, Punter, etc. Even if I did research now it would take too long to get an accurate picture of who the best was. The positions listed below are ones that I’m far more familiar with. Some I already knew before starting the editorial while other positions required more in depth searching.

Quarterback

When it comes to the best quarterback of all time that’s an easy pick to make. It’s Tony Romo. This quarterback is heavily underrated due to the Cowboys not winning a championship with him but team stats do not apply here. If you look at Romo’s stats he lit the field up whenever he was on the screen. To date he has the highest career QBR outside of active players and that’s one of the most impressive stats. Additionally Romo has a great arm so he could make even the more difficult of throws. His mobility was greatly reduced after sustaining multiple injuries over the years but this allowed him to improve his pocket passing further.

Running Back

Emmett Smith definitely has some competition for the best running back of all time but ultimately none of the competitors are able to match him. Smith was a powerful back who was known to consistently break tackles in the open field. His speed was also considerable even if it wasn’t quite what he was known for. He could turn up a gear or make a quick move to dodge a defender, but having the ability to break through an opponent was really his specialty. He obtained quite a lot of yards over the years and was a critical part of the 90s Cowboys success.

Wide Receiver

Aside from the quarterback position, the wide receiver is always the most enjoyable for me to watch. There have also been quite a number of incredible receivers over the years. Jerry, Randy, and T.O. are certainly my top 3. There can only be one though and I’m going with Randy here. His sheer athleticism was always very impressive and he could always fight for the ball. He had great seasons with the Vikings and a spectacular one with the Patriots as well. I haven’t seen another receiver who was quite so talented.

Tight End

As tempting as it is to pick Shannon Sharpe with his endless confidence and entertaining demeanor I’m going to have to go with Tony Gonzales here. He was always a consistently great tight end who lasted a while. Gonzales was always going to make the catch so the Chiefs could count on him for the first down. His size and physical route running also made it difficult for defenders to cover him. He had a great career.

Special Teams Returner

While most players aren’t officially listed as special team returners there are a few who were really just perfect for the role and that effectively became their position. Devin Hester was one of those guys and open field running was his specialty. Whether it was a kick or punt return he always had the potential to get the ball in the end zone. Eventually teams started kicking away from him. With 19 total return touchdowns he is far and away leading in that category. I highly doubt anyone will be able to pass him.

Cornerback

Deion Sanders was called Prime Time for good reason. He was a cornerback who made a lot of flashy plays and showed up in the big games. He was immensely talented and could even play other positions like wide receiver and he could return special teams. His real specialty was in the backfield covering receivers though. His ability to catch the football meant he could cover balls with the intent to catch them. At that point unless the QB threw a perfect pass it was a potential interception.

Kicker

An NFL kicker needs to be consistent and it’s been tough for teams to find one like that lately. It’s an incredibly difficult position as you may have to go into the game cold and still make the kick to win the game. With all of that pressure you have to have some pretty strong nerves. Dan Bailey was the closest you can get to a perfect kicker. While Bailey no longer has the record for highest field goal% thanks to an off year he had, he has gone back to being one of the most accurate kickers in history. As he is still playing he can still aim for the #1 spot in accuracy, but he already has that spot in the position with how he comes through in the clutch.

Middle Linebacker

Brian Urlacher was always a dangerous player on the field during his many seasons with the Bears. He’s the first middle linebacker I made sure to pay attention to because he was such a great player. The guy could easily pick off passes or go for sacks. It was always hard to tell exactly what he would do and just having that kind of pressure made it tough for the other team’s offense. I’m certainly not a big fan of the Bears but they have obtained quite a few great MLB’s in the past. I make the case that Brian was the best out of all of them.

Defensive End

This was probably the toughest position to pick. I was torn between Jared Allen, Demarcus Ware, and Michael Strahan. I compared their stats on Pro Football Reference and looked at some highlights. The main reason why Michael ultimately wins this one is because of his success in the playoffs. While he did have 2 more games to work with than Ware and several more than Allen, he easily led in sacks. He had close to 10 sacks in the postseason and those are the games where you have to show up. He also had the longest career out of the 3 and obtained the most sacks. Strahan was just an incredible DE and always made his presence felt.

Owner

Jerry Jones is easily the most well known owner. A lot of owners you never even hear about as they just don’t make the news or try to grab headlines. Jerry may be a controversial figure, but he’s never afraid to speak his piece about the Cowboys. You can count on him to address the media after every game and he definitely wants to win another Super Bowl. I can’t think of any owner with more energy and enthusiasm than Jerry.

So these are the top players of each position! The NFL’s 100th season was definitely a blast even if it didn’t go the way I had hoped it would. I look forward to seeing what the next century of Football brings us.

NFL Head Coach 09 Review


It’s time to take a look at a very different Football game. I’ve always enjoyed the Madden games as well as the 2K versions and pretty much any other football game. Unfortunately Head Coach is the first Football game that I did not enjoy. I would actually have to give this one a negative score because it’s just not any fun. The title is a giveaway so I knew what I was getting myself into. Still, I did expect the developers to do something to spice things up here. It’s really a very straightforward coaching game.

You can jump into a career or a quick game to see what it’s like. I chose the quick game option but there is nothing “quick” about it. One half took about 30-40 minutes and that was pretty surprising. A normal Madden game is way shorter. I believe it’s because this game uses 15 minute quarters like the real sport while Madden typically has 5 minute quarters. I always understood why the games don’t do 15 minute quarters and this game proves it. It makes the games incredibly long and while you may have fun if you’re in the match, being a coach doesn’t offer the same level of immersion. What happens is you get to select the plays before each action.

Then you watch the computers carry out your play. Rinse and repeat as you go through the game. Honestly it’s basically no different than watching two computers play each other and I dare say that it’s worse. Choosing the next play just slows things down. Since you know the A.I. is probably going to mess up your play you’d rather they just take the wheel. I’m sure this gameplay style will have its fans, but I am not one of them. Each play takes so long and you can just pick random plays so you can do this with your eyes close. Ultimately the game seems to heavily rely on luck/RNG so it’s not like your picking does a whole lot.

The graphics aren’t bad. It looks more like PS2 than PS3 so I’m thinking that this game was more low budget compared to the main title. Nothing wrong with that of course, if anything it does add a layer of nostalgia to the title. Even that was not enough to really help the game in the long run though. The presentation isn’t nearly as good as Madden either since we miss out on most of the festivities. You get to have the coach yell out plays and praise/insult the team depending on how things go. This gets old pretty quick though and I’d rather have the announcers yelling out the play by play.

There’s a lot of replay value here technically. You can start a career as a coach and that’ll last you a very long time. It never even really needs to end. At the same time, this is all with the same gameplay style. You’ll likely end up not playing through every game at some point. I got this game for a few bucks in Florida many years ago so it’s not like it cost a whole lot. I’m not sure if I would call it the worst mainstream sport game, but it really could be. Naturally the golf games are also up there and I’m not a fan of some of the newer Baseball titles. I’ll be playing a lot of Baseball soon though so maybe that’ll help my fundamentals.

There’s not a whole lot of other things to do here. You’ve already basically heard the entire gameplay which in a way is pretty scary. There are other things you can do between plays like subbing out players and calling timeouts. That is really the extent of the gameplay though. I was hoping there was a mode where you could become a player, but I suppose that would be an odd choice since it would then become a normal Madden game. Even if I would have liked that as an option I suppose I see why it was not added in. That would have been pretty awesome though.

Overall, NFL Head Coach 09 is probably the most boring game I’ve ever played. It’s not like it has poorly designed levels or puzzles to make the game bad. There’s not really any “bad” features in this title. The only issue I have with it is that the game just isn’t any fun to play. I can’t find any joy in leaving it up to the computers. I feel like the whole point of playing a game is to use my skills to make a difference. What difference am I making if I’m just letting the computers take the reins? There’s a reason why they don’t make Head Coach games anymore and I’m betting that it’s because people got burned out. You can only play this kind of game for so long before you throw in the towel. There is one more Head Coach game for the PS2, but realistically I doubt I will ever play that game. If it turns up for a dollar or two I’d quickly purchase it, but otherwise that’s a no go from me.

Overall 4/10

Madden 17 Deluxe Edition Review


All right guys, it’s finally time to take a look at one of the newer Madden titles. Madden is easily still my favorite sports title out of all the big EA games and 17 continues to impress. While this installment isn’t quite as impressive as some of the older ones, it still had all of the positive fundamentals that we have come to expect from the series. It’s certainly a steal considering it was only 3-4 bucks.

The gameplay is the same Football mechanics as the older ones at least in a grand scope kind of view. The goal is to score more points than the other team by getting a player with the football into the opponent’s end zone. Alternatively you can just kick the ball in. You’re really going to need to be able to survey different parts of the screen at once especially when throwing passes. It’s a very intricate game and you do need great reactions to pull this off. Part of why the game is so satisfying is because it needs all of those skills. You can’t pick up the game and suddenly become good, you’re going to need to work on it. There’s definitely a lot to learn too since you’ve also got other sides of the ball like defense, kicking, and running.

While not much has changed since the last Madden they did retool the kicking gameplay once again. Now you’ve got a meter that goes up and down which you have to stop twice. I definitely preferred the old system where you would just flick a lever up and down. I suppose this one is a lot trickier though, but I don’t think you need to over complicate field goals. It also makes the meter pretty crazy when you increase the difficulty. That’s not new, but I still disagree with it since I want a challenge on the field when upping the stakes, not a challenge to fight myself!

Accelerating is a little less obvious here so the game is a little more like a simulation than arcade style. I miss zooming around the field, but I do get the logic and it works well enough. The tackling is still on point and you can see how the game is really well polished in all areas. The gameplay is just a lot of fun provided that you like the sport of Football. It accurately portrays how the game goes down. When you’re playing you feel like you’re in total control so the game succeeds here.

It goes without saying that the graphics are pretty incredible as always. Everything is just so lifelike and while EA may not have the best reputation they do always deliver on this front. As for the soundtrack, it’s less obvious than usual. You’re really not going to be paying it much attention anyway since you’ll be in the game by that point. Now the presentation is where its at and the game is stunning there. It really feels like a real game with how the announcers introduce the teams and we get a nice pre game set up. Likewise you get a good set up for the playoffs and super bowl.

There are a lot of modes beyond the quick games of course. You can practice or jump into the online modes. There are a lot of ranks to go through so if you play online then you’ll probably be around for quite a while. Learning all of the playbooks will take a while and naturally obtaining the Platinum is quite difficult. These games may come out every year, but one title is enough to hold you for several years to be honest since there is just so much to do. There’s also the fact that every game is different so like a fighting game there is basically unlimited replay value here.

Due to the nature of the game there isn’t a whole lot to say but I’ll end off with my tips on how to take the computers down a few pegs. I was able to take them down until All Madden difficulty after all although at that point they cheesed me out. One thing I don’t like about All Madden is that your players start to choke. They begin dropping passes and fumbling all over the place which doesn’t feel like a real difficulty spike. It’s more like your players start breaking down as if they’re 1st year rookies going into their first playoff game. So ignoring that, my strategy for winning was a bland but effective ground game. I’d run it on 1st and 2nd down and then pick up the final 3 yards over the place. Then I’d mix it up with a first yard pass sometimes. I would win in very low scoring games like 17-10 or something like that. The computer has a hard time fully shutting down the run so you’re almost guaranteed to get 2-3 yards up the middle each time.

On the other hand, if you go around then you’re more likely to lose yardage but you have a decent shot of getting a big gain. I prefer consistency so I go up the middle and you’ve also got the shot of making a big gain so the way I see it there isn’t much of a downside to this. Just keep plugging away and eventually you’ll get some kind of win. Defense is also important, but I don’t really have any tips for that. What’ll happen will happen with that one.

Overall, Madden 17 is definitely a game that you’re going to want to jump into. It’s only 2-3 dollars so there is really no downside to making the purchase. By the same token you can also just skip to 18 which is basically the same price and have close to the same experience. It’s really up to you to see what you want to do, but there’s no bad option. While I do think they should speed up the gameplay a bit like in the old days it is still very balanced. I think the problem of the low acceleration is that the running back feels like just an ordinary player as opposed to the speedster. It also gets rid of the quarterback advantage which is too bad because I loved scrambling for every play and getting a bunch of yards. I guess it was pretty broken to be honest though. The quarterback was unbeatable in some of the older games.

Overall 9/10

Madden 2015 Stats and Records

Maddeen stats. I did quite good didn’t I?

PS4 Trophy% 49%

Gauntlet High Score 11

Skills Trainer

Basic Offense 100%
1 Bronze
2 Bronze
3 Silver
4 Bronze
5 Silver

Basic Defense 100%
1 Silver
2 Silver
3 Silver
4 Bronze
5 Gold

Football Concepts 100%

1 Bronze
2 Bronze
3 Bronze
4 Bronze
5 Bronze
6 Bronze
7 Bronze
8 Silver
9 Gold
10 Silver
11 Bronze
12 Silver
13 Silver
14 Silver
15 Silver
16 Gold
17 Bronze
18 Silver
19 Silver
Advanced Offense 100%

1 Gold
2 Bronze
3 Silver
4 Gold
5 Silver
6 Bronze
7 Bronze
8 Bronze
Strategy 100%

1 Gold
2 Bronze
3 Silver
4 Bronze
5 Bronze
6 Gold
7 Silver
8 Bronze

Madden 2015 Review

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I’ve always been a big fan of Madden and it’s one of the only game series that can hold a candle to Super Smash Bros. No worries, Super Smash still is the greatest series of all time and it shall never be surpassed, but Madden would probably be my second favorite series. Madden 13 was phenomenal and while Madden 2004 is still my favorite, 13 was a close second. Unfortunately, Madden 2015 is not quite as good, but it’s still an excellent game and one that I can recommend to anyone without hesitation. There are more things to learn as the Madden games get more and more technical, but you’ll be glad that you entered this new world of fun.

One thing to notice is the fact that I got Madden 2015 for the PS4. It’s much cheaper to do so, but since I don’t have PS+, it also means that I can’t spend my evenings pounding away at the opposing team against real players. That’s probably for the best though since it can be quite time consuming. Recently, Sony gave everyone free PS+ for the weekend so I took advantage of that to play a few online games. I did quite well and went 4-1 if I recall correctly. The exact number should be on my stats and records page if I made an error here. I guess my Madden 13 skills have helped me get used to this one rather quickly.

Madden still has the issue that I mention for all of the newer titles and that’s the fact that it’s really hard to go for the deep ball. It’ll only work if your player has a massive lead over the defender because the usual gap isn’t enough. If the receiver got 2 steps on the cornerback, you can still be sure that the cornerback will spin around and pull off an incredible jump to snag the ball away. The problem is that the receivers never fight for the ball so it will get picked off every time. Slant routes are typically a little safer, but again, your receiver better have a nice lead. Otherwise, the defender will make a leaping interception. I’m not sure what the game can do about this, but I’m sure that the code can be tweaked for future installments to make the receiver good once again. Just play Madden 2004 for a moment and you’ll see what I mean.

The good thing is that this does force you to consider the running game once again. In fact, I run in Madden 15 far more than I did for any of the other titles. It’s finally a very viable option here and maybe even a little overpowered. I played as the Cowboys for all of my matches and I could afford to run the same straight run over and over again. No matter how quickly the defenders would hit me, I’d have already grabbed 2-3 yards and typically that number was more like 7-8. Defenses simply could not stop Murray. It didn’t matter if I was playing CPUs or human opponents, my running attack was unstoppable!

This also set up the play action pass and I uncorked it once for a nice, deep slant route. It was a blast to see this actually work since play action plays typically fail miserably in Madden because your offensive line cannot hold out that long. Another play that I love to run is a random Hail Mary towards the start of the game. A lot of times the defense will be completely unprepared to deal with that so you can get an easy completion. Make sure to have your running back run a swing route to the left to cover your options though. If even he is covered, then you’ll have enough room to easily scramble for a nice gain. It’s really the perfect passing play if you ask me.

It should come as no surprise to you that the game’s graphics are top notch. EA spends a lot of cash to ensure that you are getting top of the line visuals during the game. It is definitely impressive to see how life like the field and the players are at this point. It’s not quite ready to pass Super Smash Bros for Wii U in terms of how awesome the game looks, but Madden is easily one of the leaders in the graphics field all the same. I can’t say much about the soundtrack because I’m just too into the game to notice such things at that point. The themes are typically fast, but you’ll barely notice as you start racking up the wins.

Aside from playing games or entering into the Connected Career where you can play dozens of games in multiple seasons, there is also a drills mode. It’s basically a tutorial that walks you through many techniques. It’s actually a lot trickier than the average tutorial mode and I can guarantee that you will learn something. It’s worth playing through each section here to make you a better overall player. Another mode lets you relive great moments in NFL history as you try to make a great comeback or stop other teams from scoring. This mode’s nice and challenging as well.

If you do have PS+, then that opens the door for you to play some online battles against the best of the best. Once you play against real life opponents online, it’s hard to go back. It’s just so fun and exhilarating! There’s also a MUT mode, which is where you can form a team of solid players from the present and the past to become the greatest of all time. You can enter leagues and it’s a blast, but keep in mind that you’ll probably be doomed at first as your quarterback may be Weeden while the opponent has Joe Montana or Troy Aikman. Eventually, you’ll be able to unlock those guys or you can just buy them, but I don’t recommend buying the DLC unless you’re seriously going to be playing the game for a long while.

The actual gameplay has been made to be very realistic and it works well for the game. My one problem is that it can be hard to change directions. I suppose that you can’t go 0-60 when turning in real life, but it’s always sad to watch your player to a little stutter step as they try to turn and then you get nailed. It cost me a safety in the game that I lost, which was most unfortunate. Still, it’s a fairly small complaint and you’ll just have a blast playing the games over and over again because the gameplay is simply that fun.

Madden continues to add more and more commentary as well as the occasional ad slogan to also make the game super realistic. There’s even a ticker showing the NFL game scores in real life that are completely updated. That’s very impressive. I usually skip the intro to the games because I don’t have time, but it is neat that the game will actually focus on the players and start to have a serious discussion as a pre game simulation. I feel like EA puts a lot of effort into these games even with a lot of complaints which would disagree with my statement.

Overall, Madden 2015 is a terrific game and it continues to hold the Madden legacy up in a positive light. It may be similar to older titles, but that will not change and I wouldn’t want it too. I’m very comfortable with Madden and I wouldn’t want there to be any drastic gameplay overhauls or anything of the sort. It just wouldn’t feel right if you ask me. If you haven’t played a Madden game before, don’t worry. It’s tough, but it won’t take an extremely long amount of time to get good. A lot of the game is just about outsmarting your opponent so you always want to think outside the box. I aim to get Madden 16 in about a year or so when it inevitably drops to around 10 dollars, then it’ll be time to snag it!

Overall 9/10

Madden 2005 Review

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I finally got my hands on another one of the Madden games! The series is still one of the best video game franchises of all time and it’s never had a bad installment. That doesn’t change here as this title can holds its own with the best of them. I still prefer 2004/2013, but those are going to be nearly impossible to beat anyway. The important thing is that this game got the fundamentals right and it’s a lot of fun to play.

You have the usual modes here like play now or starting up a season/franchise. Sometimes the games leave out the season mode and I’m not sure if this one has it or not. Either way, Franchise Mode can be played out like a season mode if you wish so there’s not a big loss there. The gameplay is pretty explanatory as the game is following traditional NFL rules. If you know how they play Football on TV, then you’ll get the hang of the controls pretty easily.

Of course, I grew up with Madden so I already know the controls quite well. Once you have learned them for one game, you are essentially set for the rest of the series. If this is your first time playing the title, then it is understandable that it may take a short while to really have the controls down. Some things you simply can’t learn from just reading the booklet and you’ll need to actually play games and get some experience to truly get started.

As a new tradition for my Madden reviews, I first play a normal game on Pro level, but then I see how the game handles the toughest difficulty setup…All Madden mode! Needless to say, the game does cheat to an extent. Different game use different methods to make hard difficulties more challenging. Some like Mario just speed up the timer, others like Final Fantasy will make the enemies more powerful. Madden takes a different approach, it simply makes you a lot weaker. I definitely don’t care for this strategy and I would prefer for the computer to simply become more predictable and maybe blitz more often.

Instead, you’ll just realize that your receivers can’t hang onto the ball..at all! My main receiver dropped over 10 passes and you simply can’t win a game when your receivers aren’t making plays. Running the ball will typically only get you 1-2 yards against an All Madden defense so you need the passing game to be working. I found the perfect play where my receiver would always be open and if he wasn’t, I could simply toss it to my running back in the flat. It was a great plan, but I still need my receiver to make the catch or it’s all moot. Needless to say, it felt like the computer was cheating.

I still did keep it close for the first half. I had only been down 3-0 towards the end of the 2nd Quarter, but ended up leaving the half down by 17-3. Eventually, the score started to get more drastic as I was forced to go for it on 4th down. I can safely say that I was a little salty and a little voice in the back of my controller was probably telling me to “git gud” but I didn’t want to listen to it. No matter how good I got, my receivers wouldn’t be able to keep up and I would have an extremely difficult time beating the computer.

Suffice to say, Madden is one of those games that is at its best when you are able to face off against a human opponent. Pro difficulty is satisfying in its own way as well since the games can be close or you will blow out the computer, but your receivers will never miss the catch. Not often anyway… The stakes are always high when playing someone in the real world and it’s a great way to have a blast. The Wi-Fi element is what really helped Madden 13 become my 2nd favorite Madden title. Hopefully Madden 25 still has online servers going by the time I get to that game. I’m looking forward to facing some strong opponents there!

The soundtrack of Madden has always been really fun if you just listened to the rhythym. The fast music helps you get excited for the match and the jingle that plays before every game is really catchy. It’s essentially stuck around for all of the Madden games even if the theme gets slightly remixed nowadays. It’s a good theme and the games really feel epic as a result. That being said, I could certainly do without the lyrics as they just bring the songs down and don’t allow you to listen to the beats in peace. Naturally, the graphics are pretty great. Madden’s always been exceptional in this area and I don’t see them faltering anytime soon. EA really knows what they’re doing in this area. Madden may get a lot of complaints over the years, but at least they never concern the graphics.

Madden has more replay value than almost any other video game. It loses out to Super Smash of course, but that’s another story. There is no Wi-Fi here, which hurts, but you can still have a nice franchise mode started where you can fight the CPU for many seasons. It’s also easy to just jump in play when a friend comes over. Madden has virtually infinite replay value and it’s one of the reasons why people continue to buy it year after year. It is a winning formula that has continued to work for over a decade.

By and large, I can also see why Madden became such a popular series from the start. Even if we ignore the fantastic gameplay, it is simply a well designed game. The cover is very clear and engaging. It is a title that would have stood out over at Gamestop. The menus are all very easy to navigate through and it’s very new gamer friendly. I’m sure that many people were introduced to the world of video games through Madden and that’s a good thing. I’d love to be introduced to Gaming through a 9 star game. I forgot what my first game was, but it was probably X-Men for Super Nintendo, Home Alone for Game Boy, or Pac Man since I was probably at the arcades a lot. Either way, that’s not a bad way to start off either!

Overall, Madden 2005 is a great game and I got it for a bargain at 1 cent! (4 dollars shipping) Now, I am just missing Madden 2008 and then my collection (Up through 2013) will be complete! That’s definitely going to be a nice accomplishment and while I essentially get all sport titles, Madden is the best by leaps and bounds. It’s a series that I like to be almost current with since the games are so exciting and fun. This was before the recent upgrade for the defense so it’s still safe to throw deep bombs sometimes. You probably shouldn’t risk it on All Madden, but you can’t risk all that much when you’re playing at that level. I highly recommend buying this game and Madden 2005 is a good way to learn about the NFL. The important thing to remember is that the Dallas Cowboys is the team to root for. Go Dallas!!

Overall 9/10

Madden 2003 Review

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I managed to find a store that was still selling Gamecube games so you can bet that I dashed to pick up this title! I currently own Madden 2002, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013. Now that I have this title, I’m just missing 2005 and 2008. After that I can finally say that I own all of the titles in the series. (Up to 2013 of course, I’ll get Madden 25 and Madden 15 once the price dips a little) This title is nostalgia gold and it may even bring tears to your eyes. I can certainly say that it’s one of the best Madden titles!

Right when you turn the game on, you’re greeted by the great color scheme that was present in Madden 2002. It’s all so retro and impossible to put into words. I grew up with Madden 2002 and played it a lot until I got Madden 2004. (The ultimate Madden) It’s just awesome to see the old menu’s and colors again. It’s easy to pick up and play as you grab your favorite team and you get to face off against any other team. You can play in a season or join the minicamps to have fun with drills. I decided to see how I’d stack up right off the bat in Play Now.

I beat the CPU on Pro, but I lost on All Madden and All Pro. I’m confident that I can win on those levels though and it shouldn’t take many tries. It’s a good feeling since other games practically cheat to make the A.I. better. Madden is guilty of this to an extent as your receivers tend to drop more passes, but it still feels pretty fair. I made some hasty decisions on some throws and the game really got out of hand once I was down by 10. Win or lose, it makes for a fun challenge.

This was the first title to bring in the Mini Camp mode and I loved that feature in 2004. It’s pretty similar here and it’s a fun way to get better in the various aspects of the game. I didn’t really get a chance to do more than check out the feature since I have a lot of games to go through, but I highly recommend giving this mode a spin. It’s pretty cool and it’s probably the best Madden feature that is no longer around.

The graphics are pretty good. It’ll definitely seem pretty different from a title like Madden 13, but that could be in a good way depending on how you look at it. The graphics help for the nostalgia and it’s a top contender amongst the Gamecube titles. (That’s saying a lot) Once you play NFL 2K3, you really appreciate these graphics as well. The soundtrack is pretty fun while you’re getting ready to play if you don’t listen to the lyrics. Once you notice them, they can be a little off putting, but it’s easily remedied through the settings. Also, it won’t really affect you during game time, which is the important part!

The gameplay is a little faster than 2012, but it’s slower than 2004. I’d say that Madden 2004 was probably the fastest Madden that ever came out and even the modern ones aren’t quite as quick. (Especially with the commercials and extra loading times) I’m fine with the speed here since it can also portray the real deal a little more accurately. For the record, the faster the better is my motto, but I can find a lot of positives with both aspects. You’ll be happy to know that quarterback scrambles are still very effective here as I had a tendency to gain more yards on the ground with Quincy Carter than I did with Emmett Smith. I was able to pull off traditional runs no problem, but it is more effective to run with your QB when he’s about as fast as your running back and the defense is not expecting such a play.

EA has gotten a pretty bad reputation in the video game industry and that’s too bad. I still prefer their Sport titles to the competitors despite the fact that many prefer the NFL 2K games. I finally got one of them and I’ll be reviewing it shortly, but I easily prefer Madden. Keep in mind that I grew up with Madden and have been playing it since I was a child, but it’s just more fun for me. NFL 2K can be a little too slow at times and while that’s not necessarily a bad thing, it makes it very difficult to run the ball of pick up big yards on a play. Of course, I’ll get into that in the NFL 2K3 review.

So, where would I rank Madden 2003 among the titles? It’s very difficult since I didn’t play some of the Madden games as much as the others and they can sometimes start to blur in with each other. Roughly, I would say that the rankings go: Madden 2004>Madden 2013>Madden 2006>Madden 2002>Madden 2012>Madden 2003>Madden 2007>Madden 2011>Madden 2010>Madden 2009. Again, note that I barely played Madden 2006-07, I don’t own Madden 2005 or 2008, and that my recollection of Madden 2009 is pretty vague. I’m mostly familiar with Madden 2010 through 2013 and Madden 2002 through 2004. Maybe I’ll pick up some of the others again to review them at some point, but I’ll wait until I’ve gotten through most of my backlog in terms of reviews.

Another aspect of Madden that many fans don’t care for is the commentary. Supposedly it gets very repetitive and annoying. I definitely don’t agree with this either. I think they do a great job calling the game and it makes the experience that much more authentic. By now, you’ve seen that I really like just about every part of the game. Madden is great and I dare say that it is now officially my favorite video game series of all time. Madden 2004 has taken the title of the ultimate game from DBZ Tenkaichi 3 (Which got leap frogged since Brawl also passed it for second) and I don’t think it will be relinquishing that title anytime soon. I have high hopes for Madden 25 and Madden 15, but it would be just about impossible for them to win.

Overall, Madden 2003 is easily one of the best titles in the series. It’s easy to pick up and play and you should be totally ready to take on any level of difficulty so long as you understand the rules. It can be a little annoying to see your kicker randomly kick the ball out of bounds during kickoffs, but you are in complete control for the other situations. The gameplay speed is solid and there are no real negatives in this title. You’re guaranteed to just have a blast when turning the game on and that’s not a feat that just any title accomplish.

Overall 9/10