2004, the greatest and the last great year in video game football. Are you one of the very few that does not agree that it was at least the last great year in video game football? One thing is for sure, it was the last year that EA Madden had any form of real competition. Sure there were a couple of attempts like 2K8 and “Back Breaker”, unfortunately there was really nothing there. Neither of the two games had the NFL license, which is something that has proven itself to be a necessity in today’s climate. And that was not the only thing that killed “Back Breaker”.
2K8 on the other hand was not so far off the mark, some small improvements along with having the NFL license may have been enough. Especially when you take into consideration what EA put out that year and the year before. Madden 07 on the 360 and PS3 was pretty darn awful and bare bones, Madden 08 was an improvement but did not deserve bragging rights, not even close, as a matter of fact if I were to grade Madden 08 I would probably give it at best 7 out of 10.
Lets go back three years before that time to the year 2004, a time where you had two football games that had legitimate bragging rights. The year that produced the argument that still lives today, “Madden vs 2K5”. I personally do not prefer one over the other, I owned them both and played them both for months on end. If I were to grade them taking into consideration the time period they were from, I would give them both a 9.5 out of 10, during that time period similar ratings were given to both games.
I will never forget being awed by 2K5’s presentation (watch video below to see what I am talking about). Before this point there had never been anything close to a presentation like this. 2K made the most out of having the rights to ESPN and did everything that could be done with the technology available at the time. I am not sure if any sports game has truly lived up to the quality presentation that 2K5 had.
The presentation was not the only thing 2K5 had going for it. Watching the defense cover and play the ball spoke for itself. The game respected physics very well, especially for a game of that time period. I would recommend the next time you play the 2K5, do some instant replays in slow motion and check out what I am talking about.
Madden 05 was no slouch, it was every bit as good as 2K5 and was probably the best Madden ever, if not that award would have to go to Madden 04. Once again we must take into consideration the time period these games are from and how great they were for their time.
Madden 05 game came in a box that had “beware of the defense” on it and the game play sure lived up to such a warning. I was shocked when I saw the defense swarming to the ball for the first time. I was forced to take my user catch skills to the next level due to the way the defense could contest the ball, especially on All Madden. This was the last football game that really did something to improve the defense. Since that time EA may have made claims that their upcoming football game may be more defensive orientated but nothing ever seems to live up.
NFL 2K5 would be released at $19.95 forcing EA to drop the price of Madden 2005, the result would be fans having access to two excellent football games each going for a low price. Since that time when have we been so fortunate?
2004 was almost like the grand finale for video game football, leading up to that point you saw improvement in every Madden game year after year especially with the release of Madden 2004 , the same went for the 2K series. The next year would come and the 2K series would scare the daylights out of EA with 2K5. If you do not agree with me that EA was scared, one thing is for sure, they were no longer looking into the mirror viewing their competition in the distance. No , instead they found themselves looking out their window to see their competition was neck and neck with them, possibly taking a lead that could be difficult to over come. NFL 2K5 was by far the toughest competition that EA Madden ever had to face.
This would not be the first time EA would survive tough competition. In the previous generation they battled it out with NFL Gameday (which for some reason just could not make the jump to the PS2 era) and the generation before that EA had to face Joe Montana Football which initially gave EA a fight but unfortunately the Joe Montana series would eventually fade. How would EA do it this time? Well they would just buy the exclusive rights to the NFL license. I still find myself wondering how things would have turned out if this would not have happened and both franchises would have been able to continue to use the NFL license. We can only guess.
Remember this was 13 years ago!!!