Madden 2005 is another improvement on the highly successful franchise from EA Sports. First impressions of the game reveal a reworked interface, more varied animations and improved gameplay.
While the better looking presentation is always nice in a game it's the gameplay that keep Madden fans coming back. Madden 2005 is no exception with some significant improvements on the field. The kick return structure is a standout adding realism to a prior weakness while the offensive animations and AI are more realistic and balanced. Other improvements include a news module to track league news, upgraded franchise and online modes and the “revolutionary” hit stick mode on defence.
Hit Stick (second analog stick) allows defensive players to try to pull off big hits on the ball carrier. So far in the few games I have played I've forced one fumble and had a tonne of embarrasing misses. Most enbarrasing is that when you use the hit stick it replays the play focusing showing how much you missed by! IT looks like a nice addition and is well supplemented by complete control of the AI of each defender prior to the snap using the second analog stick. Overall the game is a solid continuation of the Madden yearly progression. The real strengths are the gameplay and depth of franchise mode but there is still some way to go to catch up to NFL 2K5 in terms of graphics and sound. Worth the cash for any fan of the series or newcomer to the electronic field.
Make sure you download a roster update (eg Madden Planet) as the rosters are well out of date. The first patch has also been released and can be accessed using the update function in the load screen.