THE GREAT DEBATE: Madden vs. NCAA 2004 (Tye Smith)

By By Tye Smith and By Tye Smith

By Tye Smith

“Madden 2004” is the obvious choice for football videogame connoisseurs.

It goes without saying that EA Sports makes the best sports videogames, but when it comes to football, EA offers two options: a college football version (“NCAA Football 2004”) and a pro football version (“Madden 2004”).

For the less talented, more immature audience, EA has created its line of “NCAA Football” games, which are updated yearly. Unfortunately, for fans of college football, the 2004 installment of “NCAA Football” is a far cry from the technological wonder of “Madden 2004,” which uses almost every aspect of modern technology that can be applied to sport simulation videogames.

Beginning with online play supported by audio hook-ups that enable smack-talking to online opponents, “Madden” is light years ahead of “NCAA.” Smooth, realistic game play is another advantage of the high-tech approach taken by EA. While the same technology is used for “NCAA,” “Madden” characters have a more lifelike feel when making moves like the spin or the straight arm. The same is true for defensive plays, where interceptions and sacks also have a more realistic feel.

“EA Sports” has given its “Madden 2004” edition several new gameplay features that make it a better pick for gamers. Its revolutionary training-camp drills, which allow players to hone their skills for the season, is way ahead of the gaming curve.

“Madden 2004’s” cutting-edge Playmaker Control is sure to make waves in gaming circles, and you won’t find it in the college version. Playmaker Control gives the playcaller the option of changing the direction of the play from the line of scrimmage without changing the formation. This is huge for one-on-one battles when the defense smells out the play at the line of scrimmage-it gives the offense the chance to redirect the play without making it obvious to the opposing team.

Playmaker Control also gives the quarterback the opportunity to change a receiver’s route while the play is developing. This feature is also useful in head-to-head matchups because every play can become something entirely different once it begins.

There are other reasons to choose “Madden” over “NCAA.” In EA’s college version, the emphasis is on the team, rather than the individual player. It is against NCAA rules to use player names or corresponding numbers that could associate actual college players with the players in the videogame. This means that if you want to be Texas so that you can control Roy Williams from the wide receiver position, you won’t get to do it. The closest you can come is to be one of the wide receivers from Texas, who all have a different number from the one Williams has, and are not as good.

For many, it makes the fun of being a specific team much less enjoyable because the characters are made up by the people at EA, not the real-life people playing college football. The bottom line is that without player names, the game is no fun.

There is also the problem of college football parity. If you want to be Miami or Oklahoma, “NCAA” might be for you, but if you have an interest in completing a successful season with a school like the U, you are out of luck.

Basically, “Madden 2004” is the best option available-hands down. By offering the most advanced features of any video football simulations on the market, “Madden 2004” has established a new industry standard that is unlikely to be matched for years.

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