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Author Topic: Madden/ESPN NFL  (Read 2853 times)
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stevemd
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« on: July 05, 2004, 03:29:49 PM »

Two years ago I bought a gamecube.  I played Madden, of course, and enjoyed it.  Last year I played Madden on gamecube then my brother talked me into buying a X-Box to play online ESPN (I tried the ESPN for gamecube- 2003?- and didn't like it AT ALL... I thought it was horrible and took it back pronto).  So, I buy ESPN for X-Box and play my little brother on-line and let him beat me.  I feel that last years ESPN was not, graphically, equal to Madden.  I think the play selection looks crappy and the menu system is not very intuitive (to this madden player).  It really came off as a game trying so hard to be Madden.  I play the Dolphins and Ricky Williams would bust out 2, or 3, 70 yard runs a game.  That was upsetting, because, while I didn't like the presentation of the game, I thought the gameplay felt smoother than Madden's.  Now I'm torn.  I am planning on buying NCAA so I will get used to the Madden style controls... I like what Madden is including with the defensive enhancements and I'm starting to think that ESPN is trying to be too gimmicky (the QB evade, AI controlling user input for angles to the runner).  

I don't understand why some people are so filled with anger and disgust at Madden.  Is it because they have been at the top for so long, and you want to pull for the underdog?  Is it because Madden releases a new game every year? (so is ESPN).  Is it because John Madden is getting old and goofy?  I really don't see where all the anger is coming from.  I've played both, and I think I'm a pretty level headed guy, but these are games and after playing a season or two (in either madden or espn) you will learn exploits and take advantage of the AI.  What I want to know, is with LIVE for both games, which game will be less prone to exploits?  Will I be running Ricky Williams up the middle, or around the corner and racking up 300 yards and 4 TD's a game (espn) or will the running game be nearly inconsequential (Madden)?  I think it will be a difficult decision for gamers, like myself, with no real emotion going either way... I will have to give it a week or two and find out if there is any consensus beyond the rabid fanbois drooling over a new game and foaming at the mouth in hatred (jealousy?) for the opposing product.
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naednek
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« Reply #1 on: July 05, 2004, 09:05:05 PM »

I think why people enjoyed ESPN moreso than Madden because ESPN brought something new, that Madden hasn't done.  

ESPN did an excellent job with the presentation, it was like watching a game on ESPN.  But that's not the sole reason why people like ESPN.  Online is one key feature that up until now, Madden didn't have.

Espn felt played and looked better than Madden.   Everything looked incredible realistic, while Madden wasn't as pretty.  

Gameplay, ESPN had some bugs, tackling issues and AI were two components that really brought down the game.  Apparently it's fixed this year.  

I do agree that Madden had a better play book, and it looks like they will again this year.

Madden has become stale over the years, and when they added the owners mode last year, it really didn't make it any better.  Who wants to sell hot dogs.  I prefer ESPN's franchise mode, where what you do effects your game.  

Madden looks incredibly good this year, especially with it's revamped defense, but ESPN was the king of football last year, and with the $20 price tag, it  looks like it will be just as good if not better than last years.
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stevemd
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« Reply #2 on: July 05, 2004, 09:20:13 PM »

Quote from: "naednek"
I think why people enjoyed ESPN moreso than Madden because ESPN brought something new, that Madden hasn't done.  

ESPN did an excellent job with the presentation, it was like watching a game on ESPN.  But that's not the sole reason why people like ESPN.  Online is one key feature that up until now, Madden didn't have.

Espn felt played and looked better than Madden.   Everything looked incredible realistic, while Madden wasn't as pretty.  

Gameplay, ESPN had some bugs, tackling issues and AI were two components that really brought down the game.  Apparently it's fixed this year.  

I do agree that Madden had a better play book, and it looks like they will again this year.

Madden has become stale over the years, and when they added the owners mode last year, it really didn't make it any better.  Who wants to sell hot dogs.  I prefer ESPN's franchise mode, where what you do effects your game.  

Madden looks incredibly good this year, especially with it's revamped defense, but ESPN was the king of football last year, and with the $20 price tag, it  looks like it will be just as good if not better than last years.


I'm trying to remember what was "new" about ESPN vs. Madden and I can't think of it.  Also, I didn't think the graphics for ESPN were that much better than Madden- especially after hearing how much better it looked, then playing it and being underwhelmed.  So I add that in with the dissapointing D vs Run and I'm at a loss for this year.  Madden has it's problems but why doesn't anyone give Madden the benifit of a year spent fixing the problem?  Madden has overhauled (it seems) the defensive play and ESPN has added the AWEFUL suzy kober post game interviews?  And we get to see the ESPN sunday night atmosphere?  What does that have to do with gameplay?  Do they have the fugly cheerleaders again?  Those chicks were frighteningly grotesque.  I don't know how one goes about crowning ESPN or Madden king of football, I do believe some have a hatred for Madden that is usually saved for brussle sprouts or fruit cake.

The video's I have seen for both Madden and ESPN are all great, when it comes to gameplay.  I don't care about Madden's franchise mode, and the ESPN weekly coaching modes at least affect gameplay.  I don't care at all for the suzy kolber interviews- I find them as laughable as the scarecrow cheerleaders, but the Berman halftime and game wrap-ups are intriguing and may be worth watching if the info given actually pertains to the game you played.  The price point definitely has Madden beat so I believe this year I will go with ESPN and NCAA.
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Eco-Logic
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« Reply #3 on: July 06, 2004, 02:32:14 AM »

In my opinion, ESPN and NFL2K's before it exceed Madden in both gameplay and presentation by large margins.

Sounds like you have made a good decision for this year smile
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naednek
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« Reply #4 on: July 06, 2004, 02:59:20 AM »

You can always skip past the cutscenes if you don't enjoy them .  I don't really care for Suzy either, but I welcome the presentation style that most games can't even touch
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Graham
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« Reply #5 on: July 06, 2004, 03:24:34 AM »

Hmmmm....I remember the year's of the completely brain dead AI of the defense of Madden.  Cornerbacks were completely useless.  Constant dropping during online games (of the PC version).  The uninspired mumblings of Madden during the game.  Choppy annimations during ball catches.  ESPN brought the first-person mode last year.  While I wouldn't want to play every game that way, it definitely gave you the feeling of being under the helmet and gave you a new respect for the players who actually play the game.

Here's one thing that sets apart this year's Madden from this year's ESPN.

ESPN built on the ground up for the Xbox, ported to the PS2.

Madden built on the ground up for the PS2, ported to the Xbox.

ESPN this year simply looks amazing.  While Madden isn't bad, most of the complaints that people have usually come from Madden fanboys that haven't given the 2K series a fair shot.
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denoginizer
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« Reply #6 on: July 06, 2004, 04:37:11 AM »

I have played Madden (PS2), and ESPN  (XBOX), 2004 both very much  since release.   I really do not play the single player portions anymore.  But I play each online often.  I am pretty burned out on Madden, but I still love ESPN.  I will buy ESPN 2K5 on the day of release.  I am on the fence about Madden at the moment.  In my opinion the advantages of ESPN are as follows:

- On defense, you can make a difference in ESPN.  You can actually play safety and make plays.  In fact most of the really good players use the safety on defense to control one side of the field.  In Madden you really cannot play anything but DLine or Lb and be effective.  The control is not as precise and the game seems to play too fast to effectively read and react on defense.  Granted the running game in ESPN is very overpowered, but in Madden you really cannot run outside effectively at all.  Most running in Madden consists on plowing into the line and hoping to come out of the other side.  In ESPN you can follow pulling lineman, run actual counters, and screen plays actually work.

-  In Madden I have witnessed more rediculous interceptions by linebackers playing zone coverage than I can count.  The passing game in Madden has gotten to the point where everyone throws deep go routes against zone coverage and then jet packs to the ball.  Against man coverage people use motion, and outs constantly.  The problem with madden is that the coverage can be read easily at the line before the snap and then adjusted to.  In ESPN coverages are disguised better and there are not as many automatic routes.  EA has pledged to address many of these issues this year, but we'll see.


- My biggest problem with Madden is the playbooks.  In each book there are only about 8-10 offensive plays that actually work well.  The rest are garbage.  Sweeps, Screens, and many of the pass plays are a waste of time.  Therefore most people run the same plays over and over.  And since there are only 5 defensive playbooks (and 2 of them are bad), everyone runs the same defenses as well.  In ESPN there is a much better variety of plays, and most of the plays in each book are actually usefull depending on what your' opponent is doing.  Again EA has promised to address this, but we'll see.
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AgtFox
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« Reply #7 on: July 06, 2004, 04:38:50 AM »

As an equal opportunity football player (I will get NCAA, Madden and ESPN this year as I did last year and years before that) I have a hard time saying that Madden is equal to ESPN in the graphics department though.  If you're talking about such things as uniform dirt graphics or relatively smoother animation, then yes I agree Madden is the better one (ESPN's dirt on the uniforms were a joke last year).  However when looking at the player, look of the uniform, movements, etc. ESPN is just the better graphical game.

I totally agree that the playcalling in Madden is its real claim to fame and I am not sure why Visual Concepts hasn't tried to duplicate the playcalling style of Madden.  It is much easier for the majority of gamers (the game players who only play the Maddens, Tony Hawks, etc.) to pick a play in Madden than in ESPN (in my opinion).  ESPN is arguably more geared toward those that have a deeper understanding of football terms, formations, etc. than Madden is.

I think the $20 price can be both a blessing and a hindrance.  Those that don't frequent websites that talk about sports games are most likely going to think ESPN is at $20 because it just isn't as good as Madden and should be treated as a bargain basement release.  Take 2 and Sega/Visual Concepts MUST get advertising out there on the game or I don't think they're going to see the sales increase they are looking for.  This is just my opinion though.

I'm going to buy them all.  NCAA will most likely get the majority of my game playing as it has since the series first started.  Madden will most likely be the second most played and ESPN will most likely be the third.  I will most likely suck at the tournament here because of my playing more NCAA and Madden though...heh.  I think ESPN has a lot of promise this year, but Visual Concepts has a track record of promising the world and when you actually see the "new" thing in play it isn't all they had pumped up.  Madden often delivers on what they bring to the table, although they certainly tell the mainstream players very little about the game (less promises means less things they need to be accountable for).  People that buy Madden know what they're getting and know that all their friends will probably have Madden and not ESPN.  With the added benefit of Live play in addition to the PS2 online, I think there will be a lot more Madden players online than ESPN unfortunately.

As for the porting issue, that really doesn't matter to the majority of the sports game buying public.  There were a LOT of people that bought Madden on PS2 last year (I bought it on Xbox), there will be a LOT of people buying it on both PS2 and Xbox this year.  Once again, the majority of sports gaming buyers do not go onto the hardcore sports forums or websites to look up about a game.  They'll buy Madden, they don't care if it's ported from the PS2 or if ESPN was built from the ground up on Xbox.  The port issue really falls on deaf ears for me.  I buy EA games, I buy them on my Xbox...I don't really care if they're ported from the PS2 because the graphics and sound are sharper and better on the Xbox port usually and EA has high production values and great gameplay.  I know there's a bunch of EA hatred around the net, but they're there and they make good/great games whether ported from another system or not (once again, my opinion).

ESPN will be great this year as it was last year and I hope they've made strides in areas I thought they were weak (franchise was the big one).  It looks much more geared toward a TV-style presentation than even last year and I can't wait to play it.

BTW...Madden has a QB evade this year as well.
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Eco-Logic
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« Reply #8 on: July 06, 2004, 12:14:52 PM »

denoginizer:  I agree on all of your points.  The ability to actually play defense as a safety is what I've always loved about 2K.  

Anyway, I should work now.
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« Reply #9 on: July 12, 2004, 01:55:26 AM »

ESPN gets the majority of my time, but I buy both games each year. The whole storyline central thing in Madden sounds kind of cool, but the same old crap presentation of the game leaves me cold each year with Madden.

ESPN looks like it will be the winner (not in sales frown, but in all other ways) again this year.
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denoginizer
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« Reply #10 on: July 12, 2004, 02:26:21 AM »

I will still buy both this year as well (in addition to NCAA).  I just can't resist a football game.  I am afraid to say that I bought, and still play Fever 2004 in addition to the big 2.  I expect ESPN to get most of my playtime though.
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jimmyorr99
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« Reply #11 on: July 13, 2004, 05:48:30 PM »

i personally prefer madden, but i have played both. i was wondering, why do you guys prefer espn?
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naednek
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« Reply #12 on: July 14, 2004, 01:26:29 AM »

because it was the better NFL game last year smile
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denoginizer
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« Reply #13 on: July 15, 2004, 05:14:17 PM »

You mean other than the reasons I mentioned above?   :lol:

If you need other examples I can provide them.
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« Reply #14 on: July 15, 2004, 07:36:22 PM »

Quote from: "jimmyorr99"
i personally prefer madden, but i have played both. i was wondering, why do you guys prefer espn?


ESPN is far better looking and has more interesting offensive plays.  In addition, ESPN has very clearly spent time innovating the genre rather than simply progressing in it.

That being said, prior iterations of ESPN had glaring flaws in the AI (inability to stop a slant pattern, inability for the AI to kick a field goal in certain situations, piss poor clock management, etc...) and some problems with the engine (run game working too well, completely offensive minded, etc..).  2k3 and 2k4 were some of the worst made strategic football games of all time (IMHO).  Oddly enough, the Sega Dreamcast games were at equal par with their competitors at the time.

I've owned the following football games for the "current" generation (Dreamcast and onward)
NFL2K - Dreamcast
NFL2K1 - Dreamcast
NFL2K2 - PS2
NCAA Football 2002 - PS2
NFL2K3 - XBox - (Sold/Traded when I sold the XBox)
NCAA Football 2003 - PS2 & XBox (Xbox Version Sold/Traded when I sold the XBox)
Madden 2003 - PC
ESPN 2004 - PS2 (Traded back into EBgames for $35 credit towards SSX 3 a few weeks after release)
NCAA Football 2004 - PS2
Madden 2004 - PC
NCAA Football 2005 - XBox
ESPN 2005 - XBox (preordered)
Madden 2005 - PC (preordered)

I fully believe that the absolute best overall game from the above list was NCAA Football 2004, followed closely by Madden 2004.  ESPN 2004 was extremely frustrating for me, due to the AI, or lack thereof.

All that being said, I will still buy ESPN this year with the hope that it does finally surpass Madden as the primary pro game I play.  It easily looks better, has done the proper innovative steps, and has priced itself at a very attractive pricepoint.  However, until I see that the AI can coach its way out of a paper bag, I still have to give the NFL crown to the Madden series.  It's simply a better *complete* game of football.

gellar
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denoginizer
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« Reply #15 on: July 15, 2004, 11:15:46 PM »

I personally don't think Madden or ESPN have good game management AI.  I guess Madden is a litte better at clock management, but I have witnessed some pretty dumb things in Madden too.  The player AI in ESPN is vastly superior to Madden though IMHO.
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gellar
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« Reply #16 on: July 16, 2004, 04:02:59 AM »

Quote from: "denoginizer"
I personally don't think Madden or ESPN have good game management AI.  I guess Madden is a litte better at clock management, but I have witnessed some pretty dumb things in Madden too.  The player AI in ESPN is vastly superior to Madden though IMHO.


I'd agree with all of that... both are pretty dumb when it comes to coaching AI.  I just think Madden is drastically less dumb (ESPN is borderline unplayable for me... the AI just doesn't try to win).

Of course, the second part of your statement is also true... I believe ESPN does have the better player AI, especially with defensive backs.  Tweaking Madden through sliders gets similar results though.

All in all... I'd really like a great pro game this year.  I'm tired of the NCAA series hogging all my playing time smile

gellar
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