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Likely the most successful and recognizable sports video game franchise of its time, Madden NFL returns to consoles and computer screens for its 14th season of professional football action. As usual, the teams, rosters, logos, and stadiums have been updated based on information from the most recent (2002-2003) NFL season. Monday Night Football's Al Michaels rejoins John Madden to call the action and supply commentary, while a virtual Melissa Stark sends updates from the sidelines. There's even acknowledgment of Madden's "horse trailer" player of the game, for the first time in this edition. Other new presentational features include split-screen replays, smoother transitions between plays, new "specialty" animations for actions such as stumbles and open-field blocks, and player models of a variety and detail unprecedented in the series.
Among the most prominent new features in this "2004" edition of Madden NFL is the "Playmaker Control" system, designed to offer gamers greater control of the men on the field, both before and during a play. Gamers can change called plays or coverage at the last moment, and adjust blocking assignments and receiver routes after the ball is snapped. Other additions include an extended franchise mode, which uses a number of mini-camp drills to boost player performance during the off season, and an all-new Deep Owner mode, which saddles gamers with all the authority and responsibilities of a team owner, as well as those of general manager and coach. Deep Owner players can set prices for food, merchandise, and parking, or even build a whole new stadium and relocate the team.
The PC version offers a few features its teammates on the consoles can't match. The game can be played across the Internet against human opponents, through a system that features online leagues and tournaments, quick match games, buddy lists, career stats, clubs, and message boards. Computer players can also use a built-in Play Editor, which allows them to design new plays, or even create entirely new playbooks for use in the game. ~ T.J. Deci, All Game Guide