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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. The right analog stick can be used to change called plays or coverage at the last moment, as well as to 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. ~ T.J. Deci, All Game Guide