ESPN NFL 2K5 (Original Xbox) by Sega

ESPN NFL 2K5 (Xbox) by Sega Box Art

Xbox 360 backwards Compatible

North Amercian Release Date: July 20, 2004.

Region(s) Released: North America, Europe

High Definition Resolutions Supported: 480p
Average Overall Score:
9.28 / 10

If this follow-up to last year?s ESPN NFL had one objective it would be to live up to the great game that was delivered to us last year, ESPN NFL Football 2k4. While many people might ask ?"

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ESPN NFL 2K5 will introduce several original features in Franchise Mode, the completely new Maximum Tackle system, and further builds upon the exciting ESPN presentation elements that include incorporation of ESPN personalities Suzy Kolber, Trey Wingo, and Mel Kiper, as well as an expanded role for Chris Berman.


Sunday, July 11, 2004
Thursday, June 17, 2004

User Reviews

Score: 93
Overall User Average: 9.23 / 10 (92.8%)
Gameplay User Average: 9.32 / 10
Graphics User Average: 9.14 / 10
Sound User Average: 9.09 / 10
Date reviewed: October 21, 2005.

Overall: i rarely buy football games, this is probably the second one i have ever bought in my whole life. main reason i bought it was to play online. Glad to say i was not disappointed. the graphics are great, gameplay is superb both offline and online, and graphically it looks great.

this game is loaded with features you didnt even know you needed or wanted in a football game but after experiancing it you wonder how you ever lived without it. These features included customizing your own crib with unlockables from playing the game. They also give you full coaching power in how you want to train your players to give them weekly boost. defensive options are plentiful in how you want to position people to stop repetitive plays. and one of my favorite features involved playing in first-person view. It allowed you to play the game through the helmet of your player giving it a past and aggressive pace.
Gameplay: i was never a football fan but after playing this i became one. the slower pace as compared to madden allowed me to enjoy it more. the control you have with passes gives you an edge over newbies who only throw the ball randomly. same goes for defensive maneuvering and defensive match-ups. i also like how running plays arent so weak that you cant depend on your blockers to open up paths for you.

it has your expected franchise mode and it also has some kind of legend/history mode where you can relive historical moments in the NFL.

first-person mode is fun but i found it difficult to play becuase i could only do running plays with it. defensively i was lost becuase i never knew where the ball was.

customizing your crib is also fun becuase you get to decorate it however you want. HDTV's, sourround sound, posters, furniture, wall colors, rugs, collecting bobbleheads, etc...Gives you incentive to keep playing the game.
maybe the most enjoyable feature was the off-season when you had to scramble to keep your star players or realease them and find new talent. i probably spent a ton of hours researching draft prospects to find some that fit in on my team.

Graphics: the main reason why i picked this over madden was because i liked how the pace of the game was a little slower and the characters bigger and more detailed. the fans have been the best i had seen in any sports game but eventually had a repetitive feel to them.
Sound: The customizable stadium music was a great feature and one i took full advantage off. not only that, you got to unlock a ton of cool songs within the game aswell.
Suggestions: fight the powers that be and create your own football game with or without the nfl. let those creative juices start flowing!

Overall: 100 %
Gameplay: 100 %
Graphics: 80 %
Sound: 90 %

Date reviewed: July 28, 2005.

Overall: For a mere $20, ESPN NFL 2K5 is a must buy for any football fan. The game is easy to pick up and play, and has plenty of modes for any Xbox player. This is the last ESPN NFL 2K game we'll see from Visual Concepts, but I think it is by far the best football game on the market.
Gameplay: Like i mentioned before, I love ESPN NFL 2K5 because it is so easy to pick up and play. While Madden has more complicated meters, 2K5 is a much easier game for players to kickoff and complete plays. 2K5 has the usual modes--Exibition, Season, Franchise, and Xbox Live.
Graphics: Visually, ESPN NFL 2K5 is very impressive. The players all look very realistic, with wrinkles in their clothing and realistic looking shadows. The in-game menus for things like kicking and choosing plays are also all easy to use and effective.
Sound: The sound in the game is good too. From players tackling each other to the roars and cheers of the crowds, it all sounds great and completes the game as a overall total package for any NFL fan.
Suggestions: Since you can't use the NFL, NCAA Football, or AFL liscenses, why not just make up your own fantasy league with unique players, teams, and stadiums :)

Overall: 90 %
Gameplay: 90 %
Graphics: 90 %
Sound: 90 %

Date reviewed: June 6, 2005.

Overall: Very well made game and a steal at 20 bucks! Everything about this game is remarkable and it is the best NFL game to date. Madden can suck on its nuts. The game is just made really well and with the ESPN presentation, it almost makes me feel like I'm at the stadium. The incorporation of the whole crib thing is just straight chillin. Being able to face celebs and their dream teams is just a treat and all you need to do is customize your crib with your favorite team's merchandise and BAM! you have yourself a pimpin pad! The crib, franchise mode, and the mode where you try to re-enact the historical moments are just all so fun and entertaining. It is great in franchise mode cause it has you plan out everything for the week before the big game on sunday. It is just insane on how in-depth it goes. All the way to rehab of your players!
Gameplay: Awesome gameplay. In-game play is really fun and easy to learn. I actually look forward to playing on defense because it is always so challenging to stop the run/pass and trying to cover your ins and outs. Audibles were extremely handy for me in the game and it just feels great when you call the perfect play and you are able to make the pick or stuff the back for a loss.
Graphics: Probably the best thing about this 20 dollar game is the graphics. All the animation of tackles, the stadiums, and the players are beyond accurate. All of that with it presented in ESPN format just made the whole gaming experience incredible. One time I actually had a game going on spectator mode to predict a Monday Night game and it looked so real, my friends came over and they actually thought the game was on. It took them a while to figure it out and I had to prove it to them by pausing the game.

The pregame shows and half-time repors plus the Sports Center was always a treat to watch and it added just the right touch to make the gaming experience that much more enjoyable.
Sound: The sounds make the game seem even more real. The stadium sounds are just lovely and it seems like you are actually there, especially if you have surround sound! The commentating was really good too and it did get a tad repetitive at times but still great.
Suggestions: WHY DID YOU MERGE WITH EA? WHY!?... sell outs!

Overall: 100 %
Gameplay: 100 %
Graphics: 100 %
Sound: 100 %

Lone Wolf 4
Date reviewed: November 22, 2004.

Overall: First Off I am a Madden Fan, I purchased this game in hopes that it could rival the king, it didn't, and in doing so, fell flat on it's face
Gameplay: Odd interface, mildly amusing at times to chuck a 20 yard pass multiple times in a row using the same play.
Graphics: It shines, faces are recreated with care, and I could almost feel the snow as it fell on the field, no helmet lighting like MAdden but good
Sound: Announcers aggrivate me, "Get the ball, it's loose" just make me want to blow my head off, especially when on Live and the Pat Sayjack wanna be say's oh back to the drawing board when I am down by 25 pts.
Suggestions: Please emulate madden

Overall: 20 %
Gameplay: 40 %
Graphics: 60 %
Sound: 20 %

Date reviewed: October 7, 2004.

Overall: Great Game!!! Everything I loved about the old DC versions but all juiced up! Best football game to date! And the $30 (in Canada) price tag ain't to shabby either!
Gameplay: Controls are awesome! Tons of different gameplay modes and the VIP is a nice added touch. The Crib is pretty cool too, does get kinda old, tons of stuff to spend those points on though.
Graphics: The graphics are sweet, to bad the uniforms dont get dirty or the field doesn't get torn up like in the old ones. I love the sportscenter clips in the franchise mode!!
Sound: The only beef is the loud echo sound the ball makes when it hits the ground after a field goal. All the celebrity voices were a nice touch too!

Overall: 100 %
Gameplay: 100 %
Graphics: 100 %
Sound: 100 %

Date reviewed: October 2, 2004.

Overall: This was a great all around football game. By far the best one out right now and for the best price. This game makes you hooked and not stop playing it. Another thing I enjoy about this game is the crib. You can play all sorts of awesome minigames, including airhockey. This is a must buy game for anybody who owns an Xbox system.
Gameplay: The gameplay was very fun and realistic. I am not a big football fan but this game just really blew my mind.It is one of the only Xbox games I play right now.
Graphics: The graphics are obviously the best in the business. With realistic player faces and models, this is just another reason ESPN is the best in the competition.
Sound: The sound was good as well with player interviews, and halftime and postgame shows by Chris Berman. There is just no reason why you still shoudn't own yhis amazing all around game.
Suggestions: Only one small suggestion, reduce the interceptions, I average 4 a game.

Overall: 100 %
Gameplay: 100 %
Graphics: 100 %
Sound: 100 %

Date reviewed: September 6, 2004.

Overall: Espn last year couldnt hold up to the playmaker control of madden but now people want something new. More quality gameplay. Plus ea wouldnt have gone online if it wasnt for espn games.
Gameplay: It is so SMOOTH. you can feel the hits when you use the charge button. when it rains it is harder to get a completion, and its easier to fumble. When its cold, you run a little slower, when its hot you get tired faster. It is so lifelike. The only downside is that its hard to play on thier difficulty settings, but u can just make your own.
Graphics: When i played madden, it looked just like the year before. in espn you can see the difference. all i need to say is lighting. the lighting in the stadium and the shadowing of everything makes this game look so real. it looks like they took a camara and ran it up and down a football field. but the crowd is 2d. when the camara goes over the crowd in a wide shot when the game starts theyre flat
Sound: The sound is amazing. the starting music isnt so hot but you just put in your own. The only thing that pissed me off was the repetative talk from the celebs in the crib games. mostly the game against carmen electra. she always audibles and always says"i reserve my right to change my mind." there is also some sort of bug that one time i was playing that chick and out comes the voice of steve-o from jackass.then the anouncers say i made a really deep pass when i handed it off.
Suggestions: Stay with the low prices and early release. if i hadnt been walking around in target and seen it at 20 bucks then i would never have bought it. last year the game wasnt nearly as good as madden but i said "what the hell 0 buck i can lose and if i dont like it illsell it to gamestop" but i got it home andwas blown away. now i regret never being able to play football growing up.

Overall: 90 %
Gameplay: 100 %
Graphics: 100 %
Sound: 90 %

Date reviewed: September 2, 2004.

Overall: ehhh i expected a lot more from what everyone had been telling me about it so i was rather unhappy with it
Gameplay: it was pretty good but nothing that was really spectacular or something that id really find lets maybe the word average would best describe it
Graphics: once again i say its average because it was to fuzzy and not warm fuzzy blurry it wasnt crisp enough for me
Sound: sound was above par but nothing like madden where it really gets you into it so it just isnt the best

Overall: 50 %
Gameplay: 50 %
Graphics: 50 %
Sound: 50 %

Date reviewed: August 31, 2004.

Overall: This is the new champion of video game football. Madden has been dethroned and there is nothing that can be done now. ESPN 2K5 is all that I want in a football game and then some. It is graphically beautiful, the sounds of the game are all there and customizable, gameplay sims real football eerily, and it is deep! Read on!!
Gameplay: It's football at it's most simtastic! I swear watching replays is like watching ESPN Sportscenter! Let me tell you about this one play I made, and only on ESPN. I did a toss play, the quarterback tossed the ball to the RB, he ran right for 2 steps before the DE was on him, I trucked him by pressing Y, but it slowed me down, enough so that the CB was on me, I gave him a stiffy to the helmet, right after him the LB grabbed for me to no avail, another stiffy, another defender down, now I'm headed down the sideline and the safety comes over, R trigger shake!, his ankles are broken, and I score a touchdown. My music plays, the crowd is going nuts, and I smile like a kid in a candy store. It's glorious!
Graphics: The only football game where the player looks like their real life counterparts. The crisp and clear visuals are amazing. It looks outstanding, animations and all.
Sound: As I said before, you can customize your soundtracks, during the game or at the Crib where you go and chill. You can hear everything going on in the game, and even the sideline chatter. C'mon people does it get any better?
Suggestions: Work on the lip synching at the end of the game. I holla!!!!!1

Overall: 100 %
Gameplay: 100 %
Graphics: 100 %
Sound: 100 %

Date reviewed: August 31, 2004.

Overall: ESPN NFL 2k5 is easily the best football game on the market, and is easily one of the best games I have ever played on any console. This series just gets better and better every year, and at $20 there is not enough that can be said for it. I have over 100 hours into the game now, and still have a lot of milestones that I want to accomplish, and am far from bored with it. Easily the best 'bang for the buck' I have ever discovered.
Gameplay: Last years game played very well, but they managed to improve it this year. Most notably the running game was improved so that your runner can no longer turn on a dime. The level of control you have over your ball carrier and defense has also been improved. The franchise mode has been upgraded, and also affords much more control over the goings on. If I had to nitpick, my one minor beef would be with the weekly training players feature which is incredibly time consuming and fairly clunky. There are plenty of game modes, First Person Football is back and a fun diversion. Also included is the 25 greatest comebacks of all time, and you are put in charge of re-creating those combacks. Finish it and get a big trophy and 5000 crib points. The halftime show, postgame show, and weekly Sportscenter are nothing short of amazing.
Graphics: The visuals are spectacular. The character models look very good, the environments and stadiums are top notch. It's what I've come to expect from Sega as every year they put out a very pretty game.
Sound: The commentary is solid as always. The Chris Berman weekly wrap up and halftime and postgame shows are nothing short of amazing. The inclusion of custom soundtracks, and being able to edit your music to play for certain events on the field is more fun than it should be, and a terrific addition to this year's version.
Suggestions: No suggestions...just a standing ovation.

Overall: 100 %
Gameplay: 100 %
Graphics: 100 %
Sound: 100 %

Date reviewed: August 11, 2004.

Overall: Friggin awesome, better than last years offering which was awesome and only $20, holy crap there is a football GOD. I'm not going to go into much detail since people before me already have, but this game rocks. $50 quality for a budget price.
Gameplay: A lot of minor adjustments have been made to the game, but as a whole make it feel a lot better than 2K4. The defense (especially the secondary) is much sharper on the higher difficulty settings better balancing the playing field. First person football returns and is still a novelty more than anything. One of my favorite additions is the 25th anniversary mode which allows us to play in some of the more exciting situations from the last 25 years. A better stats tracking system is in place called VIP which allows you take your record over to a friends house or share over Xbox live. The crib has also had a fairly extensive overhaul with a better unlocking system.
Graphics: Absolutely gorgeous! More and better animations, the ball carriers no longer turn on a dime. The uniforms have even more detail in them and now the muscles actually flex. The framerate does dip but only in non playing close ups during snowy games.
Sound: Now you can make your own clips out of your ripped music to play during certain situations in the stadium. The commentary is good as usual but seems to be for the most part a carbon copy of last year.

Overall: 100 %
Gameplay: 100 %
Graphics: 100 %
Sound: 90 %

Date reviewed: August 4, 2004.

Overall: "And I thought the 2k series was great before!" This is insane. Anyone who does not try this game out is simply afraid of change. Anyone who bought an XBOX should be outgoing enough to drop the $20 bucks this game costs. (I actually saw this on sale at Target for just under $16 dollar a week ago. Price is what gamers who are on the fence about this title should decide on. The game is better than ever with more control and depth of feature that are simply unbelievable. The game play is fantastic. It really starts to feel like a game. The ability to shrink the replay and start selecting your next play is AWESOME! This was always such a slow down for the pace of the game which drug the gamer out of the experience. Hats off to the developers for really working to be the best football game available not just the cheapest. This game is pure bliss. Oh yeah, AND ITS ONLY $20!!!!
Gameplay: If you wanted to feel like your in a football game you've got it. This game doesn't rely on reputation to get fans. It earns them. From incredible amounts of control for individual players after leaving the huddle on both sides of the ball to pure depth of structure this game takes football to a new level in the video game world. FANTASTIC. I actually sit back and watch the recap at the end of the game now with the full motion replays called by Chris Berman!
Graphics: Hands down NFL 2K5 is the best looking football game of all time. Realistic faces for the most recognizable superstars of the game. SUPERB. The players actually look like players not old school video game characters. ESPN presentation is built in much more smoothly than previous editions which doesn't get in the way of the game and manages to give you the feel of controlling a game and watching it as a spectator all at the same time. Stop me I'm gushing.
Sound: Great from the hits to the audio test system set up. That is correct! The game has an option to perfectly position a 5.1 surround system for sound. I'm telling you the developers didn't miss a thing!
Suggestions: My suggestion is so ridiculously small that I can't believe this is the only thing I can mention. It should be taken as a huge compliment that something so trivial is my biggest problem with the game. The football for kick is often represented as spiral pass. I know kickers are good by vary the behavior of the ball when it is kicked. That is it. No other problems. This is what a video game should be even if it cost $50 bucks! If you own an XBOX and do not already have a copy of this game you are a certified idiot!

Overall: 100 %
Gameplay: 100 %
Graphics: 100 %
Sound: 100 %

Date reviewed: August 3, 2004.

Overall: Best football game I've ever played. This blows everything else out of the water. To play it on x-box makes it that much better.
Gameplay: Very easy to understand. The first person takes some getting used to but the first person mode id why I play it.
Graphics: I was playing the game during a family party and people would come in and say they didn't know that football had started yet. It is that realistic.
Sound: Sounds good. I really don't pay attention to those things. I'm too busy playing to notice. It sounds good.
Suggestions: Keep it comming. More! More! More!

Overall: 100 %
Gameplay: 100 %
Graphics: 100 %
Sound: 100 %

Date reviewed: August 2, 2004.

Overall: I love this game. I could spend hours playing this game and not even know it. It has excellent everything. One thing you may have to get used to is the camera view because if you have played others games like madden. The view is closer to the back of the quarterback. In this game you have to get used to the view being farther back. But don't let me discourage yoou from buying this superb game.
Gameplay: Excellent. Almost real. The sportscenter component is great and cool. Everything is smooth. The passing and running.
Graphics: Great can almost loook real at times. The lips are off to voices. BUt what canyou expect from a $20 game. It is still great.
Sound: Voices don't match the players at all because it is too deep. Otherwise great not very much music or anything unlike and im glad. The madden music was crap.
Suggestions: Less interceptions. Also improve the controls for the interception button it's hard to get to the black button fast enough. Otherwise keep the game at 20 dollars.

Overall: 100 %
Gameplay: 100 %
Graphics: 50 %
Sound: 100 %

Date reviewed: August 2, 2004.

Overall: Blah, blah , blah,blah, if someone was talking about madden, then shut the heck up and go get this $20 game, cuz its the one, the game you've been waiting for, the good graphics, the awesome gameplay, lovely sound effects, and it only gets better.
Gameplay: The gameplay of this game, is not only unbelievable, it's as if your in a dream, just twisin, runnin for the game winning touchdown, its so realistic, you almost feel like ur actually there.
Graphics: People, cmon, do i really hav to tell u how good these visuals are, i mean, r u ever sure if ur really watchin a real football game that u hav control of, well u will after playin with these graphics.
Sound: Sounds... whew, ain't nuthin like hearin the sounds of some necks snappin, bones breakin, when u tackle ur worst enemy in this game especially with these kick butt sounds, everything right on the dot, nice tone, right timing, i mean, could it get any better than this?, the answer is heeeeeeeeeccccckkkk NO!,
Suggestions: No changes needed to be made, all i gotta say, JOB WELL DONE, and that u have made the best football game in the history of mankind.

Overall: 100 %
Gameplay: 100 %
Graphics: 100 %
Sound: 100 %

Date reviewed: July 28, 2004.

Overall: Wow just wow. Its amazing that this game is going for a marginal 20 dollars brand new. This game should be a full 50 dollar charge in my opinion. Anyway what can I say? Its an amazing game. Even people who dont like football should give this a try. The controls are slick and defined. It feels like your watching a real TV show on ESPN. There are some Xbox live glitches and bugs but nothing too serious. I give it a 5.0!
Gameplay: The gameplay contains alot of features like the innovative first person football( which I found to be really irratating and kinda hard to see in). ESPN 2K5 also offers alot of other gameplay modes that are a blast to play.
Graphics: The graphics are just jaw droppingly amazing. One refrence Heavy snow at lombardi stadium at night. Everything is just crisp and right to the touch. The graphics make this game.
Sound: The crunch of helmets and bones breaking is one of the hardest sounds to replicate correctly but the ESPN crew pulls it off. Quite excellently
Suggestions: No I have no suggestions for improvement

Overall: 100 %
Gameplay: 90 %
Graphics: 90 %
Sound: 90 %

Date reviewed: July 24, 2004.

Overall: I did not once hesitate buying this game. I was already planning on buying it even before the $19.99 price was announced, not only that made me happy that id be getting a great football title, but id also be saving money. Even though im quite satifsied with this game, and plan on playing it all season, i still might be getting Madden too.
Gameplay: The controls on this game i feel are very good. I think there isnt enough of a variety in plays in the playbook on offense, maybe either cause i have to customize it, which i havent figured out how to do yet, but seems like that could be the case, i guess thats it.
The francise mode in this game can get pretty deep, with you having to train your players every week and prepare them for your game...train them right, and there ratings will grow, dont train them right, or dont train them at all and there ratings will fall, this feature can be turned off though. At the end of a week of games, you can watch sportcenter, it shows highlights from games, the scores, trades, free agents, and injures, presented just like sportcenter would on tv.
Running defense in this game is easy if you know what your player is supposed to be doing, make a mistake, and you could be wishing you let the AI play defense for you. I have my bad days and good days on offense passing, which is probably pretty accurate considering who i play with in my francise, i havent mastered my running game yet, ive only had 1 100+ rushing game, all the rest are like 20.
Graphics: The graphics in this game are probably the best even seen in a football game. The players look life like, you might forget your watching, i mean your playing xbox and not watching espn, with all the little score bars poping up on the screen and the updates it seems like you really are watching a ESPN covered football game. The animations and presentation are excelent.
Sound: The commentary and Steve Berman is repetative like all sports titles. The espn music used throughout the game gives it a true espn feel to it. Custom music is probably pretty cool, too bad i cant use my burned music cause my xbox doesnt accept CD-Rs

Overall: 90 %
Gameplay: 90 %
Graphics: 100 %
Sound: 80 %

Date reviewed: July 23, 2004.

Overall: This is by far the best pigskin to date. I was going to wait for Madden but for 20 bucks I decided to try it. Holy crap this is what video game football is supposed to be like,,,,,,,,,Well Done

The leagues and Tourney's are a top notch addition.
Gameplay: Lets just say they improved it over last years game. All area's of the game have been fine tuned to a T.
Graphics: I think the game looks great, stadiums, players, the T and A on the cheerleaders are well done.
Sound: Sound is great especially on a good system,well done. Commentary is also done very well.
Suggestions: Keep up the good work and put as much effort into all your games like you did on this one.

Overall: 100 %
Gameplay: 100 %
Graphics: 100 %
Sound: 100 %

Date reviewed: July 23, 2004.

Overall: This is the best football game ever! And its only 20 bucks. The graphics are awesome and the presentation is amazing. Another high quality sports title from Sega!
Gameplay: This game kicks maddens ass. The controls are great and the features this game has are unparalled. There's 1st person football, the crib, VIP profiles, franchise mode, and online play. This game is a steal for 20 bucks!
Graphics: Best graphics ever in a sports game! I feel like im watching Sunday Night Football on ESPN when i play this. The players look great and the stadiums are awesome
Sound: The commentary is great because I dont notice it, and if i dont notice it then its not annoying. Theres an option called stadium music where you can play your custom soundtracks through the stadiums speakers, and you can have certain songs play when you score a touchdown and what not. This game has kick !&%$@#* sound.
Suggestions: There are too many interceptions in this game, other than that its perfect.

Overall: 100 %
Gameplay: 100 %
Graphics: 100 %
Sound: 100 %

Date reviewed: July 23, 2004.

Overall: At first you have to wonder exactly what Sega was thinking. 19.99? Are they really that hurting for ESPN game support that they have to go the Nintendo route of things and slash prices like it's going out of style? But after you get your hands on this game, and think about it for a while, it all becomes crystal clear. To start off with, Madden had one huge advantage this year: they started supporting Xbox Live. What that means is that Sega doesn't have that near-stranglehold on the Xbox market that they have enjoyed and needed to do something about it. To just say they 'did something about it' is quite the understatement.

If Sega and EA were not companies but actual people, then Sega just grabbed EA, spun them around, bent em over and stuck it to them hard with what is quite possibely one of the best football packages ever to grace a video game system. While diehard Madden fans will sit there and try to argue the same old things (the physics in Madden are better! Madden has a better franchise mode!) those of us who play both games regularly know that if there is a difference, it is negligible by this point. Even if all of the 'madden is better' stuff were actually true, it is blatantly obvious that ESPN = more bang for the buck... much more.

Last year the ESPN license did some nice things for Sega's sports lines. Throwing ESPN into the mix of an already decent and steadily improving game could only mean good things. Last year ESPN delivered plenty of eye and ear candy providing Sega with a game that was not only fun to play, but was fun to watch as well. No longer were the days of extremely repetetive commentary and boring cutscene, ESPN brought about good verbal audio and their signature 'glamour' fillers. This year takes that aspect of the ESPN license and runs with it like Faulk breaking through the secondary towards the endzone. This game is stupid fun to not only play, but to just sit back and enjoy. Honestly I could turn on a sim, crack a beer and watch it for an hour... which is something I haven't been able to do with a game since DOAXBV. It's honestly something which needs to be seen to be believed. As far as the overall presentation, ESPN just layed a backhand across Madden's face and is now forcing Madden to wear women's dresses in public. It's that awesome.
Gameplay: Since Sega brought its NFL series to the Xbox, Sega fans have always known that the mechanics have always been great. Sega football has been a joy to play since day one and every year they have improved upon this. This year is no exception. We see the return of many of the great systems that have been implemented, such as Maximum Passing, Hot Routes and other gameplay systems. The big one that has been added this year is the Maximum Tackle system. This is a two fold system that can benefit you both on offense and defense.

On the offensive side the way it works is if someone wraps you up for a tackle you can frantically press the A button to try to break loose of the tackle, or at the very least milk out and extra yard or two before the defender brings you down. At first I was a little worried that this was bringing a 'button mashing' feel to the game that I wasn't anxious to see. But then I realized that when I am 3 and 2, and get wrapped up a yard from a first down, I am usually mashing the hell out of buttons anyways, so with this system it is actually going to do something for me now!

The defensive side is a little more straight forward: Maximum Tackle lets you use two different kinds of tackles. The first one is the classic textbook wrap-up. When you wrap the runner or qb up you have a good chance of bringing them down, but they might be able to get a few extra yards before they hit the turf. The other tackle is a power tackle. This tackle will stop them dead in their tracks, but the negative side is this tackle is easier to avoid. The power tackle ends up being a judgement call, if you think you have the runner figured out, get ready to nail him with a pad cracking dive... else you might want to think about doing the whole wrap-up thing.

One thing that appeared last year and made another return is the First Person mode. I'm not sure why, but this isn't really advertised much on the literature for the game, even though Sega thought it fit enough to bring back for another year. I must admit, playing a football game in first person is pretty cool... but ends up being extremely difficult. While this is most likely the case in real life (if it wasn't hard then everyone would be in the NFL) I found myself only able to play so much before I got tired of not seeing my defenders and my pockets collapsing to the outside blitz and not knowing to try and evade. The mode is cool, none the less and it is nice having yet another option in the game.

Graphics: From the home theater technical aspect this game is a beauty. For all you video nuts, you will be happy to know that ESPN supports 720p so you can milk the visuals for all they are worth. On the other end, the audiophiles will wet themselves to the Dolby 5.1 encoding. While 5.1 really isn't necessary for a football game, it really adds some life to the atmosphere and brings us closer to the realization of all games supporting this standard.

As if all this wasn't enough, Sega decided to laden this game with even more features that will draw out the life of this product. A big one is the 'Crib' feature. If you haven't seen or heard of this feature before, here is the lowdown: You have a house, and earn points to pimp it out. Points are earned for a variety of reasons, meeting team goals, franchise goals, player goals, even for such things as exploring the menu systems. As your points wrack up you can buy things for your crib (furniture, games, bobble head dolls) or even add stuff to the game itself (unlock cheats, buy new soundtracks, buy mini-games). Think of cribs as the EA 'card system' but not nearly as stupid and as boring as collecting trading cards.

As funny as it is, one of my favorite features thus far is the ability to edit stadium soundtracks. You can take music that you've ripped to your xbox, and select clips from it to accompany many of the things that will happen in the game. For instance, when the other team intercepts the ball you will hear Jack Black come over the loudspeakers and yeall "F**k you, you f**king b**ch!". Or I can score a touchdown and the other player has to listen to the Bloodhound Gang tell them to 'Kiss me where it smells funny!'. This feature is golden and adds that much more personality to this game.

Sound: At this point I haven't even touched Xbox Live. There is soooo much to do on my own that playing against someone else has yet to even interest me until I unlock more stuff for my own amusement. With a price like this, though, I seriously doubt anyone is gonna have trouble finding a game vs. anyone else. Live, as with many other games, is going to add major playtime to this title, at least until 2k6 rolls around!

So Madden has finally gone Live, but is that going to be enough to compete with this 20 dollar piece of gold? I seriously doubt it. Madden will still get support from the long-term die-hard fans, but with a marketing strategy like this it is not hard to imagine Sega converting quite a few EA loyalists into their camp. The only thig we have to wonder about now is if this will bring a new trend in price chopping to our yearly sports titles... or you could not think about this and go get yourself a copy of this game as quickly as you can!

The Scores:

Visual: 4.5 out of 5 While the presentation gets a 5 out of 5, there does seem to be occasional frame stutters outside of the actual gameplay. I'm not too sure but it doesn't seem like a flying ESPN logo should really tax the Xbox enough to make it stutter

Sound: 5 out of 5 Commentary, top notch. Sound options, the same. Sports games have always been notorious for crappy repetetive commentary and lackluster music, but this is no longer the case. And as Pepsi would say, ESPN's sound is the choice of the new generation.

Gameplay: 4.6 out of 5. While the gameplay is steadily improving, there are still a few quirks. For instance: in any mode above pro you will get intercepted so many times it isn't funny. The defender could be running with his back to the QB then suddenly spin around, jump and intercept a pass he wasn't even looking at. While this does happen every once in a while in real life, the frequency it happens in this game gets to be ridiculous

Overall: 4.8 out of 5. ESPN 2K5 is the total package backed by a killer price. If you have any interest at all in football it would be a mistake not owning this game. Screw renting it, you will have paid for a 1/4th of the game already. Go pick it up.

See you all on the gridiron,

Overall: 90 %
Gameplay: 90 %
Graphics: 90 %
Sound: 100 %


ESPN NFL 2K5 Sells Over A Million Units
In a very short time ESPN football has already sold over 1 million units.

NBA 2K5 Soundtrack Goes Hip-Hop
ESPN Videogames will be featuring more than three dozen original or licensed tracks from 22 top hip-hop acts in ESPN NBA 2K5.

Visual Concepts Working On ESPN Fix
Some of you may or may not know of the problems people are having with ESPN online. It basically comes down to an online roster problem. The other major problem is people not being able to challenge other players.

ESPN NFL 2K5 Ships To Stores
ESPN Videogames and Take Two announced today that ESPN NFL 2K5 has shipped to stores, the game is rated E and retails for $19.99.

ESPN NFL 2K5 Offically Golden
Visual Concepts today announced ESPN has gone gold, and will ship July 20th.

ESPN NFL 2K5 Screens
Check out some screens featuring the Crib and First Person Football from this year's addition to the ESPN NFL series.

ESPN NFL 2K5 Coming This Month
EB Games has listed a new release date for ESPN NFL 2K5 which is now 7-20-04 about a month earlier than expected.

Dan Stevens And Peter O’Keefe Grilled
Names Dan Stevens and Peter O'Keefe may be familiar to ESPN NFL fans. They would be the commentators that many Sega sports fans have gotten to know. However they are only characters in a game, NL Gaming caught up with the men behind the voices.

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