• Publisher: Sega
  • Release Date: Jul 20, 2004

Universal acclaim - based on 37 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 37 out of 37
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 37
  3. Negative: 0 out of 37
Buy On
  1. With better graphics, deeper gameplay, a polished ESPN interface to die for and an outrageously low price ESPN NFL 2K5 offers the most bang for your gaming dollar, period.
  2. But the graphics and game play have been juiced up, too, with improved passing, a slightly tougher running game, and lots of combo-move action via manipulation of the right analog stick.
  3. 100
    The biggest advancement is the VIP system, which studies your habits on the field and develops a profile based on how you play the game.
  4. 100
    This year, the design guys as Visual Concepts have turned ESPN NFL 2K5 into the most entertaining show in video-game football. [Sept 2004, p.98]
  5. Play Magazine
    For a mere $20, Sega's game is every bit as deep, feature-rich and addictive as EA's powerhouse. I'm not saying that 2K5 is better than "Madden"...but it's just as good - no joke. [Sept 2004, p.84]
  6. NFL 2K5 not only has the best gameplay, both in accuracy and pure fun factor, but the entire game is wrapped up in an ESPN presentation that is worthy of being watched on Sunday with a group of friends.
  7. Don't just get this game because it's 20 bucks, buy it becuase it's the best football title there is and the only one that's a must have. [Sept 2004, p.100]
  8. The few rare problems in this game are able to go unnoticed without a second thought. For any true football fan that doesn’t own this game, you should feel very empty inside...very, very empty.
  9. Visual Concepts has done an awesome job of squeezing every ounce of power that the PlayStation 2 has to offer while developing this game. The player’s faces look like their real life counter parts, and everything is smoothly animated.
  10. Deep, customizable gameplay along with a number of innovative features go a long way to giving "Madden" a run for its money.
  11. 93
    Are you kidding me? This game rivals "Madden" in every way and surpasses it in feature set. Plus it's only twenty dollars.
  12. I have found almost NOTHING wrong or flawed in NFL 2K5. It is what I would consider right now the perfect Football game. It is a must have game.
  13. Not only do you have a game that you can play with friends, but one that can be played solo with goals that make the game last a long time.
  14. The additions of the VIP, online seasons and tournaments, and weekly schedules make this game hard to pass up.
  15. For all of its excellent modes and gameplay, however, ESPN NFL 2K5's greatest asset comes in the form of its graphics. Hands down, flat out, undeniably, inarguably, this is the best-looking football game ever made.
  16. My jaw dropped when I saw the Raiders white road jerseys, the shadows and player models and even the animation. This game looks absolutely stunning and is the best looking football game have ever seen.
  17. PSM Magazine
    "Madden" fans will be awed by ESPN's superior presentation....All in all, ESPN Football 2K5 is more ambitious, polished and enjoyable than this year's "Madden."[Sept 2004, p.14]
  18. 90
    With unparalleled visuals, a deep franchise mode, and tons of new and improved features, "Madden" is facing a 4th and very, very long this year.
  19. 90
    It has great graphics, exciting gameplay, and a solid online mode. If you can skip over the slightly gimmicky modes and stick to the excellent Franchise mode, you'll be happy that you whipped Mr. Jackson out at the game store.
  20. Challenging, smooth, plays incredibly well and is as accurate as you would like.
  21. Sega's best football game to date.
  22. AceGamez
    I daresay that many of the Brits reading this will be as baffled as I was with ESPN NFL 2K5, but there's a whole shed-load of quality present in both the gameplay and presentation.
  23. Whilst I prefer the simplicity of EA Big's title, ESPN has got me hooked on the professional side of football, if not only to fill up my virtual house full of football clobber.
  24. Pelit (Finland)
    An addictive football game with awesome gameplay, although the practice mode should have been more detailed. The franchise mode is very close to the real thing. [Apr. 05]
  25. netjak
    We may be stuck with this edition for the next five years, but it’s an outstanding little sports gem to be stuck with, and for a price tag that can’t be beat.
  26. While the majority of the gameplay is above average, the game’s bevy of technical issues kill any hopes that a hardcore fan would be satisfied with this game in the long term.
  27. 85
    Despite all these improvements, I can't help but feel that last year's "Madden" still has the edge over this year's ESPN, thanks to fundamental pacing and controls. ESPN has great visuals, has tons of new features, all kinds of new animations, ... but the same gooey controls - they're just not as responsive as "Madden"'s.
  28. Regardless of whether you wish to tackle the game’s in-depth franchise mode, or return once or twice a month for a quick blast, there is one word that can sum up the experience: solid.
  29. If only we could arrange some sort of trade-off, whereby each decimal point of the score I have awarded could be traded for a thousand Americans not using the word ‘soccer’.
  30. The good parts of ESPN far outweigh the bad and combine to make one of the most satisfying and challenging sports games ever. It's such a steal you might want to wear a ski mask to the store – just in case.
  31. It does a nice job offering a much cheaper alternative without sacrificing too much quality. It’s just a shame that the online play is broken, though I suppose you get what you pay for after all.
  32. Electronic Gaming Monthly
    ESPN's franchise mode is much improved, but I'm not entirely sold in its biggest addition, Weekly Prep, either. [Sept 2004, p.94]
  33. 80
    NFL 2K5 has leveled the field of play significantly with its wallet-friendly price and killer presentation.
  34. GMR Magazine
    While "Madden's" a better game in the way that Peyton Manning is better than Steve McNair (marginally), it'll be fun to see if ESPN can beat the daunting spread with its budget-priced equalizer. [Sept 2004, p.87]
  35. Official U.S. Playstation Magazine
    It's worth pointing out that most of these new options simply add a layer of polish to preexisting aspects of the game. [Sept 2004, p.93]
  36. 80
    Purists of the game will still prefer Madden’s physics and controls as it plays a realistic game.
  37. Surprisingly absorbing once you have mastered the intricacies of the game, this is a fine release, at a bargain price.

Awards & Rankings

#8 Most Discussed PS2 Game of 2004
#97 Most Shared PS2 Game of 2004
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 89 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 68 out of 89
  2. Negative: 9 out of 89
  1. Apr 22, 2011
    This game defined my LIFE from 2005-2009. Yes, 4 years and this game was my most played game. The controls are excellent (the first and onlyThis game defined my LIFE from 2005-2009. Yes, 4 years and this game was my most played game. The controls are excellent (the first and only football game that makes it humanly possible to kick/punt, play defense, or call a **** play), the graphics while far from state of the art don't hinder the game's fun. The mini-games found in the "crib" are fun as hell, and the teams and players were APPROPRIATELY rated (3rd string QBs do NOT get an 80 rating, Madden.) I never downgrade to madden after this masterpiece of sports gaming. The only flaw that I found was having to play within punching distance of my older brother. Full Review »
  2. Mar 27, 2011
    Even after all these years, this stands the time as one of the best football games ever made. The presentation is unparalleled and the game isEven after all these years, this stands the time as one of the best football games ever made. The presentation is unparalleled and the game is so packed with features that it still has life nearly 7 years after its initial release. ESPN NFL 2K5 is our generation's Tecmo Bowl. Full Review »
  3. May 11, 2013
    The year is 2013 and this game is still amazingly fun. I've played 2k5 for over a thousand hours. I will play against anyone in the knownThe year is 2013 and this game is still amazingly fun. I've played 2k5 for over a thousand hours. I will play against anyone in the known universe. As it stands only seven challengers have ever beat me. The rest of my foes were utterly annihilated. Full Review »