• Publisher: Sega
  • Release Date: Sep 3, 2003

Universal acclaim - based on 20 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 20 out of 20
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 20
  3. Negative: 0 out of 20
  1. 93
    This is the tightest offering of the series to date, with improved AI--especially in the passing game-- and loads of features.
  2. While "Madden" is the most realistic-playing football game on the market, ESPN NFL Football is simply the most exciting football game on the planet.
  3. The game animation is some of the best around and the commentary is spot-on, not to mention the fact that you get the no-holds-barred studio analysis.
  4. Simly put, playing in the optional first-person mode is a revolution you must be a part of. [Sept 2003, p.106]
  5. 85
    It is the near-seamless integration of the ESPN look and feel that sets this game apart.
  6. 100
    The potential replay value for the game is enormous. Of course, until ESPN has had a full season under its belt, the jury’s out as to whether first-person view is major revolution or a nifty diversion...but it’s very cool.
  7. First Person Football is the monster addition though. With everything in the gameplay that was updated for 2K4, I don’t know how they found the time to add this big of an addition. First Person Football is a game unto itself, and you get it for free.
  8. If ESPN wants to compete with an EA Franchise that has made some serious leaps and bounds this year, they’re going to have to buckle down in the off-season, tighten up their offense and maybe learn some new plays on defense.
  9. A near-flawless gameplay experience that not only rivals "Madden" and "Fever" but storms past these two former contenders and into the end zone for a clear and decisive victory.
  10. Visually, ESPN NFL Football is top notch, especially the tackle and running animations. No other football game comes close in this area. Coupled with tight controls and great online play, ESPN NFL Football is a fine success. [Sept 2003, p.86]
  11. Even with these changes and enhanced running game, ESPN NFL Football remains second-string behind "Madden"; its franchise options don't stack up to Johnny boy's title. [Sept 2003, p.125]
  12. The competition may have a few small details and features over Sega, but no one can touch this gameplay. With subtle but effective tweaks made to all areas of the offensive and defensive games, ESPN NFL is certainly the toughest and most satisfying simulation currently available.
  13. The PS2 gets points for tighter controls and easier to see play selections of where your players are going on plays.
  14. It lacks a certain "oomph" I get out of EA football. [Sept 2003, p.98]
  15. If you aren't a fan of "Madden's" massive arsenal of extra modes, bells, and whistles, this game stands right beside the long-time champ in terms of quality and fun. And for hardcore fans simply looking for the most realistic representation of football, ESPN is the better choice. [Sept 2003, p.28]
  16. A superb football game. The graphics and level of realism are just unbelievable, although the Xbox version is a hair better and framerates seem a tad smoother.
  17. The complete and total lack of a buddy list in any shape or form, simply reinforces how amazing this year's Madden is in that respect. Lobbies are simple to navigate, but without a list to assist you, tracking down your friends is essentially an impossible task.
  18. Year after year, ESPN NFL Football (formerly NFL2K4) inches closer to becoming the "must have" football game. Almost.
  19. I love both games, with ESPN being a better gameplay game and Madden holding the edge with game modes and options. But, graphically, the two are similar and so is the replay value.
  20. One brave new inclusion is a first-person mode. Step inside the helmet of the quarterback and attempt to play the game through his eyes. There's a realistic claustrophobic sensation as the linemen pile through attempting that sack before you can launch the perfect pass to an open wide receiver.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 23 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 17 out of 18
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 18
  3. Negative: 1 out of 18
  1. RyanC.
    Jul 22, 2004
    Best football game period, Madden has got too much competition this year cuz this is the best football game i have ever played. there is even a "crib" that you can deck out with cool stuff u earn its a sweet game and even better only $20 so screw madden. Full Review »
  2. RyanT.
    Dec 16, 2003
    Even though the first person mode needs work, it's one of the coolest ideas in football video games. So I give it a 10. And it's not like you have to use it, but it's fun on kick returns! Has anybody listened to Madden lately? It's a difficult task. I don't care for the announcing on video games as it is, but to have to deal w/ Madden!? Come on, shame on all that buy Madden. Full Review »
  3. KeithF.
    Nov 21, 2003
    I used to be a madden fan, but after playing this game and comparing how sloppy the gameplay physics really are in the EA sports game, I wonder how I thought it could have been better. The ESPN animations are incrdible, the only bad one is the cheerleaders. Static bodies + Bouncy boobs does not = good looking animation. Full Review »