Universal acclaim - based on 30 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 29 out of 30
  2. Negative: 0 out of 30
Buy On
  1. 90
    Their new defensive tactics coupled with fluid gameplay make for a superb football experience.
  2. Cheat Code Central
    Unless you're a Madden Football fanatic, beware that there's not enough new features or innovations to recommend this game if you already have the 2004 version.
  3. The defensive improvements and online leagues are a huge step in the right direction.
  4. Electronic Gaming Monthly
    [Chris]: Madden just plays better than "ESPN." There. I said it. [Bryan]: No, Chris - It plays a LOT better. And and I'm not just talking about the improved defensive play (especially in the secondary) and, with a quick tap on the new Hit Stick, the bone-jarring tackles. It's how Madden replicates the style of play of actual NFL squads. [Sept 2004, p.94]
  5. An excellent game. If you don’t own 2004, it is a fantastic purchase, however, if you do, you may find too much of the same thing again. It’s time for EA to rehash this series, as each year’s offering is getting more and more stale.
  6. 80
    Though it’s disappointing the presentation has taken a backseat in the development phase, Madden edges out "NFL 2K5" because, ultimately, it's the gameplay that matters after you've owned a football game for more than a couple weeks.
  7. Madden has a knack of making quantum leaps with each successive title. This new edition, however, breaks the streak. [Sept 2004, p.101]
  8. The largest change comes within the Draft section, which is much more defined and realistic for players wanting to track their prospects.
  9. It actually offers less new material than "ESPN NFL 2K5", which struck a chord with its VIP system and Weekly Prep. However, Madden’s gameplay is more consistent and more solid than ESPN’s, especially in terms of playbook depth and passing, and ultimately that’s what distinguishes the champ from the challenger.
  10. 100
    Madden remains the best in the business at presenting football plays. The playbook and playcalling interface in this year's game are clean, easy to read, and snap to use. [Sept 2004, p.96]
  11. American football finally comes across as brutally as it should.
  12. In many ways, Madden 2005 is just a bit too much like last year's Madden for comfort--but it's still a truly excellent game of football all around.
  13. 100
    The defense upgrades bring a lot of welcome strategy to the game, and the new AI is simply superb. Its amazingly deep, well thought out franchise mode is the best I've ever seen, while the basic gameplay still can't be beat.
  14. The defensive playmaker stick adds so much depth to this game, just like the offensive playmaker did last year.
  15. With all the mixed reviews with some saying "ESPN" is the best, and some saying Madden is the best, this reviewers money is on Madden this year as to me it is worth the extra 30 dollars for what you do on an off the field.
  16. GMR Magazine
    It still doesn't own the grahics category, but Madden controls better with that same great pace it's known to have. [Sept 2004, p.86]
  17. 95
    ESPN might have plenty of sizzle, but Madden is still the steak...The defensive improvements alone are worth the price of admission, but when you add to that the expanded franchise mode and all of the online improvements, you realize just how different this year's game not only looks but feels.
  18. A little too much like last year’s game...However, its defensive gameplay mechanics are more than enough to warrant that this is a must-play game if you’re into football, and it’s a lot more user-friendly than ESPN is.
  19. netjak
    Sure, the series succeeds in the atmosphere department, but atmosphere is more needed for the spectators than the guys playing the game. Madden, to me, is a warm, fluffy roll without the hamburger. Yo EA, where’s the beef?
  20. Official U.S. Playstation Magazine
    It's still great, great football, and al the new stuff makes it the best one yet. I'm just not so sure it's worth 50 bucks if you already have last year's edition. [Aug 2004, p.87]
  21. Too many returning (though greatly enhanced) elements from last year’s version, combined with some ill-advised new additions (anything involving the obnoxious Tony Bruno!), conspire to bring Madden 2005 down a notch from the all-around perfection of the previous season.
  22. Play Magazine
    In its 15th year, this well-oiled machine enters the 2005 season with one of the finest football games ever crafted. Raising the bar to an unheard of level, Madden 2005 is football at its very best. [Aug 2004, p.73]
  23. PSM Magazine
    Still packed with Madden greatness, but not as ambitious, advanced or enjoyable as "ESPN Football 2K5." [Sept 2004, p.16]
  24. It's a fine effort, and the additions to the game generally improved the overall experience - but it just doesn't feel like enough.
  25. To say that Madden 2005 is the best of all the games is accurate, but is it the strongest year-to-year improvement? To that, I say no. Nonetheless, Madden is king.
  26. 95
    Once you get sucked into Franchise Mode, you very well might not make it out.
  27. 100
    The off-the-field interface is simple and intuitive, but even Madden veterans will need a little time to learn all the new defensive playmaker calls available before the snap.
  28. While the new look can be a little daunting to a guy who just wants to play a few seasons, it is definitely the most sophisticated simulation ever developed for a console.
  29. One of Madden's weak points has always been its commentary, and after fifteen years, it still needs work.
  30. 90
    Madden 2005 is a benchmark in football simulations, because for the first time, it implements a realistic, versatile, hard-hitting defensive game that will pin you to the chair like a 300lb tackle.

Awards & Rankings

#9 Most Discussed PS2 Game of 2004
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 78 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 57 out of 78
  2. Negative: 11 out of 78
  1. Dec 25, 2017
    Although some may argue that this game doesn't compare to ESPN NFL 2k5 in certain respects/aspects, it seems to me at least that this is aAlthough some may argue that this game doesn't compare to ESPN NFL 2k5 in certain respects/aspects, it seems to me at least that this is a decent improvement over last years Madden specifically to say the least, (not that last year's game necessarily needed noticeable improvements.) It is easy for some fans to argue or at least think that ESPN NFL 2k5 is better just because it is something different than what most are used to. (2k5's tackling system was arguably 7 years ahead of it's time considering it wasn't until Madden '12 could match it's realism and feel, the crib featured offered some addicting milestones/achievements to keep you playing and wanting more.) Madden 2005 ought to be thought of as a defensive upgrade to last years award winning Madden NFL 2004. Although last year's game was arguably the biggest year-to-year improvement in the entire series, (or at least for the PS2-Xbox-Gamecube generation,) the improvements in that game were heavily offense oriented, (mainly offensive pre snap adjustments such as changing the direction of a run, leading your fullback to a key block for a big gain, directing your receiver to an open spot on the field for a big passing play.) Madden 2005 had some fairly effective defensive improvements besides the new hit stick feature which most Madden fans remember the most such as committing to the run/pass, double team coverage and changing individual player assignments that it basically countered the offensive spark Madden 2004 offered to it's football frenzy gamers. Factor in story-line central which beefs up the excitement of franchise mode, slightly improved graphics and even more animations than it's predecessor and this is much more of a definite buy, (at least to gamers whose most recent purchase was madden 2003.) Full Review »
  2. Mar 28, 2015
    Here we go again. Time to sink your hard-earned money in another installment of the Madden series. But hey, I'm not complaining. I loveHere we go again. Time to sink your hard-earned money in another installment of the Madden series. But hey, I'm not complaining. I love football till it hurts and the Madden games have proven year after year to be nothing short of spectacular. Full Review »
  3. Feb 25, 2015
    This was the first Madden game that I ever played and certainly made me start getting into the NFL. Felt like real football during the timeThis was the first Madden game that I ever played and certainly made me start getting into the NFL. Felt like real football during the time when I played this game. Ooooooh the memories! Full Review »