Universal acclaim - based on 25 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 25 out of 25
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 25
  3. Negative: 0 out of 25
  1. 100
    A masterful effort. It literally redefines itself within the span of one videogame football season and is a worthy preseason Pro Bowl pick.
  2. 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.
  3. The best sports game I have played to date.
  4. If you're looking for a solid football game that pulls you right in the action, ESPN Football will do exactly that. If you're looking for a football game that offers plenty of options and online features, you will find that as well. ESPN Football is one of the best sports games to come around in a long time!
  5. The graphics and level of realism are just unbelievable. Although there isn't a world of difference between the Xbox and PS2 version, the graphics are a bit better on the box game and it does support progressive scan.
  6. Just what the fans of the 2K series have been waiting for; an updated version with more polished controls, better computer AI and the best presentation possible...This game has the perfect blend of arcade and simulation football that should make it fun for every type of sports gamer.
  7. The bread and butter of this game is it's gameplay and presentation. The graphics are bar-none the best out there. If you are looking for football at it's best, look no further than ESPN NFL Football.
  8. It's clear after playing Sega's latest, that all others will bow down when ESPN comes to your town.
  9. 93
    This is the tightest offering of the series to date, with improved AI--especially in the passing game-- and loads of features.
  10. 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.
  11. Madden still has the best pasing game and deepest franchise options; yet ESPN's running game is unmatched, and TV-style sequences which range from weekly wrap-ups with Chris Berman to payers leaping into the stands after a touchdown are far and away superior to anything in EA's camp. [Sept 2003, p.117]
  12. No game, no TV broadcast... flat-out nothing I've ever seen has come close to re-creating the intensity of a real NFL experience like ESPN Football's First Person Football mode. [Oct 2003, p.73]
  13. Aside from the occasional player gliding across the ground, the graphics are phenomenal and superior to "Madden 2004."
  14. ESPN however has a certain appeal that comes from its brilliant presentation and easy to grasp controls, the addition of the crib makes this one of the best sports games available for the Xbox.
  15. 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]
  16. "Madden 2004" may include more realistic gameplay and statistics, but ESPN is a much more satisfying experience when breaking down the purpose of games in the first place. To be fun.
  17. 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.
  18. ESPN NFL Football has the better graphics and commentary while "Madden 2004" has better controls, gameplay and arguably more replay value if you're into franchise play.
  19. ESPN's fatigue problems and lazy secondary play detract from the game, but the first person view, running game, and overall presentation show ESPN is a strong contender.
  20. 85
    It is the near-seamless integration of the ESPN look and feel that sets this game apart.
  21. 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.
  22. If there was no "Madden," ESPN NFL Football would easily be the best football game this year. [Oct/Nov 2003, p.96]
  23. On the field, Sega falls short of the more immediate action, tighter controls, and more powerful on-field flexibility of "Madden 2004." [Sept 2003, p.73]
  24. Year after year, ESPN NFL Football (formerly NFL2K4) inches closer to becoming the "must have" football game. Almost.
  25. 80
    ESPN is incorporated seamlessly into the game, and it mostly works well, with solid pre-game coverage, a clean interface, and some slick graphic overlays in between gameplay.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 43 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 26 out of 28
  2. Negative: 1 out of 28
  1. JobA.
    Oct 6, 2009
    Unbelievable football game.It just gets better and better every year since nkl 2k on the Dreamcast.Madden is very generic and it has a few good things going for it but nothing compared to this title.For instance something small,the comentators for 2K aren't even real commentators but there commentary blow EA's Madden out of the water by a mile and Madden and Michael's have been in football forever.The gameplay,the excitement,the rewards,ect...ect... A true masterpiece of sport gaming! Full Review »
  2. dlo
    Aug 26, 2006
    its got some cool stuff but no way you can say its better than madden because that is the most realistic football game out there.
  3. FredC.
    Apr 12, 2004
    This is by far the best football game ever made, period...blows Madden away by far. In Madden you touch shoulders when running from a guy and you all of a sudden fall over like you've been tackled...Madden is so over-rated its pathetic. This is the most realistic tacking and football period I've ever played. This is just plain great. ESPN football is the newest and best football around. Trust me, I know madden fans that own ever games since madden started and they said that they have switched, that they like ESPN much better....I can only agree because ESPN is WAY WAY better then madden...madden is glitchy, tackling is so unrealistic and I could keep putting it down all day. ESPN blows madden away, I dont even see how madden got on the list here on metacritic. I know why, because the name is madden....well move over madden, ESPN just stepped on you. Full Review »