I don't know what to think about Madden these days. But I had a blast playing this game, and for more than just the nostalgia factor. Last night I decided to pop this in and replay the 2003 AFC Championship game between the Colts and Patriots. You know, I'm still on Cloud 9 after this past Superbowl. And 2003 was a great year for New England (The 2004 game has the 2003 rosters).
The graphics are pretty good, especially if you manage to find yourself a nice old 4:3 standard-def television. I like the variable options in the weather, and how you can actually customize the game more than you can in Madden 15. I can adjust wind-speed, temperature, and even the amount of precipitation that the game gets. The '03 AFC Championship was played with some snow on the field, and I was able to duplicate that in the game. In Madden 15, the field would have been completely covered in six inches of snow. The lighting progresses in games, meaning that if you start a game at 4:15, it'll be pitch black by halftime. We wouldn't see this feature return until Madden 12.
I also like how they had historic teams back then. The numbers were incorrect, but editable. This makes sense, I'd imagine EA was rightfully trying to avoid lawsuits. So not only could I replay the 2003 AFC Championship Game, I could also replay the one from 1985 between the Patriots and Dolphins. I could also make it so that Miami correctly wore white at home, as they usually do, and did in that particular game.
One thing I like is that the defense actually covers people. Back in 2003, I remember discovering the Cover 2 that I still like to use today. Only difference is it's actually played correctly in this game. Blitzes work about as well as they should. The defense seems to have been trained well by their coaches in high school, because unlike today's game, they actually take proper angles to the ball carrier. This means that you're less likely to have the big run break on you than in today's game, and that's more realistic. This was also the year before Hit-Stick game out, but the right stick can be used to predict the play, whether it's a pass or run.
This game brings back some memories. I played this online non-stop when I was 22. I used to have my mug of Miller Lite and forget about what time it was playing this game. People got annoying using McNabb and Vick, but I either had Bruschi or Urlacher spying the QB. Funny how the most realistic Madden was introduced eleven years ago. But then, that's when EA also had to worry about other football games.