How much different are the two games? Will it matter if I have practiced on 2K3 and not 2K4?
2k4 plays a bit differently. I find it easy to pass in both but in 2k3 I could run around like crazy waiting forever to throw the ball in 2k4 the pass rush is more likely to get you if you drop back too far in the pocket or run out of the pocket.
Competitions not withstanding (which it sounds like you’re preparing for), ESPN NFL2k4 is better in every way than Madden except for rewards you get for doing cool things.
I miss being able to put Marino on my team.
I really like Madden 2004’s owner’s mode.
There are some differences on the field. It’s a little tougher to run on the computer at higher difficulty levels, and it’s also harder to get cheapo hail mary touchdowns. And, as mentioned, you can’t just stand back in the pocket and run around forever – there are times where it actually makes sense to step up and throw.
if you’re planning on playing in a tourney, I’d recommend getting Madden 2004 right now, because any good players will know how to use hot routes, flipping plays, the Playmaker feature, etc to throw off formations. Tiburon tried to cut down the “cheese” factor this year, and while they succeeded in some areas, there are still weaknesses you can exploit – I’m not sure there’s any way you can prepare for this without playing the new version.
(edit: added part about pocket pressure.)
Actually, you do get rewards for doing cool things in ESPN NFL2K4. The Crib. It’s in the form of trophies, customizing your digs, posters, memorabilia, extra soundtracks for the jukebox, a “home theatre” that you can play trailers (movies) that you unlock. And there are some cheats, like being able to kick a FG from an insane distance. Not so terribly different from Madden in that aspect.
I did like Sega’s product much better in the end.
I’ll also nominate ESPN 2k4. More of a thinking man’s football game than the player centric Madden game. Besides I love the occasional FPS football game. QBing a full game in FP mode is insanely hard. Running is easy.
The only problem I have with it is the starting lineup does not take in account training camp trades…like NE does not have Ted Washington, and getting CHI to bite on a trade for him sucks. I mean I used Klecko a rookie as my nose tackle for the first 6 weeks before I could finally figure out a good trade for Ted.
I would also say ESPN is better but he was asking for Madden information.
BTW, last I checked they have a downloadable roster update on Live that has at least the training camp moves in it.