DAY 01 | DAY 02 | DAY 03

Tricks, Tigers, and Other Titans of Sports

EA Sports aims for athletic domination
 
Perhaps EA Sports should be added to the old adage about the dependability of death and taxes.
 
The SSX snowboarding series is already well known for its excellent combination of downhill-racing competition and extreme tricks. SSX 3-part of the EA Sports Big series- for GameCube, PS2, and Xbox introduces more play options, expanded character customization tools, and a deeper rewards system. Four new rivals are joining the six boarders returning from SSX Tricky.
 
Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2004 for GameCube, PC, PS2, and Xbox gets updates in the form of five new PGA and two new fantasy courses, plus five additional PGA tour pros and swing-by-swing commentary from Gary McCord and David Feherty. Players can also create a golfer and play an entire tour season in competition against Tiger Woods.
 
John Madden may have moved from Fox to ABC last season, but Madden NFL 2004 (GBA, GC, PC, PS2, PSX, Xbox) continues to lead EA Sports' team. Highlights for this year include playmaker control that allows adjustments after the ball snap, an Owner mode, online gameplay, and a new Quick Match voice chat option in the PS2 version.
 
Moving on to college turf, NCAA Football 2004 for GameCube, PS2, and Xbox authentically simulates current team rosters as well as classic teams like Notre Dame's 1924 squad. As with this year's Madden, the PS2 version boasts voice-enabled in-game chat.
 
In one of the better basketball combinations, NCAA March Madness 2004 and NBA Live 2004 work in tandem on the PC and all three consoles. Nurture a fast-breaking college athlete into a dominator in March Madness, then import him into the pros in Live and pit him against foes in all 29 NBA arenas. Both titles benefit from smoother control response, and March Madness 2004 adds new schools to the competition. Improved graphics and gameplay mark NHL 2004 for GameCube, PC, PS2, and Xbox. New control finesse makes it easier for players to pass, smash one-timers, perform dekes, and aggressively manhandle opponents at home and online.
 
FIFA 2004's emphasis on authenticity should please new fans attracted to the game of soccer by the U.S. National team's World Cup success. This year, a new Career mode lets you take a team from the lower divisions, sign new players, and battle through the world's premier clubs on your way to a championship on GameCube, PC, PS2, PSX, and Xbox.
 
- By George T. Chronis

 
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