So far I'm really enjoying the ESPN2k5 franchise mode. I'm in my second season, and I really enjoy the micromanagement aspect of weekly training, as well as the huge presentation (and commentary) improvements over Madden2k4.
The biggest problems I have is
1) the running game is WAY too easy. Using Portis on the skins with max difficulty, I can just run straight through the middle and shove the D aside, pulling in an easy 5-6 YPC without even following my OLine or picking out holes in the D. I hate playing a finesse back like Portis or Green and having him trample people like he was a TE or a power back.
2) the field seems *very* small to me. I'm not sure if the players are too big, the field is too small, or the players move far too fast.. but when I'm fire a ball to a wide open receiver going down a sideline and before the ball hits him he's in triple coverage.. there's a problem.
3) down field seems very muddy to me. When I have Brunell in the pocket and I'm going for a deep field pass on third, it's next to impossible to tell who's open and who's not. Besides having no way that I've figured out to survey the far left and right sides of the field before my line breaks and I get dropped (partially by fault of the not-so-great Skins OLine I have, admittedly) - the second I fire the ball off, even if I pump fake, my receiver is swarmed.
4) The Crib. Why is this even in a FOOTBALL game? Seriously? A few of the gimmicks are fun.. (The trivia machine and darts game stand out) ..but nothing that makes me want to really try and get all of the "challenges" needed to unlock everything. Honestly, everytime I enter "The Crib" I feel like I've gone from a legitimate football game to "The Sims: Football Edition". Giving myself throat cancer via as many shots of whiskey as I can drink per day would give me more long term entertainment.
All in all.. I have to say it was worth the $20 for the couple of weeks of entertainment it'll give me until Madden comes, but there is no doubt in my mind.. especially with the revamped Playmaker controls (and hopefully more expansive commentary. please?) - Madden will still be king in 2k5.