YES! I answer that with a resounding affirmative. While it does has some flaws and drawbacks, it is a solid title with enough new features to make it seem fresh and new. While the graphics and crowd backgrounds are showing their age, there is plenty to enjoy.
First and foremost is the matchup stick. It shows you matchups and shows if players are rattled or not and if they’re playing good or bad. Definitely an excellent change. Now you can see if the five-star, Blue Chip® freshmen stud is pooping his pants with his first visit to the Horseshoe or if he’s got nerves of steel. Since I started a cupcake team to buuld my dynasty with, almost all my players get rattled and play bad. I finally have a freshman DE (4-star) who has a little green in his “play” meter but he’s still rattled every game. I don’t know how well he’ll play once he gets a year under his belt but he holds his own now.
With 2004 on the Gamecube I used to get sick of using Z button + R button to flip plays or the Z-button to switch various menus. Now you flip plays and navigate menus with the C-stick. You can actually flip a play at the line of scrimmage, as well.
Recruiting has changed, now you can scout players before you try and recruit them. My first off season had me with 24 recruiting points, so I wasn’t able to try this feature out yet but there are certain stats you can’t see without scouting them first, like their discipline. Players unhappy with their playing time can transfer to a school (even your own players, so keep everyone happy with PT!) and play after sitting a season. After my first season I had a decent QB (72 OVR, better than my current 52 OVR QB) from West Viriginia transfer to my school, so I am pumped about him starting next year. That feature will either be the sweetest thing or come and bite you in the butt. Even before recruiting starts you have 100 percentage points to allocate to recruiting, training, and discipline. I’ve already had to suspend a couple players a quarter for their misbehavior. I’m not sure what ill effects bad discipline players can have on a team.
In 2004 it would say “User Pick!” if you were controlling a player that intercepted a pass, but now it also say “User Tackle for Loss!” and “User Sack!” when you control a player that does that. Both little details that mean a lot to me.
That’s about all I can think of for now. I’ll add more as I uncover more little details.