Even though ESPN NFL 2K5 came out over 17 years ago, its impact on the sports gaming world is still being felt by today by thousands, if not millions of gamers. ESPN NFL 2K5 was a monumental game for many reasons when it was released in 2004. On its own, it was an excellent presentation of NFL simulation football that many people, including myself, feel has never been matched. It was the first NFL simulation game to be sold for just $19.99 right out of the game. And it was the last NFL simulation football game to not have “Madden NFL” in its title. In my opinion, it was the best NFL football game ever made and there are some people out there that would go further in saying that it was the best sports game ever created.
It was a sad day when Electronic Arts ended the NFL simulation game competition when it entered into an exclusivity deal with the NFL in late 2004. This effectively ended the NFL 2K series. Thankfully, there were still gamers within the community that continued to update rosters throughout the years to the point where even this current 2021 season is represented. Yet there has been a lot that has changed in the NFL since 2004. Teams like the Seattle Seahawks, Atlanta Falcons, Tennessee Titans, and Arizona Cardinals have redesigned their jerseys. The Dallas Cowboys now play in AT&T Stadium instead of Texas Stadium, the Rams are back in Los Angeles and play at SoFi Stadium, and the Raiders are now in Las Vegas. Yes, roster updates have done a great deal in providing longevity for NFL 2K5, but is it enough? Enter ESPN NFL 2K5 Resurrected.
I found out about ESPN NFL 2K5 Resurrected initially back in July when I came across LostsouL’s YouTube Channel. He had uploaded NFL 2K5 content for a long time, but one day I saw some videos about a project that he and other members of NFL 2K5 community were working on. When I took time off from blogging and creating videos in August, I decided to investigate further. I discovered that LostsouL and other contributors had found a way to change helmets, uniforms, team banners, stadium details, logos, menu backgrounds, and even the color of Chris Berman’s hair. As a longtime NFL 2K5 player myself, this was huge. Eventually, I decided to download the mod and try it out myself.
From the moment I booted the game up, I was blown away. Because I often play NFL 2K5, I was able to recognize the changes very quickly. And I appreciated the work that went into this because NFL 2K5 was not created to be moddable. Looking at the above picture, it is easy for an NFL fan to notice that the uniforms for the Rams and Seahawks are not fully accurate. But it is a great start. On the ESPN NFL 2K5 Community Discord, efforts are underway to change the number font for the jerseys, which will go a long way to getting accurate current uniforms into the game. I believe the effort to create something this close to reality was commendable and worthy of appreciation. And it is a huge improvement over the default NFL 2K5 that brings the game up to date in 2021.
The mod’s biggest drawback is that it is only playable on PC through the PCSX2 (PS2) emulator. This means that you have to upload your own PlayStation 2 BIOS and also create an ISO file from your ESPN NFL 2K5 PlayStation 2 disc to play the mod legally. Furthermore, the PCSX2 emulator requires a strong enough computer to handle it. If you have a PC that can play the latest games at “High” settings, then you should be fine. Before I bought my Alienware PC, I had problems running the emulator on my previous computer. Perhaps this will be playable on consoles and other platforms one day. But for now, a PC is the only way to play it. It may also be playable on a Mac, but I don’t know for sure.
Big thanks to ESPN NFL 2K5 Resurrected mod team for making this a reality. And another big thank you to them because they played a huge role in the growth of my YouTube channel in September. The video that I posted on the mod more than tripled my YouTube subscribers, attracted more than 35,000 views, and had a like-dislike ratio of 1200-11 in less than a month. I thought the video would be of interest to sports gamers. But I had no idea that it would blow up that big. It is quickly approaching 80,000 total views.
It’s reasons like this that I love being a PC gamer. Mods are the number one reason why I will always prefer this platform to consoles. There are just so many cool and wonderful things out there that these talented modders add to the games to keep them alive and relevant. I can’t appreciate them enough. It is likely that I wouldn’t continue to play games like Battlefield 2, Star Wars Battlefront II, NBA 2K14, Marvel Ultimate Alliance, and many others if mods did not exist. Mods are simply amazing.
If you have a PC, you can check out the ESPN NFL 2K5 Resurrected Mod at https://github.com/lostsoul63b/NFL2K5-Resurrected. When you download the “Full Pkg” file, it will contain a PDF that will give you instructions on how to get it up and working on your system. The Discord mentioned earlier is a great play to go if you need some troubleshooting advice. NFL 2K5 still lives. And if modders are capable of doing this now, what in the world will they be able to do in the future?