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Which Console Did You Buy/Receive Over The Holidays?

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Game Profile
PlayStation 2
EA Sports
EA Sports
GENRE: Sports
PLAYERS:   1-4
August 21, 2001
Madden NFL 12

Madden NFL 12

Madden NFL 12

Madden NFL 12

Madden NFL 12

More in this Series
 Written by John Scalzo  on August 28, 2001

Review: Are you ready for some football!

There are a few things you can count on every year. Christmas. Paying taxes. The Detroit Tigers will suck. Jennifer Lopez will release a crappy movie. And EA Sports will create another entry in the greatest sports series ever: Madden NFL Football. And Madden 2002 is just one more in that long, hopefully never-ending line.

The first thing that you see about Madden 2002 is the amazing graphics. I know games shouldn't be judged on graphics alone, but just like last year, Madden 2002 remains probably the best looking game on the PS2. I could go on and on about the motion captured player movements like trash talking and the bouncy step they all have coming out of the tunnel. Or that real look in their eyes. But for the sake of sparing you the breakdown of all the slightest tweaks made to the graphics, I'll just say this game has some of the most photo realistic graphics I've ever seen. It feels like a Fox telecast, all you need are the commercials. But some of these little graphical touches help make the game great, stuff like down markers, head coach reactions, and the correct time and score on the scoreboard, nice stuff.

And the sound effects totally back up the incredible visuals. The cheering crowd, players tackling each other, the PA announcer, the peanut guy, everything. And of course the announcing team of John Madden, Pat Summerall, Jim Brown, and Lesley Visser provide not just play by play, but ACCURATE play by play.

So it looks great, sounds great, but how does it play? Well, just about perfect. The controls will seem like second nature to Madden veterans. Although beginners will need to study the instruction manual like a playbook because there is practically not a single football move you can do that is not included in this game. It's a little overwhelming to first time players (and even vets that haven't picked up a Madden game since last football season), but the instruction manual is clear and concise to teach you everything (or just to jog your memory). And if reading the instruction manual isn't your thing, the Training Mode gives you the 411 on everything (I just wrote 411, I must be sick).

Madden 2002 plays great, but there's also more options than you can shake a cocaine straw at (if you saw Any Given Sunday, you'll understand the reference). Let's see, in addition to the Training Mode there's Exhibition Mode. Season Mode. Franchise Mode. Two Minute Drill, you're put on your own 20 and have to drive 80 yards for a touchdown in two minutes. If you still have time on the clock, try to score again, and again, and again. There are also more teams than you'll ever be able to play as. Madden 2002 has all 32 NFL teams, even the expansion Texans (and I'll resist that tired joke about those uncreative Texans actually naming their team the Texans... oops). We also have all the NFL Europe teams, Super Bowl teams, All-Madden teams, and All-Time teams for every NFL team. If that's not enough, you can go through the deep Create-a-Team Mode and win the Super Bowl with the Kentucky Rednecks, the Los Angeles OJ's (complete with a bloody knife on their helmet), or whatever else you'd like to call your team.

If that's not enough you can also try the freakishly deep Create a Player Mode, so deep you can choose what kind of pads they wear, whether they have a nasal strip or not, and give them a five foot, red afro. You can also earn tokens by playing Training Mode, Two Minute Drill and performing Madden Challenges (various things like sacking the quarterback, rushing for 100 yards, getting an interception, etc). When you collect 100 tokens (cue Mario Bros. 1-Up sound) you can trade them in for Madden Cards, that will unlock secrets like hidden stadiums, legendary players, hidden teams, and "cheat" cards that will give you superhuman abilities during games. I've loved the Madden Cards feature since it was introduced in Madden 2000 and Madden 2002 uses it just as well. Whew, with all these options and modes, it almost makes you wish for a time when games were simpler, but not quite, because all of these modes are easy to use and add to the total package that makes Madden 2002 fun. It could literally keep you busy until Madden 2003 and you still wouldn't have tried everything.

But not everything is perfect in Madden 2002. The kicking system is as confusing as ever. I've been confused by trying to perform a kickoff since Madden 99. And the load times are pathetic; they take forever. It feels like an eternity compared to the five-second load times in some games.

Bottom Line
Well, after managing to insult probably a good 50% of our readership, this review is coming to an end. I can't say enough good things about this game. Its just football the way it was meant to be played on a video game console. There's nothing truly earth shattering that separate Madden 2001 and Madden 2002, other than updated rosters Two Minute Drill, the Training Mode and a few minor tweaks. But there is no better football game on the PlayStation 2 today.

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