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Which game will you play the most in February?

The Order 1886
Majoras Mask 3D
Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate
Kirby and the Rainbow Curse

Game Profile
PlayStation 2
Visual Concepts
GENRE: Sports
PLAYERS:   1-8
November 19, 2001
All-Pro Football 2K8

All-Pro Football 2K8



ESPN NFL Football

More in this Series
 Written by Adam Woolcott  on September 17, 2001

First Impressions: Move over Madden, you're about to get sacked!

For the last 2 years, Sega's Dreamcast has been the home of perhaps the best game of football for any console: the NFL 2K series from Visual Concepts. However on the Dreamcast, they had little competition, besides the not so hot NFL Quarterback Club series.

But with the passing of the Dreamcast and the rebirth of Sega as the biggest 3rd party publisher in the world, the NFL 2K series, beginning with NFL 2K2, will finally be on even grounds on all consoles, against the very popular Madden NFL series by EA Sports. And on PlayStation 2, NFL 2K2 looks to topple the red-hot Madden NFL 2002 as the best game in town. And from the looks of things, it's got a very real chance of accomplishing that.

First off, online play will not be included in the PS2 version this year, due to Sony's lack of an online strategy at the current time of release. While that's an obvious let down for those who enjoyed the online play of NFL 2K1 on Dreamcast (NFL 2K2 on DC has online play still however), it doesn't detract from the non-online features.

The franchise mode is going to be revamped to compete with Madden's outstanding counterpart; like Madden, NFL 2K2 is going to implement the new Houston Texans expansion team into the fray for the 2002 season, complete with an expansion draft to select players. Unfortunately at this time VC hasn't implemented the realignment changes that the NFL is arranging for the real 2002 season ? though that could change before the release of the full version. On the whole franchise mode will allow up to 50 seasons of play. That's a lot.

Besides that, the prerequisite modes of play make appearances in NFL 2K2, as well as the usual suspect titled Create-A-Player. In short, nothing out of the ordinary for a football simulation.

The gameplay seems to remain the same from the NFL 2K of the past, except for a few changes. For one, VC has gone all out to make a way to stop the rather annoying ?wall? effect, where a running back misses his hole and instead rams up against the big linemen stopping the RB in his tracks. Now they've put in an animation where the back instead spins off and maintains the speed and direction of the run. This is much needed.

The playbook end has changed allowing for a new way to call plays. Instead of picking a formation and a play, the game mixes in a chance to use different packages of players for a particular series of plays. This adds much depth to the play calling and puts in more strategy.

On the visual end, it's obvious that NFL 2K2 won't fall too far from the tree the Dreamcast versions did, in terms of overall style. Obviously this version of 2K2 will be much enhanced to take advantage of the power of PlayStation 2, but it will have the distinctive style of the NFL 2K series. There'll be a huge load of new animations, and the stadiums will have sneaky little advertisements for various real-life products (aahh..product placement for advertising).

Also revamped completely is the presentation ? personally I was never a fan of how stats were tracked. They were cluttered and not fun to sort. With NFL 2K2 however, they brought in a professional stat-like-guy to help Visual Concepts arrange the statistical information in a much more presentable, easy to swallow format, similar to what you'd see in a Madden NFL game. Not only is this good for stat freaks, it makes the game seem that much more like a real NFL broadcast on television. Mix in full play-by-play and color commentary (not sure if it's the same people who did the past NFL games on Dreamcast) and you'll have a presentation similar if not better than anything EA Sports dishes out.

Final Thoughts
Even in its early stages, NFL 2K2 looks exceptionally sharp for PlayStation 2. Considering how great NFL 2K's gameplay is on Dreamcast, there's no reason to believe that it'll be any different on PS2. Will it be better than Madden? Hard to tell now, but I'd place my bets on ?yes.? Look out Madden, Sega's on your tail, and the war is on.

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