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Are you going to buy an Xbox One X This Holiday Season?

Yes
No
Maybe
Hope to Receive it as a Gift


Game Profile
FINAL SCORES
9.5
Visuals
9.5
Audio
9.5
Gameplay
10
Features
10
Replay
10
INFO BOX
PLATFORM:
Dreamcast
PUBLISHER:
Sega
DEVELOPER:
Visual Concepts
GENRE: Sports
PLAYERS:   1-4
RELEASE DATE:
September 18, 2001
IN THE SERIES
All-Pro Football 2K8

All-Pro Football 2K8

ESPN NFL 2K5

ESPN NFL 2K5

ESPN NFL Football

More in this Series
 Written by Ryan Smotherman  on September 25, 2001

Review: Still better than Madden.


Visual Concepts' NFL 2K series has been nothing short of phenomenal. Its first iteration was proclaimed the greatest football game ever, yes, even better than that one EA franchise. You'd think that after that the guys at Sega would just throw out a rehashed version with nothing but updated rosters, but as we all know, that certainly didn't happen. The second installment (2K1), which we all know and love, blew everyone away. It contained a totally rehauled gameplay engine, improved graphics, and above all, online play. In fact, it is so amazing it has become the standard in which all future football games are to be judged. Now enter NFL 2K's third installment. The game is special in the fact that it is to be the first to go multi-platform, meaning of course everybody gets a piece (just like Matt's mom, haha? not funny). But for those of us who are sticking around for the Dreamcast's last hoorah (this is to be the last NFL 2K for the console), you can't go wrong here. While the improvements aren't as vast as last years, it's worth a purchase regardless.

I'm going to hold off on the mindless rambling for now, let us talk about how this puppy plays. If you were a huge follower of NFL 2K1, you'll feel right at home with this year's masterpiece. They play almost exactly alike, and as you could guess, this isn't necessarily a bad thing. However, the running and passing game has been tweaked a little. Foremost is how your running back will handle the ball, well, it's basically identical to the afore mentioned version. The difference is that the cheese is gone, yes, the cheese. In 2K1 the jump and spin moves were extremely effective, when performed it seemed as if a defender would just magically go through you, which in turn led to some big yardage. This is a good thing for some and bad for others, but it's also true to life. No longer will players magically mold through one another, it makes the running engine a tad tougher, but it's still very efficient.

When it comes to passing, one word I could use would be ?difficult?. This of course comes from the vastly increased A.I. (artificial intelligence for you dumb jocks out there) Cheers to Visual Concepts on this one. If your not playing on rookie mode, the computer puts up a hell of a fight for the ball. Almost too hard if you ask me, the first few times I played on the Pro mode I was shut out. This is great though; it influences you to dig deep into the game, increasing the already incredible replay value.

The game plays pretty flawlessly on both sides of the ball (you really have to love the increased tackling on the defensive side). However, there is one problem I should mention. The players seem slower than last years version, especially some of the players that you'd expect to zip down the field at a million miles an hour. A good example would be Eddie George (sorry, I live in TN, I have to use him as an example), now he's certainly not the fastest running back in the world, but he's a lot faster than this game portrays him as being. This aspect is a little disappointing? eh, but life goes on I guess.

For all you playbook junkies out there, expect a few new plays to be at your disposal. Just as always, every team has a unique one to call there own. Adding to the games difficult is the fact that the money plays are pretty much non-existent. For example, the Titan's (yes, TN again) Flea Flicker play was the ultimate money play in 2K1, I'd say it worked about 90% of the time, usually resulting in a touchdown. Not so this time around, the computer is all over it. I'm a big fan of this whole taking the cheesy plays out of the game aspect; it adds a lot more competition and strategy in the multiplayer mode.

The options department is just how you remember it, nothing really new here. You have your Exhibition, Season, and Franchise modes. Plus, the now infamous Online play, still intact and as good as ever. All the customizable features are back as well. Including create a play, player, and team. Each and every one of these modes and options combine to create one of the most replayable games ever, and that's always something football games have going for them; they last for months at a time.

Just like 2K1 was compared to 2K, the graphics haven't changed much. This is called hardware limitation people, there's only so much you can do with a system (except for the Xbox, it has unlimited power, hehe). Yet, there are a lot of new, amusing animations. Which includes new tackle and quarterback motion-captures, but the QB ones are easily the most entertaining. For instance, instead of the QB raring back and tossing a bomb 70 yards down the field with no problem, he now stops and takes a step forward when he throws, this leaves you vulnerable for a split second and usually results in a sack, but it's nice nonetheless. But that is nothing compared to the new roll out animation. When you pick a play that utilizes this, the QB snaps that ball and immediately takes off to either the left or right, it is just so smooth and cool looking that it's hard to explain, you must see this for yourself. Aside from that, the overall look of the game does seem a little sharper, and the players seem to be carrying a few more polygons. Additionally, I find the new menus to be well designed and spiffy.

The NFL 2K series is not only showered in acclaim for its great gameplay, but also for its unparalleled commentary. Peter O'Keefe and Dan Stevens (voiced by Terry McGovern and Jay Styne) are back again, now while they might not be the coolest guys in the world (Dan just loves to talk about food), man can they commentate a football game. Madden and Summerall can't come close to the variety and smooth nature of 2K2's annotations. Though for some reason they seem to repeat things more often than in last year's version. Other sounds include the standard grunts and smack talking you'd expect from a football title, and of course the bass rumbling hits of the tackles. One problem I have with the sound is the audience. They don't seem as enthusiastic as they should be, come on people! You're at a National Football League game; cheer your asses off for God sakes! But sadly, that isn't the case. Hopefully next year's version will have increased crowd noises, just for the simple fact that is makes the overall game more exciting.

Bottom Line
NFL 2K2's leap over 2K1 isn't as immense a leap that 2K1 was over 2K (man, that's rather confusing), but it still shows that the series is evolving quite nicely. It now contains one of the most impressive A.I.'s in the history of football games, this alone takes the games quality up a notch. Do I recommend that you all who purchased 2K1 last season to go pick up 2K2? Most definitely, not just for the updated rosters, but also for the improved play mechanics. So, until Barry Sanders comes out of retirement to destroy the all time rushing yards record, make mine Sega's NFL 2K series.


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