Review by Iceman
"Still a great game, but has seem to lost some fun."
The Good: The graphics are superb as ever and you can tell that they went over last year’s player models to make them cleaner and concise. The sound is pretty much the same, but the commentary isn't quite as smart as they are made out to be. Playbooks are real with the teams, and the Franchise mode is to die for. The running game has improved dramatically and you have to mix it up to get the ball down the field, which is great. It is pretty much last years game, but some good and bad changes did take place. The network play works great despite my slow 26,400 connections, but the lag time seems to get better after the 1st quarter of play. A really great feature about this game is that you notice a big difference when you get a player who should stand out. For example, my return team in my franchise mode wasn’t doing so hot, so I traded players to get Deion Sanders on my squad and all of the sudden I’m averaging 10+ more yards on my punt returns! The same goes with rushing as well because I moved the chains a lot easier with Edgerrin James over Duce Staley crediting his massive tackle breaking skills.
The Bad: Ok, the fun that has somehow disappeared is in the passing game. What it seems they have done is switched the passing game of this year with the running game of last year. Running is almost too easy even on the all-pro setting. However, the passing is virtually impossible even on the rookie setting! Remember when your on you 10 yard line, the game is about to end, and you want to throw a big long bomb down to Moss for that final touchdown? Well, it's pretty much gone and the only way to get a sure fire pass in is to run a straight 90 degree route and bullet the pass. Also, if your double covered, consider the ball already picked off even if you have an awesome receiver such as Moss. They also concentrated on the bullet pass a little too much and it seems that you can bullet 60-yard passes! I was a little disappointed about this, but that’s life I guess. Oh yes, and remember how the commentary mentioned above isn’t that smart? Just take a good kicker (such as Vanderjagt) and get a maxed bar on the kickoff to get the ball all the way out of the end zone. This will cause the returner to step out because of having to reach back so far to catch it. The funny thing is, they say “Wow! I’m not sure what he was trying to do there, but he gets a couple and steps out!” The playbooks are great and don’t get me wrong, but I wish they would have done what Madden does with the custom playbooks so you can have a little of your team plays, original 2K, and some custom plays on 1 playbook with the chance to use them in franchise mode as well since you would have to change your playbook just about every season anyway.
The ugly: The thing that is really super annoying, is that the cameras move (when a pass is made) a different way so you have a harder time seeing where your receivers and defenders are. Your receivers will pretty much drop the ball if you try to control them so I just bullet a pass and let the computer catch it since it is much easier. I also remember when I liked playing defense on the other game since you actually had a chance to play defense on the pass. The computer will always run the ball regardless how many points they are down and when they do pass it, it's never down field and you'll very rarely see picks from your side. Penetration of the line is pretty cool considering they threw in the advanced spins and moves the linemen do, but it seems no matter what you do, the QB will always get the ball off right before your about to sack him down (not to mention their receivers always seem to be open too). If you’re the QB, you have about 3 seconds to do something with the ball because your line will let someone through just about every time. Your cornerbacks also look foolish since opposing receivers will always take you to school with their short slant passes and the CB efforts to knock down the ball are pitiful since they wont jump and put their hand in the air to knock it down (like they did in 2K).
Overall: I give it an 8/10 because the lack of fun that it left out on defense and offense with not being able to really control your receivers to make that catch in double coverage. However, it is still the best football game out there and is worth buying for the online play and Franchise mode. I tend to over hype the bad points of the game, but this is pretty much just letting you know the feel of the game and I hope it doesn’t stop you from purchasing it.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 09/14/00, Updated 06/14/03
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