Review by miffo

"I just can't force myself to like it..."

What was I expecting? I don’t know, but it certainly wasn’t this. I was hoping for something . . . fun. And this is not fun! I’m not a football fan, and I’m sure I would enjoy this game if I were. But I’m not, and I just can’t force myself to enjoy this game. So here are MY thoughts on it, from a non-football fan’s perspective:

I remember when football games were fun . . .

Back in the 2D days, developers new about the word “fun”, also known as amusement, entertainment, pleasure, joy, etc. I played some football games that were, for lack of a better word, fun. I knew the rules of football even though I rarely watch it and, *ahem*, never play any sports in the real world. Even the NFL Blitz series was exciting for a while, despite the fact that it wore thin too soon.

Why was it exciting? Because it stuck to the arcade roots that make games fun.

Visual Concepts’ other game, NBA 2K1, was a good game in my opinion. It was easy to pick up and play, just how I was hoping its football counterpart would be. The developers obviously did their homework ahead of time by making a true football simulation. The controls are realistic as with the rest of the game, however the game is too much of a simulator for my tastes. A good videogame needs the correct balance between realism and fun-NFL 2K1 does not have a good balance.

When bad games look soooo good!

Take a look at some of the best visuals ever on the Dreamcast. Each player is crafted to perfection with graphics ranking up there with Shenmue and Phantasy Star Online. The only difference is that Shenmue and PSO are good games! I was shocked when I first saw the detail they put into the team selection interface. Then I saw the stadium, the referee, the players . . . then I played it.

The graphics alone will tell you how much effort was put into making this a good game. And I suppose it would be a good game, if only I liked football. Then again, I’m not much of a basketball fan and I enjoyed NBA 2K1. Still, I give kudos to Visual Concepts for the graphics. The music isn’t half bad either, and the interface is nice and easy to get around-it’s even football oriented!

Multiplayer can be fun . . . or embarrassing . . .

I first played NFL 2K1 with my friend after we were getting bored of NFL Blitz 2001. I accidentally forgot to bring a second controller, so we could only play with one person at a time. After a round of Rock/Paper/Scissors, he had the chance to play the so-called “masterpiece” first. I, on the other hand, used the restroom.

When I returned he said to me, “This game is boring, let’s play Blitz!” What did I do? I laughed! Hearing so much hype made me believe that this game would blow everything else out of the water, but you know what? Somewhere along the way it capsized in its own water before ever getting the chance.

What else can make multiplayer fun? Two words: online play. NFL 2K1 launched at the same time of the SegaNet launch, being one of the Dreamcast’s first online games! While not perfect, it was revolutionary for console multiplayer. Once you’re online, finding a game to join isn’t too hard. Challenge someone, and you are ready to go once they agree! Here you get to meet all the people who proudly proclaim, “I’m nude” or “I mix pills!” Talking to these guys is first-class entertainment as it is, but you could easily have the same fun in any chat room on a computer. Is there anything that makes chatting special? No, not really, and unfortunately playing isn’t as enjoyable as it first seems. It can be exciting playing online for the first time as the game does support 4 on 4 games across two Dreamcasts-the problem lies in the fact that you have to do it over a 56K modem. Games can get pretty laggy by the second half, which really ruins the online experience. You’d be better off playing offline, if your friends are willing to do that.

I usually agree with others’ opinions.

Yet I’m the about only person to give this game anything lower than an 8! Can I really be the only one to dislike this game? It’s doubtful, even though I’ve never seen a bad review. It seems to me that the only people who might like this game are hardcore football fans who wouldn’t have much time to play videogames. That’s apparently not the case, but I’m sure someone out there agrees with me, right?

Or maybe it’s just because people that wouldn’t like this game wouldn’t play it.

Bells and whistles don’t make the game, but can they at least save this one?

No. There are nicely added extras, which improve the game, but nothing can make me want to play this. It’s nice that they have a Create-a-player/team mode, and that the weather changes occasionally. VMU play calling is also a really cool feature, even though it doesn’t especially affect the game.

The game has quite a few options like Career and Franchise modes, which might make the game more interesting. It’s just that the gameplay itself isn’t very fun, so none of the other options make it anymore enjoyable.

Bottom line: Don’t shoot yourself in the foot. If you are planning to buy this, at least do yourself the favor of renting it first. If you have never liked sports games then you won’t like this. If you don’t like very simmy games then you won’t like this. Even if you have liked some sports games, you might not necessarily like this game.

But if you love football, then this is the game for you. It’s by far the most realistic football game ever, and it’s good for the hardcore fan. Rent it . . . if you are losing sleep from it, then go ahead and buy it. I’m sure you won’t regret it so I won’t stop you. If you feel that you are falling asleep like me, then return it.


Reviewer's Score: 4/10 | Originally Posted: 05/27/01, Updated 05/27/01


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