Review by Sins Toxin
"Visual Concepts built a football game from the ground up for ps2, instead of a DC port .The result is a game superior to Madden in almost every way."
Last year, I was taken by surprise at how much better NBA 2k2 was than NBA Live 2002. Never in my wildest dreams did I think Sega would claim the football crown too. After all, Tiburion is a proven powerhouse. But, it happened alright. NFL 2k games have always been acclaimed for their fast, and tight gameplay. So what's been holding back Visual Concepts from beating Tiburion at the grid iron wars? I think its the Dreamcast. NFL 2k3 is gorgeous. It features a high poly count, accurate stadiums designs, fairly accurate player models, and even a little reflective mapping on the helmets. The framerate is steadier, and in higher resolution than NFL 2k2. I also noticed way more tackle animations. The budget on 2k3 was also higher than 2k2, and we got a cool little feature called weekend wrapup. Basically Sega signed a deal with ESPN, and we get to hear Dan Patrick do a little fake Sports Center show recapping games in NFL 2k3. It does get old, and is flawed, but I think it will be improved upon in the future.
Graphics: As started above, finally a true ps2 game, and it definitely shows.
Gameplay: My, and alot of other people's biggest complaint about NFL 2k2 is that it was too arcadey. You could run trick plays, and abuse the system, while in Madden, you had to play it more like a real NFL game. VC has addressed this, and NFL 2k3 is definitely a true sim now. In fact, its even more realistic thatn Madden, because the fumbles aren't so random. You don't get real lucky either. The players' stats are taken into consideration better. Another welcomed addition is the A.I., sliders, which provide fully customizable A.I. There is also a detailed on the fly audibling system using the analog sticks to control. I also like how you can charge up your linemen before the snap, so they can do special tackles. One of my favorite features is bluff mode, which allows you to hide your player from a a friend in 2 player mode. One of my few complaints bis the camera. The standard mode isn't good at all. I like Iso best, but it isn't perfect either. The weather settings are like last year, except you can actually set the exact tempature (only 1-100 Farenheit though), instead of just settings. NFL 2k games, that everyone liked. With all these improvements, VC still left the fast paced, fun engine of the old NFL 2k games
Gameplay modes: Also new to the 2k series is situation mode. Basically, you can create any possible scenario concerning the score, time remaining, field position, and number of downs left. There's also also the old modes in NFL 2k2. The franchise mode is back and better than ever. This year, this is an intricate scouting mode. Also, you can actually put people on your trading block for other teams to make offers for!
Sound: The game's major weakpoint. Not that it matters much anyway. There are 28 songs, but none are very good.
Announcers: Not that active. Which is good and bad. They don't say the same phrases over and over like in Madden, but they also don't make many situation specific comments like Madden.
Value: Another of NFL 2K3's huge improvement of previous installments. Online play, and Sega Sports challenge add tons of replay. Online is self explanatory. Sega Sports challenge, when enabled, allows you to only play quick start games. After each game, you are given a code which you can enter at segasports.com, then you will have your single game records stored. After you have played 5 games, and entered 5 codes, you get a per game average. You then, will be given a ranking!
Besides run defense, and slightly deeper playbooks (NFL2k3 really has all the most important plays tho), NFL 2K3 is better than Madden in every way. In closing, now that Visual Concepts finally got an even playing field, it came up big, and changed the minds of even the most hardcore Madden fans like me
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 08/25/02, Updated 08/25/02
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