Review by Psycho Penguin

Reviewed: 08/29/00 | Updated: 07/16/01

Hard hitting gridiron fun hits the Playstation in style!

I have never really been a huge fan of the Gameday series featured on the Sony Playstation, although I have played my fair share of the games in the series over the years. So, I am by no means a Gameday expert or anything of the sort, but I have played a few of them over the years. Of all the ones I have played so far, the only one I owned (until recently), NFL Gameday '98, was my favorite of the series. It was a lot of fun, and I got into it a lot more than I did the other games in the series. So, it was my favorite in the series.

It was my favorite, until I walked into Best Buy last Saturday. I went in looking for Valkryie Profile, and came out with two other games. One of those was NFL Gameday 2001. I had not expected to buy this game, but upon playing the game at the Best Buy, I decided to purchase it. It was a really good decision, in my opinion, since it turns out that I absolutely love this game. It is one of the better football games I have ever played, and it is a ton of fun!

I have yet to play Madden 2001 (I do not even know if it has been released yet), but it is safe for me to say that it will have a tough time beating this game out. NFL Gameday 2001 has everything going for it: Great graphics, awesome commentary, killer gameplay, solid control, everything about this game is unbelievable. The game simply has to be played to be believed, because this is truly one of my all time favorite football games (even though I still prefer the Tecmo Bowl games on the NES)

The graphics in the game are pretty good, although they are certainly not the best. It is a pretty safe bet to say that the Playstation 2 version of this game will absolutely kill the Playstation version, but that does not mean anything to me, because I still like the graphics in this game a lot, and the game is one of the better looking football games I have seen yet (and it is definitely the best looking game in the series, that is for sure).

The player models in the game are solid, despite the fact that they animate pretty poorly. When I say that, I mean that there is a lot of graphical breakup during the actual gameplay. Not as much as the previous games in the series, mind you, but it still can get to be pretty noticeable. No matter what, however, I still liked the graphics in the game, mainly because they are solid and everything about the game looks great.

Overall, the graphics in the game are great, although they are not perfect. I am fully aware that the Playstation 2 version of this game is going to look a heck of a lot better, but it does not matter to me much at all, because the game is fun to play and the graphics are still pretty good. I liked the player models in the game a lot, as these are some of the most realistic player models seen yet in a football game.

Music in the game is non-existant, for the most part, it may seem, because there is no music featured during the actual game play, but if you go to the menu and title screens during the game you will hear some pretty good music. Granted, the game is not going to win any awards for best soundtrack featured in a video game or anything like that, but the music in the game is still solid. I did like most of the music in the game, but there was no background music during the actual game.

However, I do think that the decision to not feature background music during the game is a great decision, because background music could have been distracting, especially with 989 Sport’s history of including rap themes in their game. Just imagine a rap theme playing during the game, you will be distracted by that music, and it will cause you to lose focus on the task at hand, which is beating your opponent.

Sound effects in the game are solid, although they are certainly not anything revolutionary. I did like the sound effects in the game, for one reason: commentary. The commentating in the job is simply awesome, although it does have some minor flaws (like when the announcers say the same thing again and again), but that occurs in a lot of sports games so I am not going to hold it against this game too much. The rest of the sound effects in the game are good, but it is my opinion that the commentary is the star of this game when it comes to sound effects.

Overall, the music and sound effects in the game are great, although they are certainly not the best ever heard in a video game. I liked the music in the game a lot, mainly the music that played at the menu screens, because there was no music during the actual game. This is definitely a good idea, in my opinion, because the music would have caused the player to lose concentration of the actual task at hand (more than likely). The sound effects in the game are good, especially the commentary, as the commentary is the best I have heard yet in a football game, and the second best commentary I have ever heard in a sports game (NBA Live 2000 takes the cake on that one).

The thing that I was worried about in NFL Gameday 2001, when I first played it, was the control. Granted, I do like the design of the Playstation controller, as I feel it is one of the better controllers on the market today, but I was worried that the control in the game would somehow be messed up. I was really worried about that, because I think control is a vital part of any good football game. Fortunately, the control in the game was awesome, as everything was easy to input, specifically the plays.

Speaking of the plays in the game, NFL Gameday 2001 uses the same basic play-book system as every other football game. You get a play-book, and you have to choose your play via pushing commands on the controller. For instance, in order to do one play on offense, you have to go through 3 or 4 different sections, each of them accessed by a different button combination. First off, you choose shotgun, etc., then you can choose the other plays. There are a lot of plays to choose from in the game.

There are also a lot of game modes and teams featured in the game, as well. There are all 31 NFL teams featured in the game, with up to date roster changes (up to date as of May something, I believe), and the depth of the game rosters is unrivaled, as you can find out every little statistic about every player, it really is an awesome feature that I enjoyed very much. It was a really good thing, and I liked reading all of the little statistics.

The depth of this game is unrivaled when it comes to football games, mainly because of all of the game modes featured in this game. There are a ton of game modes in the game, ranging from exhibition modes to season mode, everything in the game is simply wonderful when it comes to modes. I wish there were more ''creation'' options (like create a stadium, that would have been awesome), but I am satisfied with the actual modes featured, and will not worry about the ones not featured.

Another concern I had about the game was the AI (Artificial Intelligence) of the computer opponent in the game. The Gameday series has been known to feature relatively poor computer AI, which is why I am pleased to say that the 2001 version of this great series features above average (for a change) computer AI. This is a really cool thing, and I liked it very much.

Overall, this is one of the better football games I have ever played, and it is definitely the best one I have played on the Playstation. The game depth provided, plus the outstanding fun factor of the game, equals an instant classic. Plus, my two main concerns of the actual game, the control and computer AI, turned out smooth, as both of them were surprisingly decent.

If the single player game does not make you want to replay the game much, the multi player mode will. Hook up a Multi-Tap then play with three of your friends, as this is one of the better party games featured on the Sony Playstation. The game features some decent replay value, no matter what, although I do admit that the single player mode can get rather boring and tedious at times, especially after you start blowing out every team you play. Regardless, the game still has solid replay value.

The Gameday series has always had weaknesses when it came to challenge, mainly because it was rather easy to beat up on the computer opponent, due to the relative lackluster computer AI. However, I am pleased to say that a lot of bugs in the AI were fixed for this game, and the quality of the computer opponents has increased significantly, although it is still rather easy to blow out the computer opponent after a while.

Overall, this is probably the best football game I have ever played on the Playstation, although it is certainly not my favorite sports game ever. Regardless, this game is a lot of fun, and it has replaced ’98 as my favorite game in the entire series. This game is well worth a purchase, as long as you know that this game does have some flaws, however it has improved on a lot of the flaws of the earlier games in the series and delivered a very quality game.

Good Points
-This review is not as long and tedious as a King Broccoli review.
-The graphics in the game are awesome, despite the minor flaws.
-The control in the game is a lot better than I expected.
-989 Sports fixed a lot of flaws from the previous games in the series.

Not so Good Points
-The sound effects in the game are a tad lackluster.
-The computer AI could have been improved even more.
-The control had some flaws.
-The game featured a disappointing season mode.

I Run Down the Ratings… SMcFadden style!
Storyline – Not Available
Graphics – 9.2/10
Music and Sound Effects – 8.8/10
Gameplay and Control – 8.3/10
Replay Value – Way Above Average
Challenge – A Little Above Average
Buy it? - Yeah
Overall – 8.3/10
The Last Line: This game is definitely well worth a purchase.

Rating:   4.0 - Great

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