Review by templarjh

"Just because it's the only college game for the Sega..."

...doesn't mean it's flawless. Please don't get me wrong - this is a great game, and you'll almost certainly have a lot of fun with it. It's just that in every reviewable category there seems to be some glaring flaw, the sorts of things that aren't really significant by themselves but are unforgivable enough to warrant a lower score. The game is just great - but it got so many little details wrong. Every reviewable category is great overall, but I can't help adding separate sections for flaws.

In any case - a summary of this game doesn't seem necessary. This is college football, and just about everyone you can think of is included, from big names like Miami to relative unknowns like Troy State.

Graphics: very nice and crisp overall. Visual Concepts has added more movement since NFL 2K1 too. There's a bit more movement in the defensive line. Especially welcome is the movement in the stands and on the sidelines. It's really noticeable if you've played an earlier Sega Sports football title, and you'll appreciate it. Tackles look painful, and the motion capture is just extraordinary.

However, why is this the NFL 2K graphics engine? This game was released well after NFL 2K1! The only possible explanation I can think of is VMU space. This game takes up a whopping 192 VMU slots. Maybe, to keep memory in tow while being able to add the sideline and crowd movement (not to mention the fact that this game has many more teams than NFL 2K1) they had to compensate with the older engine. There's also a lot of pop-up in the textures, and it just lacks the refined appearance of Visual Concepts' newer games.

Sound: again, very nice overall. Nearly all the college fight songs are included, which is pretty much essential if you want to get that college setting. Most of the chatter in the announcer dialogue and the player trash talk is recycled from NFL 2K1, but that's not really a bad thing since it was so good to start with, and many new comments have been added.

But...oh man, I swear I haven't listened to announcers this boring since Joe Montana Sports Talk Football. I mean it. I want to check these guys for a pulse. Also, while they've included most fight songs, a few are left out. Perhaps worse, the game will replay fight songs ad infinitum. I swear if I hear ''Boomer Sooner'' again I'm going to go insane - and I'm a soon-to-be alumni of Oklahoma. One small peeve: any college video game without the Florida Seminoles crowd chanting that familiar war-cry mantra will never score a 10 in my book.

Gameplay: if all else fails, here's where the game really gets it right. There just aren't any real problems here. In fact, things have been improved since NFL 2K1. The computer defense will cover your passes a little better, although you'll still complete most of them, if you know the proper routes to take. The option play - an absolute must for a college game - works great, even though you're in trouble if you want to run as the QB. Most of them are slow, and you can't do a speed boost without doing a lateral. The computer opponent will be easy to beat with some practice, but that's the case in just about any game.

Overall: 7/10 I wish I could give this game a higher score. It's really fun, and it's just so good in so many ways. Nothing drags it down except for the myriad of annoying little details. Why is it, when I pick the OU Sooners, that I have to kick off with my punter? Why do the announcers, after every score, repeat the number of an injured player that was hurt on an earlier score (this was a problem in NFL 2K1 too)? Why do some textures pop in and out? Why does the computer do screen passes so much?

I still recommend this game, despite all this. The ''legacy mode,'' the multi-season game, is great. There are so many teams in this game! You will have fun with it! Just try not to look too closely, or the problems will get to you.

Reviewer's Rating:   3.5 - Good

Originally Posted: 09/26/02, Updated 09/26/02

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