Review by chaerulez
"Good idea, but fails to execute"
EA Sports decided to jump into the sports simulation market with NFL Head Coach. Perhaps they were influenced by Sega who already publishes Eastside Hockey Manager or Eidos who makes Championship Manager as a couple of big name companies already tapping into this market. Whatever the case, I had high expectations for EA to deliver a solid product, as they pretty much have unlimited financial resources and the experience in sports gaming. However, EA didn't exactly come through as I had hoped.
To me they just took Madden 2006 and said, "Here's our graphics engine." Sorry EA, that's not good enough for me, could've at least made an attempt to improve on something. The music is actually fitting, makes you feel like you are watching those NFL Films episodes. I'm glad EA decided not to go with a emo soundtrack like they have been doing for their football games, to me that's like putting hip hop in NHL games, I've never understood it.
This is where the game just fails to deliver. The simulation engine is basically Madden 2006 without actually playing. If you want to save some money you can just buy Madden and instead of playing the game, just call the plays and you pretty much have half of NFL Head Coach. I would've rather had the simulation engine text based if it would've provided more realistic NFL results. Not to mention you can't change the quarter time of five minutes, adding more to the unrealistic factor. There's just a lot of stuff I don't like with how the game operates. The whole interface of the game is a problem to me. How you have to assign tasks to do things, how adjusting your depth chart or changing someone's position has to be done during your office hours period. Then you can only do two of these tasks during the office hours, and you must sim to another office hours on your calender. This may not seem like a big deal, but the loading time of this game per sim is at least a few seconds. It may not seem like much, but it adds up and starts to get annoying. I also don't like how everyone's overall rating in the game is bad and then they have to practice and the rating goes up with practice and how well they fit into the system. Somehow I think Peyton Manning would still be awesome even if he was on the 49ers. Granted his stats would suffer from being on a terrible team, but the game should make the distinction of bad players and bad teams.
A game's value I believe is how much you'll actually spend playing it. For me I've played four games into my regular season with the Bears, am undefeated, but have no desire to continue playing. The game seems too tedious and a lot of the stuff is just the same. Factor that with all the previously mentioned loading times, and it just gets annoying. Plus the games create somewhat unrealistic stats, which can't happen in a sports simulation game. For example between both teams in every game, there is an average about five or six interceptions. In one game both quarterbacks threw four interceptions. Reggie Bush seems to rack up 250 yard games any time his teams games are computer simmed. Just minor things like this lead me to believe this game was rushed.
Overall (not an average 5/10):
Some people say this is good for a first try by EA. You could make an argument for that, but simply put it's not a good game. I don't believe it's worth a purchase, but if you really are a big football fan and sports simulation interests you do give it a rental to see how you like it. I think the series shows potential, but as of right now EA has a lot to work on.
Reviewer's Rating: 2.5 - Playable
Originally Posted: 07/07/06
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