NFL 2K Review

For Dreamcast

Rating: Good
   NFL 2K is a huge leap forward for football games from a technology 
standpoint, but it's actually a step backward from a gameplay standpoint.  
   The first thing I noticed about the game is that the graphics are simply 
amazing.  Not only do the players look real, but they move realistically 
and act realistically.  There was a long period of time in which there was 
something new that made me say "wow" to myself just about every play. 
Eventually this wow factor wears off, but NFL 2K is still the most 
graphically impressive football game on the market any way you look at it.  
The instant replays, which automatically start after big plays, are great 
thanks to camera views that are zoomed in enough to make you drop your jaw 
in amazement, but still let you see what's happening.  The tackling 
animations are also great, but for some reason the players making the 
tackles usually get up slower than the player who got tackled.  The game 
also uses the same old "getting up slowly" animation way too much.
   NFL 2K's sound is also incredible at first, with the most fluid and 
realistic announcers yet in any sports game.  The announcers even tell 
jokes like, "That pass looked like a drunk duck with a poor sense of 
direction!"  At first I was amazed that the commentators had so much to say, 
but before too long I was annoyed by how much the commentators have to say.  
Given that the commentators seem to have several things to say about each 
and every play in the game (and sometimes they're still talking about the 
last play when the next one has already started), sometimes I wish they 
would just shut up.  After a couple games, you'll probably hear most of the 
commentators' phrases, as it's not like Madden where they have unique 
things to say about different individual players.  Unfortunately, there's 
no option to make the commentators less talkative; you can only turn them 
off or on.  And if you turn them off, the game is too quiet due to the 
apparently half-asleep crowds.  As for the game's music, there's only one 
music track and it's pretty short, but it's still a great tune and the best 
football game music since the original NFL GameDay.
   NFL 2K's playbooks are pretty small, but it's nice that each play is 
actually drawn out on the field so you can clearly see who's going to go 
where and how far that is from the first-down marker.  It's also nice to be
able to choose your plays on the VMU so that your friends can't see what
play you're picking in multi-player games.  
   NFL 2K has a decent enough stat package, but there is no Franchise Mode 
or anything similar to the Franchise Mode to give the game the kind of 
depth that makes you want to play it for months on end.  Also, kicking 
field goals is a guessing game of how far left or right to send the kick.  
There's nothing more frustrating than driving down the field 60 yards and 
then missing an easy 35-yard field goal just because slightly moving the 
directional arrow caused the ball to slice to the left in the air.
   The defensive game is fairly well done, but the same can't be said for 
the offense.  Consistently passing the ball well is made un-necessarily 
hard by defensive backs who all manage to swat away passes and make 
interceptions like they're Deion Sanders.  Finding an open man and getting 
the ball to him is still very possible, it's just a little harder than it 
probably should be when you're going against some the league's worst 
cornerbacks and safeties.
   What really kills NFL 2K (and what makes it a step backward from a 
gameplay standpoint) is its horribly unbalanced running game.  Regardless 
of whether you're in a single-player game or a multi-player game, and 
regardless of whether the difficulty level is on Rookie or All-Pro, running 
the ball is insanely difficult.  The defensive AI is so good that it gives
the defense an unfair advantage over the offense and cripples the game.  
Passing the ball is so much more likely to get you first downs that there's 
no point in running the ball, and because of this the game quickly breaks 
down into a one-dimensional shoot-out in which almost every play is a pass 
play.  That was fine in 1992 when I was playing Tecmo Super Bowl, but 
that's not acceptable in 1999 when there are plenty of football games on 
the market that have decent running games.
   NFL 2K could have been a revolutionary, must-have football game if it 
weren't for its flawed passing game and its absolutely worthless running 
game.  I'll take the depth, balance, and inferior graphics of Madden 2000
over NFL 2K any day.

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