NFL GameDay '99 Review

For PlayStation

Rating: Crappy
   Believe it or not, Sony has done it.  Unfortunately, "it" is not creating
another revolutionary football game.  What Sony has done is turned a 
masterpiece of a game into a big, smelly piece of crap.
   It boggles the mind to think how Sony (or "989 Sports") could take a 
football game as amazing, intense, and just plain fun as NFL GameDay '98 
and turn it into the product known as GameDay '99.  GameDay '98 was so good 
that I might have been content with a mere re-hash, a game that retains the
same feel of GameDay '98 and doesn't add many new features.  If only that 
were the case.  Instead, Sony has not only failed to improve GameDay '98, 
they have made it drastically worse.  If a hardcore NFL GameDay fan like 
myself can't stand to play GameDay '99, just imagine how much people who 
never liked GameDay are going to hate this game.  
   There are many reasons that GameDay '99 sucks, and the biggest one is 
that quite frankly, Sony screwed up the gameplay.  Running the ball is no 
longer the skillful art form it was in GameDay '98.  Instead, it inevitably
becomes a test of how quickly one can run forward and press the "juke" 
button over and over again, while simultaneously praying that the computer 
defense doesn't tackle you instantly.  The running is so much worse than 
before that it makes the passing the centerpiece of the game, and 
unfortunately the passing is just as messed up as the running. Now it's 
just a matter of pressing the "catch" button at the right time.  There's no
time to look for open receivers and get the ball to the receiver before the
defenders get to him.  Over 90% of the time, you will catch the ball if you

press the button at the right time (even if you're in heavy traffic), and 
you won't catch it if you don't.  Not the most skill-based system ever 
   And then there's the defense.  Tackling the offense is so inconsistent 
and unbalanced that the once joyous task of trying to shut down your 
opponent's offense is now a chore which will cause nothing but frustration.
Where's the logic when I can press the tackle button 5-10 yards away from 
the quarterback and get the sack?  And yet if I'm right in front of a 
receiver and press the tackle button, the player usually dives off in the 
opposite direction instead of tackling the bloody receiver.  Way too many 
tackles are broken in GameDay '99, and whether you get the tackle or not 
has nothing to do with how well you're playing.  Just press the tackle 
button and pray.  Once again, not the most skill-based system ever 
   Besides the major flaws that plague this game, there are also lots and 
lots of minor flaws that add up to make this one of the most disappointing 
sports games in history.  The classic NFL GameDay theme music is gone, 
replaced by re-mixed fragments of what was once a great football tune 
before Sony screwed it up.  The game's draft feature is still limited to 
five players, with the other 17 players being the pre-existing starters of 
the team you select.  The TV-style presentation is hardly "revolutionary" 
as it says on the box, considering that EA has been doing it (and doing it 
better) for years.  The commentary with Dick Enberg and Phil Simms is 
annoying, and sometimes it sounds like they hired a robot to play the voice
of Simms rather than hiring the person.  Big plays are followed by annoying
yelps of "Yeah, baby!" that are old the second time they happen, and 
downright maddening (no pun intended) the 27th time.  There are no fancy or
entertaining celebrations after touchdowns, just poorly-done animations and
some of the most generic rock music ever made.  The playbooks are still 
small with only 12 plays per formation, and they haven't been changed much 
(if it all) from GameDay '98.  When a fumble occurs, you don't see the ball
pop out of the player's hands and have a chance to pick it up.  Instead, 
before you even know that a fumble has taken place, the word "Turnover" 
appears on the screen and it's back to the playbook, without even knowing 
who got the ball, much less giving you a chance to recover the fumble.  
And finally, the graphics were revolutionary last year, but this year they 
don't look much better and it's arguable that Madden '99's graphics are as 
good as GameDay '99's and maybe even slightly better.
   I could go on about this for hours... wait, I have gone on about this 
for hours.  I think you get the point.  NFL GameDay '99 is the opposite of 
a good football game, which saddens me and pisses me off a great deal 
because GameDay '98 was such a brilliant game.  At least when EA Sports 
knew they had a stinker on their hands (Madden NFL '96), they had the 
bal... err, guts not to release it, but Sony has no such guts.  It's very 
clear from playing it that NFL GameDay '99 should have never been released.

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NFL GameDay '98 Review


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