Microsoft releases astandout football game, but
the question is how well does it stand out?
There are a lot of football games to choose from, and NFL
Fever 2002 really delivers. When I first gazed upon the graphics, I was
more than impressed. Before playing, I didn't know if it could live up
to the hype, but I was completely wrong.
The game was built from the ground up to take advantage
of the Xbox hardware, so you won't see this kind of visual quality in
any other football titles at launch. The helmets look like real helmets,
with reflects that change according to lighting position; the stadiums
are amazingly detailed, and each character in the stands are completely
three dimensional (no more cardboard cut-outs); and of course everybody's
favorite, three-dimensional cheerleaders!
Even the people on the sidelines are modeled in the third
dimension, from camera crew (the camera will move as you move forwards
or backwards) to coaches and players. It all looks great, even down to
the turf and weather. The snow will give the impression that it's real
snow as it settles on the grass. Even when you switch to nighttime, everything
looks great, even the lights! Everything flows with enough detail making
me begging for more.
Actual player's faces don't completely match their Fever
counterparts, they do resemble them in size and in most facial features.
Players with mustaches or beards will have them in game and completely
noticeable. The games characters will even do shout out or talk after
or before a play, in which you'll clearly see. You'll also notice that
your favorite player will be wearing the same gear he wears in the real
sport, which adds to the immense graphic detail experienced in NFL Fever
When I came upon the audio, the first thing I heard was
the commentary. This was my only complaint, although not even to spoil
the insanely fun game. If you've ever played the NFL2K series, you'll
all remember how lively the commentary was, and how it sounded real,
talking about what was happening and they enjoyed it (even poking jokes).
However, in NFL Fever 2002, the commentary falls a little flat this area.
There are no jokes, no lively chatter from them; you'll mainly hear these
kinds of statements throughout the game from the commentary, "He picked
up 46 yards," or "That was an amazing play," and it ends. I was wondering
what happened to the rest of the line. Even though the commentary does
respond to plays, it is too short and not as lively as hoped for.
The player's audio is thankfully better than the commentary,
They'll shout out after plays, with their mouths clearly moving. That's
not a bad thing, because it makes you feel even more in the game, with
the crowd's roars responding to each play. You get a touchdown, you hear
cheers; in the middle of a play you'll also hear either "offense" or "defense" being
shouted from the stands. The games audio could stand a little improvement,
but it still doesn't ruin the after all affect of the game.
Visuals and sound's are all well and good, but what really
makes NFL Fever 2002 standout from the competition is the gameplay. Simply
put, it's just plain fun, and I couldn't stop playing. The game plays
great, but the only drawback to this is there aren't that many different
modes. There are a total of four modes to pick from, which include Practice
to help you learn the button assignments and the plays; Single Game,
which is basically exhibition where you can play with all available teams;
Season and General Manager. Season plays out like a season in the NFL,
but you can build a long-term dynasty in which you manage a football
team that lasts up to 25 seasons. General manager let's you customize
and create your team any way you want (change the color of your teams
socks!) from trading, create a player, player editor, coaching, etc.,
and the changes will be applied throughout the game.
If you're playing and having a hard time choosing plays,
you can go to the recommended on the play picker screen. From there,
it gives you a list of moves that will possibly give you the best chance
of scoring a touchdown! All in all, the game just feels fun to play,
and the A.I. plays very well. If you're not too good with the controls
or familiar with the plays, you'll find yourself getting whooped by the
offense; however, it's not too hard to just pick up and play.
There's a lot of moves and plays to learn, but it soon becomes
second nature, as the layout is fairly simple to remember. Basically
in offense, A is to select and once the play is in motion, A, B, Y, and
X are used to throw to the A, B, Y, and X marked players; and once you're
in motion, pressing and holding A will give you a boost in speed, B will
be used to spin, and X will be used to push your way through defenders.
Simple enough? While in Defense and in motion, A is still turbo, but
everything else is used differently. B is used to dive and tackle, Y
is used to jump, and X is used to change to the player nearest to the
ball. Once you get these down, everything else is pretty straight forward
Scott "VeX" Kuss
Green Bay! *stomp stomp* Green Bay!
NFL Fever 2002: The Scores
Overall, it's fun. It looks good and plays fun, so no
argument there. Sound and depth are lower because the
commentary and fewer modes than hoped for. It is a good
game, however, and worth a rental if you're in doubt.