NFL Gameday 2003


posted 10/15/2002 by Charlie Sinhaseni
other articles by Charlie Sinhaseni
One Page Platforms: PS2
NFL Gameday, two words that can bring even the most devoted football fan to their knees. Residing in the bowels of gaming obscurity in recent years, and a surefire straight-to-bargain-bin title, 989 Sports’ horrendous series has truly become the Jean Claude Van Damme of video games. But this year’s game was full of hope, the crew at Sony assured us that the mistakes of last year’s game were being reworked and the series was being rebuilt for success. This year’s game is set to be the foundation but is it solid enough to carry last year’s burden? Not even close.

989 Sports has really changed the standards of gaming, and it’s for the worst. It’s almost like there is a checklist that the designers go through to make sure the game is up to ‘standards.’ Crappy models? Check. Inane AI? Check. Sluggish controls? Check. Cheesy animation? Check. Adequate space on the packaging to fit in the words ‘Now at the low bargain bin price of $19.99?’ Check that too.

Let’s see what you get with this year’s ‘update.’ Let’s take a gander at what this year’s packaging is touting:

“60 frames per second gameplay deliver the ultimate NFL gaming experience”

This is an honest statement but unfortunately, it works against Gameday much more than it works for it. The faster frame rate further exposes the horrid animation that is prevalent throughout the majority of the game. You’ll see players who look like they’re gliding around the field rather than running on it, tacklers that magically hurl themselves at ball carriers without building up steam and passes that look like they’re flying in fast forward. The speedier game just makes the game feel cheesier and further exposes the awkward and unserviceable animations.

I’m not sure where they’re getting the “ultimate NFL gaming experience” tagline from. Maybe they’re talking about NFL Europe where the production values rival those of my local Public Access channel.

“Football like you’ve never seen or played before”

Oh this statement rings true in far too many instances. You’ll know that it’s “football like you’ve never seen or played before” when you see your defense stand idly by as the opposing halfback runs right by them. You’ll also know that it’s “football like you’ve never seen or played before” when you see your linebacker dive right through the opposing quarterback as he sets up in the pocket. Then there are the times when the computer D will call a prevent-type play when I’ve got the ball on the one yard line. Maybe 989 Sports’ new tagline should be “If it’s in the game, it’s NOT in the game.”
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