Total Reviews: 1
Average Overall Score Given: 9.00000 / 10
Total Forum Posts: 0


Overall: Hands down the best football game out there.. Sega has taken that title away from EA Sports this year with NFL 2K3. Even though from top to bottom everything about this game is solid, there is a little room for improvment. Even the little things that would normally drive a gamer crazy can be easily overlooked as the entire experience is a great one. Adding ESPN grapics and music to the game makes it feel as though you are sitting down to watch a little Sunday Night Football every single time, although not having actually ESPN announcers call the plays is disapointing. The action on the field is very true to real life as well. Anything you have ever learned about playing the game either on offence or defence can be applied on 2K3. Sega also gets high marks for not only making this an XBL title, but for allowing gamers who don't have XBL to still take part in an online challenge. Overall it's a great improvment from 2K2 and a great sign of things to come for 2K4 if Sega can improve on the game just a little more.

Gameplay: Sega did it's homework when it came to the play on the field. No 200 pound QB's running over 280 pound linemen here! Maybe the best thing about 2K3 is that Sega really got the physics of the game down solid. QB's are much more accurate when they get a chance to plant their feet, wide outs will catch the ball better if the ball is thrown to them at the right time during their route and as I said, smaller players can be easily taken care of by bigger men but if timed right speed and a well placed spin or juke move can see your man go for a huge gain. This though isn't always a good thing as any RB or WR can pull off juke and spin moves over and over and bounce off tackles. A play that could have easily been stopped three yards from the line can bust out to be a 40 yard dash.

On defence the AI is the best I've seen in years but at the same time - just like in real life - defencive assignments and plays can be botched allowing the offence to score a big play. The tackling overall needs a bit of work as I said.. A ball carrier getting away from two or three would be tacklers does happen, but it shouldn't happen every third or forth play.

Off the field you have your usual game modes.. The standard single game is there. Practice is a good way to first hone in the skills. Situations are of course a great way to recreate some of the greatest moments ever, and with lots of historical teams you can. Season mode is ok if it's just one season you care for, but more than likley you'll be playing the franchise mode which this year is giving Madden and Fever a run for it's money. The layouts are great and navigating the menus are simple and straight forward. You'll feel as though you really are sitting at a desk as you manage your team through the season. Depth chart moves and gameplans for your next opponent can be handled here. Playing the Bengals? Your gameplan better be more focused on stopping the run. Going against the Bucs? An air attack may be more effective against them, so plan accordingly. The front office is where signings and releases take place. A great option added is the ability to put players on a trading block in order to see what you could get in return. Midway through the season trading is done and you get to focus on up and coming rookies.. if you have and play NCAA 2K3 then it just adds to the experience as you can then draft that star linebacker from Michigan that you've been in awe of.

So if all this great stuff is there, why the 4.5? The computer simulating is waaaayyyy off! 9 minute quarters can see scores go into the 60's and 70's and players get 300 yards rushing, 7 sacks and so on. To get a more realistic result you'll have to set the quarter length to 5 minutes when you are simming other games, then going back into options and restoring the 9 minute setting for your own games. That really should be unacceptable and I'm surprised Sega let that aspect slip by them.

Bonus marks to Sega for adding a nice little "preview" of your game by talking about the teams and what a fan would have to look for to happen in the game as it's loading. Even more props to Sega for allowing the rankings to change as the season goes on. If you play as the Lions and somehow come up with the leagues best offence, the pre game talk will mention just how good it is. One oversight though is that weaknesses are featured more than strengths, so if you have a great high ranked passing attack but a poor low ranked running game, it's the running game that gets mentioned as a possible downfall of the team.

Graphics: Is it live or is it Memorex?? The addition of ESPN graphics really makes you feel as though you are watching an ESPN broadcast. The menus are easy to read and navigate through and make you feel as though you are at a coaches desk or at the NFL Draft during a season. On the field the animation is sharp and dead on 95% of the time. There is the odd time though that players can be seen stepping right through other players that have fallen to the ground. The textures are very well done. Jerseys have a meshy look to them, grass and turf are easy to tell apart.. grass can be chewed up during the course of a game. Stadiums are rendered to look like the real life counterparts. Fans are dressed loyaly in the home teams colors. The players themselves are well done. Nothing blocky, skin looks like actual skin and other than the aformentioned stepping through other players, there really is no awkward movment.

Replays are solid and present many different angles.

The weather effects are solid, although the snow could use a little work, and jerseys should get dirtier as the game goes on in the rain, not start off dirty and stay in the same condition all game.

Audio: The biggest disapointment is that ESPN announcers don't get to represent and go along with the ESPN graphics (although you do get to see Patrick at his Sportscenter desk at the intro). ESPN music - everything from the different versions of the Sportscenter theme, to the Sunday Night Football theme, to the NFL Countdown theme - are in the game and add to the overall feel. The announcers themselves are great, but can be very repetitive when describing past plays and down right agrivating when for the 15th time in the half they say "You can't coach that."

Thankfully if the music gets too repetitive you can change the menu music and turn the announcers off completly. 2K3 has preset audio options where you can have the sound come off as a TV broadcast or set to just the sounds of on field action.

The on field sounds are solidly done as well as the standard fare of pads slamming together and players grunts and taunting come through loud and clear.

Suggestions: A must fix: The simulation bug. 9 minute simmed quarters should not see 63 to 74 scores. A little more emotion from the players as well too would be nice, big wins should be celebrated as such. A last second / last play win is treated as a "ho-hum" affair by the players, crowd and announcers alike. Make a bigger customizable playbook that is easier to fill out. Actual ESPN announcers would be nice, but beyond that just get rid of the "you can't coach that" color man.. Believe me I've played football and half that stuff he says you can't, you in fact can coach. Make the coaches a little more customizable.. some of them are way too tubby (even Dungy). Take a page from NFL Fever and create a better custom team feature.. have a set list of cities and a set lists of names so the announcers don't make the very generic comments about the team.

Overall Score: 9.0 / 10

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