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NFL Gameday 2001
"With better A.I. and more advanced features for player control the game has taken a step in the right direction. "
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Developer  989 Sports Game Type  Sports
Distributor  Sony Review Date  Sept 2000
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It is that time of the year again. Summer is coming to an end, the leaves begin to fall, and people everywhere become inflicted with a severe case of Football Fever. Prepare for a feast as the best of the best makes a welcome return as 989 Sports unleash their latest offering.

NFL GameDay 2001 is a realistic football simulation that doesn't use snazy special effects (like fire on a moving football, or lightning behind speedy receivers). No way! This is pure football! Real American football. where it's not about glitz or flashy bright lights. It's about attitude and in-your-face mano-a-mano competition. When it's all said and done the last man standing is yelling "Who's your daddy?"

First impressions are that the graphics look good. Close attention has been given to making sure that each player's idiosyncrasies and behavior patterns have been precisely captured. Stiff arms, spins, jukes and most types of tackle have been perfectly animated providing a bone crunching experience. Uniforms are realistic and stadiums are mighty impressive, with some venues actually looking better than the originals. There's even wear and tear on the field as the game progresses. I also found myself occasionally sitting through the replays as they are presented so realistically. it's like watching football on TV.

Don't let my over enthusiasm fool you into believing it's all perfect. 'cause it's not. The individual stats displays are inefficient, feel clumsy, and to be frank just plain suck. I hated flipping through seeing only one stat at a time. Also, handoffs from quarterback to running backs are slow and just didn't seem to flow. There was always a short delay and to a defense. well, that's all they need.

The sound effects are exactly what I expect from a quality football game. The "umphs" and smacks are appropriate. The boom of the kicks, the roar of the crowd. all good stuff. The back ground music is okay, but nothing special, while the commentary is right on the mark for the most part.

Finally we come to the most important part of a sports game, how does it play? The GM mode is decent allowing you to draft players from 989's college title, NCAA GameBreaker 2001. Players can actually be moved to different teams while watching thing like the salary cap.

Offensively you have many choices on how you want to play. You can choose to play the standard 'whoever has the ball' mode or simply play as 'the receiver' or maybe as 'a back' making that all important chop block. As a quarterback you can lead your receiver, loft it or gun it in the numbers. you make the call. Great new features include the new double tap moves: stiff arms, jukes, shoulder charges, spins, dives and speed bursts. There are also stumbles, dives over the piles, jumps over obstacles. So many moves. not enough fingers to execute them all. Passes are smooth with receivers tip toeing down the sideline and except for the short delay on the handoffs, runs are great.

Defensively you can supposedly choose the player you wish to control, but during plays I often found myself increasingly frustrated with NOT being able to select the player I wanted. Also, bringing a man down is not as simple as a little tackle anymore. You must hit them high, hit them low, throw a shoulder and down he will go. Make that shoe string tackle, or just hold him long enough for a gang tackle. Ah, poetry in motion.

The play book is kind of generic for all the teams with one selection for custom plays of your chosen team. Time outs should be one single button away from the action and not having to hit the start button before moving the joystick to the time out selection and then pressing start again. It's just too much for a time out. Artificial intelligence has been improved although some of the defensive plays are lacking. I found it very hard to get any penetration with the defensive super stars. Nickel defense plays are too much like a very conservative prevent package. and the only thing prevent defenses do is prevent you from winning. Offense is good, but a little more variety in play selection for different teams would improve this game by leaps and bounds.

* Official NFLP and NFLPA licenses.

* All of the 31 NFL teams are represented for each of their corresponding cities.

* Playability for up to 8 people with the multi-tap.

* All the options with the joystick control like analog, vibration, dual shock, etc.

* Smart commentary by Enberg and Simms.

* Tournament modes, training modes, GM modes for the true football geeks (me included).

* Play editors, a new Draft War room, create a player, play as any skilled player, photo realistic stadiums, uniforms of today and throwbacks, and whole lot more.

* Strategic input from over 55 of the top NFL stars was used to help create this game.

* Players like the returning super bowl championship running back Marshall Faulk were used for motion captured animations for runners.

* Up and coming young studs like Daunte Culpepper are in the game to add their flavor.

* All pro Warren Sapp is captured digitally to show his in your face action.

* So many stars to give you a realistic dose of what it means to be in the NFL.

* Add the comments of Dick Enberg and Phil Simms, now you have the look and feel of actually being part of the game.

* Play in beautifully detailed stadiums and you will be wondering if you are really there (at least that is the intent). Welcome to NFL GameDay 2001.

• Number of Disks: 1
• Number of blocks used on Memory card per save: 15
• Maximum number of Players (without a multi-tap): 2
• Multi-tap compatible (max players): Yes (8)
• Link-cable compatible (max players): No
• Split screen multi-player option (max players): No
• Other accessories: None
• Dual Shock Pad Digital Button compatible: Yes
• Dual Shock Pad Analog Stick compatible: Yes
• Dual Shock Pad Vibration compatible: Yes
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Related Items   How we score our reviews | Send us YOUR review of this game
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RICH   "This is a definite improvement from last year's game. With better A.I. and more advanced features for player control the game has taken a step in the right direction. The play book still needs to be more specialized for each team, not just one custom selection. The game looks good and the feel is decent. I don't know if this can take the title away from Madden but it is a strong title on its own."
Graphics  17/20
Playability  44/50
Sound  7/10
Lastability  16/20
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