Review of Gameday 2002
As I loaded the game for the first time in anticipation, is this, I wondered, going to be the best football game yet for the PS2? After all, this is Sony behind 989 Sports. If anyone can exploit the strong points of the PS2, it has to be Sony. When the first exhibition game came up I was both impressed and disappointed. The rendering of the background of the stadiums is impeccable and clear. The players are not rendered too smoothly, but still pretty darn good. You can still notice the polygons that make up the players. Movement is still a little robotic and in certain situations a bit odd, more on that later. I do like the fact that the players seem to fit into their background. I’ve seen other games where they seem superimposed on the background, but not here. All players are sized relatively to their real counterparts and the field is literally stretched to the full 100 yards. No more short field, monster players and other odd stuff. In a “what I’d like to see” category is try to add grass stains and mud to the uniforms for more realism.
The playability has its strong and weak points. The controls for the players are just about the same as other games with one (annoying!) exception. On defense the button to switch to the closest defender to the ball is the circle rather than the ‘X’, which just gets frustrating since the ‘X’ is the instinctive choice. On the converse, the play selection allows you to take as much time as you want. If you have poor clock management, then there will be a delay of game. No more of the CPU choosing your play when time runs out.
989 Sports has chosen a slick black-background color scheme for the play selections. The offensive plays are always at the top of the screen, defense at the bottom. This is regardless of which side of the ball you’re playing. In the center is all the game vitals, play clock, timeouts down & distance, etc. They still haven’t built in any IE into the play screens. If it’s 4th and long, you have to scroll to special teams to get to the punt/kick selections. On top of that, on an extra point, the kick isn’t the default choice. One time I got a delay of game because I had trouble finding the PAT play. Very sad.
In the control of players and plays, on offense, I found it to be easy to master and very intuitive. On defense the default buttons are a problem and are not intuitive. Kicking is a little hyper sensitive. Mastering the kick meter is not easy. Quick fingers are the key. I found a mistake in the attention to detail here. Playing as the Philadelphia Eagles, David Akers sets up to kick and makes two steps to the left. The problem, you ask?—Akers is a lefty. Big Oops.
Once you work thru the quirks, you’ll be moving from rookie to veteran in no time. Once again, offense will rule, and against the CPU, it seems trick plays do too. I was amazed at the number of times at 4th and long that the CPU went with a fake punt or trick play (and burned me!). There are some odd player movements usually at the end of plays. They seem to have some canned animation that at times don’t fit the situation. Sort of like an over animated tackle.
There are the standard modes of play, Preseason, Season and Tournament. As usual, you can select a quick game to get right into the action. Of course, being a coach and general manager is also an option to help with creating a little football dynasty if you so desire. The options allow you to go from pure arcade mode football, to full quarters and penalties. The skill level allows you to grow into the game without getting hammered by the CPU from the get-go.
In the sound category, I like the team of Dick Enberg and Dan Fouts. Too bad that can’t be a real-life team. The game’s AI does a great job of mixing the canned phrases and also to work in the players name into the sentences that don’t sound like they are patched together. There are good sound effects for tackles and crowd noises, all in all, the sounds are excellent.
OUR PLEDGE: We promise that we have fully played 'Gameday 2002' before writing this review. The scores given above are our honest opinion and were not influenced in any way by the manufacturer or distributor of the game.
This review was written by Tom Downey © Absolute PlayStation
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