STAFF REVIEW of NFL Fever 2003 (Xbox)

Thursday, August 29, 2002.
by Rick Wallace

NFL Fever 2003 Box art The graphics for the game look out standing, but the gameplay is somewhat lacking. Even to the point of unrealistic at points. The weather situations looked good especially in the snow, you can actually see the footprints they leave in real time. I don't think the game advanced much from last year except with the additon of online play. Online play is a definite plus, but there's a better football game out there also with online play.
If you are the occasional football gamer then Fever isnt a bad choice. While not realistic it could be fun. But if you love football, and love detail I suggest you look elsewhere.

One of the key downsides in Fever is the passing game. Not every pass is a high arc and it seemed that most thrown by the QB's were. Brett Favre throws bullets, even 30 yard bullets, and does not have a rainbow effect to his passes. That would be the first thing I noticed. Secondly, the game seemed fairly easy to play again, with very little difficulty in completing passes and large gains on the ground. So sayingt hat the AI is not near as tight as they were saying it would be.
The dynasty mode is deep but could still be better. I do like the player progression and feel that all games should have this type of system. It would help you in making decisions on when to start a hot guy over a slumping guy. So that definitely deserves a thunbs up.
Controls are fairly simple to grasp which makes the game very easy to catch on and make those big plays. And one nice feature is whether you are controlling a "fat" guy or a "little" guy you can tell the difference in agility and speed.

Fairly easy game for the beginner in console football games to pick up and play.

While I havent had the chance to play Fever online, this could possibly be the best gameplay feature. Nothing like going against your buddy in a good football game no matter what the title is.

The visuals here are the best thing about it other than online play. Stadium renditions are sharp and crisp. Player models, while they look good still seem to be a little to "super heroish" for me. Aaron Brooks, Saints QB, does not have 27 inch pythons for arms as an example.
The dimples on the jerseys were a little overdone in my opinion. Almost looks like thay are wearing chainmail armor instead of a nylon jersey.
Reflections and lighting were very well done also. The reflections on the helmet is a neat feature now popping up in most football video games.
There really wasn't one standout visual that puts this game ahead of the rest. But it still looks good.

Its time to get some real football announcers. Microsoft has the bucks to sign a deal with a network or something to pep this game's play by play. While some original comments are made , and some enthusiasm at the right times, it is still lacking of some real football talk.
While many aren't keen on Madden's words of wisdom, that's football and belongs in the game. There is no sense of a guy who knows what he is talking about in this game. Almost like cue card reading. I hate to compare it but these announcers are as bad as Dennis Miller on Monday Night Football. And ya see what MNF did, see ya Dennis. My point is these announcers do not fit the game of football at all an should be replaced with some real footbal commentary.
The sounds on the field are nothing out of he ordinary, but still sound good. So no major improvements there.

I think the game needs a complete overhalu for next year. Fever is a gem waiting to shine. But the right areas need to be attended to first:
-Deeper Franchise
-Player Models toned down from super heroes
-Gameplay made a little more difficult w/better AI
-Replace those announcers!
If just these adjustments were made it would make Fever 10x better. But there are so many more tweaks that you could surprise us with. Good luck!

Overall: 6.0 / 10
Gameplay: 4.0 / 10
Visuals: 8.0 / 10
Sound: 4.0 / 10


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