Thursday, August 29, 2002.
by Rick Wallace

NFL 2K3 Box art First word that comes to mind is......AWESOME! This has to be one of the best football games ever made to date. Graphics, sound, great gameplay, dynasty......its all there. Being a diehard Madden fan for the past 10 plus years I had my doubts about this game. But Sega just became the new kid on the block with 2K3. The game pays attention to detail which is key in any console football game.

And guys it Xbox Live compatible!! That is probably the newest and kewlest feature in any football game.

If you like football and I mean really like football, 2K3 is the one for you.

First thing that I would notice about te gameplay is it is dificult. You definitely dont just jump into this game and whoop up on the CPU 66-0. The AI has to be one of the bet out there, calling audibles on you on defense and offense. You have to be on your toes and know the defensive schemes. You also have to know your offensive play because it isn't just hike and run for 80 yards anymore. If you dont follow your blockers on running plays you aren't going very far.
Gang tackling is a great feature to slow down guys by the name of Bettis. One guy holds on while the others get there to finish him off. Its about time this feature was added to a football game.
Passing, whether you use maximum passing or regular passing, is difficult. You can't just throw to your favortie receiver all the time. So no money plays are in this game!
Franchise mode is quite deep. Allowing you to scout upcoming prospects at the NFL Combine. There is a mock draft to look at just to get an idea of where certain guys you are interested in will go in the draft. You are able to sign and release players very easily but not without penalty. Don't forget about your salary cap.
One downfall I did see, is when you put a guy on the trading block you will receive offers from other teams for that player. While this is great it seems that when you try to accept an offer the CPU turns you down cold almost everytime.
The addition of the ESPN style of presentation adds to this game immensely. While it can get a little annoying hearing the Sportscenter theme song its still cool. There are weekly wrap ups and players of the week to see which is great.
Overall gameplay is great for any diehard footballer.

Visuals are no less than stunning. Whether it be the various elements of weather or the detailed players and their faces, its all good. Has to be one of the first games I have seen that cloud shadows cross the field in real time. Makes for a realistic looking perspective.
Player models are smoothly animated and not overdone. They are almost life-like in cetain situations.
The animated sidelines has to be another key feature to see. While not really related to gameplay its nice to see guys moving around over there instead of standing as statues.
The crowd could use more animation and personality though. that would probaly be the weakest point of the graphics. The stadiums around the crowds are outstanding renditions.

The play-by-play, while getting better in all console football games, till needs work. A little enthusiasm at key moments during a game would be a huge advancement. Yes the calling can get a little repetitive but its still good.
The on field sounds are great. You can hear guys jawing back and forth across the formation. Defensive players yelling at the QB, using his actual name too.
The crowd could probably use a little more personality too. Maybe have some of the homefield chants you hear on a regular basis across the NFL. I do like the fact they used actual excitement music that you would hear playing in stadiums in real life.

My main suggestions would be the adding a little more personality to the non gameplay issues of the game. Such as crowd, reactions, animation, etc...
Work on the player trade module as it doesn't seem to work when I get offered something for a guy in my trading block.
Maybe add to the weather by having downpours then slow the rain down, then downpour again. Just variations in the weather would be kewl.

Overall: 9.0 / 10
Gameplay: 10.0 / 10
Visuals: 8.0 / 10
Sound: 7.0 / 10


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