Need to Know!
He Knows What he\'s Talking About...
The NFL 2K series originally appeared on the Dreamcast, and immediately wowed people with its amazing graphics and sublime game play. Though the series has always received good reviews, it has never come close to challenging EA\'s Madden as the best game of this genre. This year, Sega and Visual Concepts have decided to pull out all the stops, one of which is releasing the game at the bargain price of £20.
ESPN NFL 2K5 provides all of the features you\'ve come to expect in a current football game. Also with ESPN\'s celebrating there 25th anniversary, there are 25 scenarios representing the greatest games and scenarios in football over last 25 years. For people new to the series, there\'s a training mode that encompasses both offence and defence.
As you progress through the game and accomplish various tasks and milestones, you\'ll unlock crib points. These points are used to unlock furniture, fish tanks, bar stools, lamps, and whole host of others in your virtual crib. While spending 400 hard earned points on a coffee table seems rather lame at first, it can be very addictive trying to unlock all the items.
One of the new features this year is the addition of celebrity challenges. "Stars" such as Steve-O, Funkmaster Flex, and Carmen Electra will call your phone in the crib and issue you a challenge. When you play them, you\'ll play against their created teams while they spout off annoying, repetitive phrases.
Not only do you have to hear these morons over and over, you have to see their picture pop up on the screen, and other than Carmen, that\'s not exactly a good thing. The worst part about playing against a celebrity though is that you have got to wait for them to pick their play and make adjustments.
Very Important People!
Another new feature this year is the introduction of the VIP profile, which is a glorified user profile from years past. Basically, you play your games under your profile, and the game learns your tendencies. These are turned into a VIP profile. Your friends can then play against you when you\'re not around, or you can even play against yourself to spot weaknesses in your game. It\'s not that great of a feature to play against, but the stat tracking can really help you find flaws in your game.
If you fancy a different sort of challenge, then first person football (FPF) may be what you\'re looking for. In FPF you control the quarterback on a passing play and a running back on a run play. You\'ll see the game through the eyes of the players, which can be difficult to get to grips with, but in the end it\'s quite a lot of fun. Passing is initially quite tough, but once you master the timing, you\'ll be surprised at how well it works.
All of these extra features are secondary to the game\'s franchise mode, where you take over control of your favorite team and attempt to lead them to glory year after year. You can choose to either pick a team with its current roster or draft in a brand new squad.
Once you begin the franchise, a series of poorly designed menus make even the easiest of tasks difficult. You can see what positions your team needs to fill on one screen, but you have to exit that menu and open another one to search for available players. The whole process from determining you need a player to finding him, signing him and getting him in your line up is far too complex.
Once you start the game, the gameplay is for the most part, top notch. The running game is smooth and extremely responsive, and the game rewards you for being patient and finding your blockers. The passing game is tough at first, but learning your three and five step drops and when receivers make their cuts will dramatically improve your passing stats.
Unfortunately, there are several problems during the game that are inexcusable and remind you that you\'re playing a £20 football game. Key amongst these is the computer\'s penchant for putting players like Peyton Manning and Orlando Pace back to return kicks. There are also things like the clipping bug, where for example you make a 50 yard run, but it gets called back for clipping, which is a 15 yard penalty. The ball is spotted properly, but your running back\'s stats will reflect that incident to be a -65 yard run which will kill your stats for the game and for the season in some cases. The game also spots the ball poorly, often taking 2 or 3 yards at a time off of a run.
There\'s no question that ESPN NFL 2K5 is the best looking football game ever. The player models are gorgeous, the stadiums are accurate and colourful, and the game is filled with lots of little touches that really add to the experience. The first time you see fans arguing over who is in the right seat, you\'ll know that the developers took great pride in their presentation. The field shows wear as the game goes on, the lighting will change as it gets later, and uniforms will get dirty at different rates, depending on how often the player hits the turf.
Just like it takes the graphics to an all new level, the ESPN theme does the same for the audio. Chris Berman introduces the game, and even shows and narrates all of the highlights at halftime. Normally you get long pauses while the game loads names and weird emphasis on certain names, but Berman\'s commentary is very tight and sounds quite realistic.
One of the coolest features in the game is the ability to rip songs and then place them in the game. You not only can edit the clip to the spot of the song you want to hear, but you can then select after what type of play you want to hear it. Hearing songs that get you pumped up, or even just standard stadium hits like "We will rock you" makes your home field just a little more friendly.
While the majority of the game play is superb, the game\'s technical issues kill any hopes that a hardcore fan would be satisfied with this game in the long term. However casual players will love this game, especially for the £20 price tag.