Players: 1 to 4 Player Game | Release Date: 01/22/02 | Genre: Sports
If there is one gaming genre that is overcrowded, it would have to be pro football. EA, Sega Sports, Microsoft, 989, Acclaim, and now Konami are all fighting for the gamer's attention--not to mention their fifty bucks for their title. While this year marks the return of Konami to the sports arena, they still find themselves out of contention as one of the best sports titles on the next-generation consoles. However, there are many positive elements to build upon for next year's version.
If I was given an overall score based upon presentation, NFL Prime Time 2002 would win hands down. Based upon the infamous cable TV show of the same name, developer FarSight Studios have captured the look and feel of the NFL Prime Time show into the game. Each of the menus have the same layout as the show and when actually playing the game, the score box with game time can be found in the upper right hand corner--just like you would expect to see on ESPN.
The commentary is by far the best I have ever heard from any NFL game. Chris Berman and Tom Jackson compliment each other nicely and I did not notice any of the �silly comments� from the play-by-play folks that I am accustomed to hearing. Now if only the gameplay could match the awesome commentary...
At first, the gameplay appears to be very realistic and fun. However, after sitting down for several games, you will notice some graphical glitches, inconsistent AI, and a lack of any real offense--even on rookie mode. The play calling screen is even worse--creating one of the most disorganized and unusable play calling systems I have seen since NFL QB Club 2002. The playbook is small and it became very difficult to locate the play I needed before the play clock ran down to zero. Not that it really matters though... Even with wide open receivers and tight ends, I found it next to impossible to complete a pass. After previewing a PS2 version of this title last year, it seems like my complaint about the ease of the passing system was taken seriously. The only problem is that they should have made it a little easier to play offense. While defensive struggles can be fun--they are annoying in NFL games when there are titles like Madden and NFL 2K to give you all the offensive fun you need.
By fine tuning the gameplay a little more, Konami will definitely have a winner on their hands. I have faith that if you give developer FarSight another year to work on NFL Prime Time 2003, we just might see a title that �could go all the way...� Until then, rent this one or just move on to a more polished title like NFL 2K, NFL Fever, or Madden.