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PS2 Online Games 2003 - Sports

This is the first part in a series of editorials naming the online games to watch out for this year on the PS2. This editorial will be discussing Sports. Keep in mind that this is not a complete list of the online sports titles, but it is a list of the ones which we feel will be at the top of their game. If you have any questions or concerns about the list, feel free to shoot me an email.

Madden 2004:

-EA Sports

-August 12th, 2003

-Phoneline/Broadband

Once again EA is improving on its original formula by adding voice-chat support as well as the rewarding EA Bio (where depending on how much you play EA games, you are given points to buy rewards such as new stadiums and the like).

ESPN NFL Football:

-Visual Concepts/Sega Sports

-September 2, 2003

-Phoneline/Broadband

Sega is back, and wants revenge on EA. Among the new features for this year are voice-chat for online games, and first-person mode. We will see if Sega has what it takes.

NFL GameDay 2004:

-989 Sports

-August 27, 2003

-Phoneline/Broadband

989 returns with another incarnation of its best-selling football series. This year, there are several new features inlcuding voice recognition, voice chat in game and in the lobby, online tournaments, message boards, player rankings, downloadable rosters, updated stats, and more.

ESPN NHL Hockey:

-Visual Concepts/Sega Sports

-September 16, 2003

-Phoneline/Broadband

For the hardcore hockey fans, Sega Sports was the champion of the sport last year. It brought with it the simulation style of play that gamers had been longing for. This year it adds online with voice-chat support. But hopefully VC has a few more ideas up their sleeve to add to the experience.

NHL 2004:

-Black Box Games/EA Sports

-September 16, 2003

-Phoneline/Broadband

EA has realized that EA Canada wasn't exactly doing a great job with the past NHL games, so they found some great talent in Black Box Games(makers of the past NHL Hitz games). Now with online and voice-chat support, as well as a major tweak in the gameplay, EA seems to want the hockey fans back on their side. We will see how much better the game gets, and if it is as big of a change as we are expecting than it will be a must-have for hockey fans.

NHL Hitz Pro:

-Next Level Games/Midway

-September 22, 2003

-Phoneline/Broadband

Midway has decided to take a more realistic route in their upcoming sports games, and so far it seems like a great decision. This game includes an online mode where you can set up tournaments and play other people. It's not known if voice-chat will be included, but there will definitely be Keyboard Support. As from what I've seen, Midway seems to know exactly what they are doing, and the game seems to be a winner.

Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2004:

-EA Pacific/EA Sports

-September 22, 2003

-Phoneline/Broadband

Finally, you don't have to go outside if you want to face other players in a round of golf! Supporting voice-chat online, you can trash talk other players like Happy Gilmore himself, and you don't have to worry about Bob Barker kicking you're a#* in the process.

NFL Blitz Pro:

-Midway

-September 2, 2003

-Phoneline/Broadband

The famous Midway franchise includes an online mode for this year. Though Midway has decided to drop the arcady feel, the game should still retain its incredible fun. Though no voice-chat is supported, hopefully its something that Midway will be utilizing next year.

NBA Live 2004:

-EA Canada/EA Sports

-October 7, 2003

-Phoneline/Broadband

Wow, has EA definitely improved their basketball license this year. Motion-capture has been completely re-done, and the game has been given new life. Most-importantly it includes an online mode with voice-chat support and all. No more yelling at the TV because of Vince Carter's latest injury. Instead you can actually yell at him personally.

Tony Hawk's Underground:

-Neversoft/Activision

-October 7, 2003

-Phoneline/Broadband

Thank god! Not just another re-hash extreme-sports title. This time when you take control of Tony, you can jump in cars, climb up ladders, and run around the streets looking for the perfect place to start your run. And don't forget the online, which Activision has included since Tony Hawk 3.

FIFA Soccer 2004:

-EA Sports

-October 21, 2003

-Phoneline/Broadband

One of EA's most polished franchises returns with a slew of improvements in the gameplay, as well as the addition of online play with voice-chat being utilized. With this game, EA is also allowing you to play against anyone in the world, regardless of language barrier.

ESPN NBA Basketball:

-Visual Concepts/Sega

-October 21, 2003

-Phoneline/Broadband

Arguably the best Basketball game last year, returns with a name change and tweaks to the gameplay. Sega has apparently made the game more enjoyable to play by making it a little less realistic. With the addition of online play supporting voice-chat, it just adds to the fun.

NBA Ballers:

-Midway

-November 19, 2003

-Phoneline/Broadband

Midway seems to completely changing all of their sport franchises this year, and NBA Ballers seems to be the most unique game out of their lineup. NBA Ballers is strictly a one on one game, where you create your own "baller", and create a sort of setting around him. You choose what car he drives, his theme music, his house, etc. And you can wager these possessions on the line with other players. With the addition of online tournaments and other features, NBA Ballers is one to watch out for.

NBA ShootOut 2004:

-989 Sports

-October 1, 2003

-Phoneline/Broadband

Building on last year's success, 989 is ready to unleash another great basketball title. With updated graphics and several new online features, 989 Sports may just have found the magical formula needed to an all-star title.

SSX 3:

-EA Canada/EA Sports

-October 14, 2003

-Phoneline/Broadband

The most enjoyable Snowboarding experience you can find on the PS2 is back for a third time with a slew of additions in the single-player game, as well as an online mode. Not much is known on what you can do online with this game, but it will most likely include voice-chat(since every other EA game does), and racing your friends down a mountain.

As you can see for yourself, the majority of online PS2 titles are in the Sports genre. Keep in mind that this isn't even a complete list. In the next part will be the list of online Action titles. Watch for that sometime in the near future.

By David Doel - 08/11/03

Screenshots for PS2 Online Games 2003 - Sports

ESPN International Winter Sports 2002

Midnight Club II