NFL 2K Review

Developer: Visual Concepts Publisher: Sega
Release Date: September 9, 1999 Also On: None

When I write Dreamcast reviews, it’s hard for me to talk about how poor of a death the system faced from the public. While the Saturn silently slipped off of store shelves, the Dreamcast, a much beloved system by both hardcore and mainstream gamers alike, died for the mistakes of Sega’s past. With games like NFL 2K, it’s hard to see how the system could have ‘failed’.

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I’m not sure what Sega’s ultimate goal was with the Dreamcast, but I can rightfully say that the Dreamcast is the pinnacle system for video game sports titles. Just as NBA 2K, NFL 2K was released to the general public, ushering in the next-generation of sports titles. With cutting-edge graphics that seriously outperformed the PlayStation and Nintendo 64, NFL 2K had no real rival.

Much like NBA 2K, NFL 2K is the ugly duckling of the three titles released on Dreamcast. That’s not to say they weren’t ahead of their time, because they were, very much. Everything about the game, from the player animation, the stadiums, even the crowd, make it a level (or two) above the competition that was present in 1999 (from the N64 and PS). The one weakness I found was in the crowds/sidelines. Cardboard crowds aren’t appealing to the eye.

The formations, the mostly smooth passes and kicking, everything about this game screamed next-generation at the time. I never saw the Colts’ RCA Dome look better in a game. The menus are easy to navigate, and the score box reminds me a lot of CBS, which I guess adds a reasonable level of real-life comfort to it.

If you compare the leap of technology from when NFL 2K was released to the much refined NFL 2K1, you’ll conclude that NFL 2K was an experiment of sorts. It introduced this new technology to us, but was meant to for improvement by an annual enhancement. That’s exactly what happened, so in my mind, while this still showed the Dreamcast’s power, it wasn’t until 2K1 that you could say that the system was in full force.

The gameplay in NFL 2K is the best you’ll find in any football game, up until 1999. The game modes included Practice, Exhibition, Tournament, Season, Playoffs, Fantasy, Quickstart, and Tutorial. You could even customize your experience by designing plays, players, and a team. The gameplay depth found in NFL 2K is something that wasn’t possible on any system before the Dreamcast.

One of the best things about NFL 2K is its accessibility to non-gamers. I could get my 45 year-old father to play with me without hassling him. The biggest fight wasn’t over getting him to play, it was with who could play as the Colts. Two-player is the best part of the entire game. Playing with a bud, whether it’s blowing them out, or a game sent into over-time, you’re going to have a blast.

That’s not to say the AI in NFL 2K slacks off. This is the most advanced AI system for its time. The best part is, no matter if you choose to coast through a season or a game on an easy difficulty, there’s a sense of accomplishment in every win. The computer might be more susceptible to fumble a ball, or intercept your pass, based on their difficulty, but if two evenly matched teams face off, you should have a good game, no matter the difficulty setting.

NFL 2K is the epitome of current-generation football games. Everything you love about them, from their commentary, to their numerous game options, to the high-powered graphics, NFL 2K was the first to introduce them with the Dreamcast. For the asking price of $.99 two years ago at EB, I’d say NFL 2K, combined with the other Sega Sports titles, are worth owning a Dreamcast alone, not including the many other reasons.

Graphics: 8.5
Sound: 9
Gameplay: 10
Creativity: 10
Replay Value/Game Length: 10
Final: 9.5
Written by Kyle Review Guide

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