Well folks, it's almost that time of year when you break out the ole' pigskin and toss it around a couple of times until you decide you'd rather be on the couch munching on pretzels and soda (or beer for you adults out there) while watching the game of the week. Now I know it's only August and there's still a lot of baseball to watch but Gameday 2000 is already here waiting for you!
This year's incarnation of the series is definitely an improvement over last year's version. The graphics engine has been revamped, resulting in larger, more detailed, and sharper-looking players. The stadiums look surprisingly sharp and detailed especially since this is Playstation technology we're talking about. No more erratic, jerky movements by players thanks to the excellent motion-capturing this year. Just like last year the TV-style presentation is in effect just like Monday Night Football. This year's version even includes telestrator instant replays, something which is new to sports video games. It's just so satisfying to run for a first down and then to hear Phil Simms as he analyses your play with the telestrator.
As for gameplay, it's still fun as hell to drop back 10 yards, and using the Total Control Passing, loft one up about 45 yards and let your best receiver do his job. Of course this type of satisfaction is usually only found in arcade-style football games, which means that once again Gameday is not the full-on simulation that some people want it to be. It does have a full NFL draft, real salary caps, free agents/trades, training camp, and a new play editor (that lets you change a few plays by switching receiver routes here and there). Yes, it provides plenty of team, player, and season stats for the whole league, and yes, it has the look and feel of NFL football, but it has always been and apparently still is all about high-scoring fun arcade-style gameplay.
The running game has been improved from last year whereas now you can't juke a dozen times and score a touchdown. Your rushes have to be a little a more thought out this time around. The patented Total Control Passing is back allowing you to overthrow, underthrow, and lead your receivers right or left. This feature makes passing incredibly fun and accurate if you have the right touch. On the other hand, if you're on defense you might find it quite frustrating. Also, this year you can activate the TCP before the snap whether your passing or running, allowing you to deceive and frustrate defenses. And after you've scored you can press the celebrate button and do one of dozens of outrageous, super-funkalicious, getting' jiggy wit-it, bustin' loose moves to further humiliate your opponent. And if that ain't enough you get to hear the stadium speakers blast celebration songs like "Louie, Louie" and the "na na naa hey-ey-ey Goodbye" song.
I must say that 989 has managed to bring us another fine addition to the Gameday series. Unlike a full-on football sim, Gameday 2K is a fast-paced, big on offense, low on defense, thrilling football experience. It might not be the most realistic game out there, but I bet every fan of football and videogames will enjoy this game, even if they won't admit it.
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