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NFL GameDay 2001
Score: 70%
ESRB: Everybody
Publisher: 989 Sports
Developer: EA Games
Media: DVD/1
Players: 1 - 8 (Multitap)
Genre: Sports

Graphics & Sound:
My first thoughts when playing NFL GameDay 2001 for the first time: Am I playing this on Playstation 2??? I'm not kidding, I found the graphics to be that atrocious. Player models were far from smooth, very blocky, and the crowd was horrid. In fact, those lesser player models looked so ugly that when animations took place, they looked just as bad. However, to give a little praise, player model sizes DID differentiate between height and weight. I will say that the good I found in the animations was the trash talking of the players. The mouths mimicked actual speaking styles, but that is far from making the graphics formidable. As previously mentioned, the crowds were less than attractive. If you have played GameDay for Playstation One, then you'll probably recognize the similarity between the two, except there is no difference at all. Stadiums did have historical landmarks, and also endured some wear and tear throughout the game, but again, it wasn't too impressive.

Trash talking is the best audio feature for this year's version, probably because it hasn't been so enforced in years past. Crowd noise is decent, and so is the stadium background music. Play-by-play men Dick Enberg and Phil Simms were back for another year, but I swear I heard half the stuff they had to say from the '99 version.

The gameplay was less than impressive. Sure, you can make shoestring tackles or tiptoe the sidelines from end to end, but all of that seems to be standard with any football videogame these days. What NFL GameDay 2001 provides you with is a mixture of an arcade game and something realistic. The problem is I just can't seem to figure out what 989 Sports was going for. Running and blocking seems to be weak, and passing is basically an eighth grade lob every time. It just ain't pretty.

There are four game modes to play along with: Preseason, Season, Tournament, and Play Editor. The Preseason is like an exhibition, playing just one game. With the Season, you go through an entire football year, playing games and also becoming the General Manager, signing free agents and drafting players. The Tournament allows you and your friends to face up against each other to determine the champion. The Play Editor lets you create a foolproof play that is sure to score. The other good thing that GameDay has always been good at has been the amount of statistics that are kept. The thing is, I'm not in the market to play a bad game that can keep really good statistics. I'm looking to play a good FOOTBALL game!

The difficulty definitely varies in NFL GameDay 2001. The levels for difficulty include Rookie, Veteran, All-Pro, and Hall of Fame. The good thing is that the AI will pick up on your tendencies on offense and defense. The bad thing - I think the computer isn't smart enough in the beginning. For example, I was on the computer's goal line, but instead of calling a 'Goal Line Defense,' the computer called a '4-3.' Bottom line, that would never happen in the NFL. I'd rather settle for smarter play-calling defenses, than one that finally picks up on my tendencies late in the fourth quarter.

Game Mechanics:
NFL GameDay 2001's loading time just flies by: plus. The controller configuration isn't difficult either, and Total Control Passing is back again (allowing for you to overthrow and underthrow your receivers): also a plus. The memory card doesn't take much space either: another plus. Question: Why couldn't the rest of this game be this great?

A few years ago, the GameDay series was one of the most dominant football games on the market. Now, I don't even think I could put this in a top five. The biggest problem I found was that I couldn't decipher whether 989 Sports was trying to make this a realistic game, or something out of the arcade. If you really want to play this game, I recommend renting it first.

-Red Dawg, GameVortex Communications
AKA Alex Redmann

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