So what's in the name? If you're not familiar with the Quarterback Club
series, then you're missing out on one of the best and most exclusive features within all games of the sports genre... the NFL's Quarterback Challenge
. In this mode of play, you will have to bust out your favorite QB and compete for up to 125,000 dollars in prize money. Within the Challenge, you compete in four events against seven other QBs (all can be human-controlled) including Speed & Mobility, Accuracy Event, Long Distance Throw, and Read & Recognition. Let me tell you... this is a blast! Best of all, you can use one of your Create-A-Player quarterbacks or unlock greats such as Elway and Marino. It would have been nice to see an option to save your user stats and track your progress in all of the events.
Of course, NFL QB Club 2002 has all of the normal modes of play too. There's Exhibition, Season, and Playoffs, where you play a single game, an entire season, or choose a team to take through the playoffs, respectively. Also along for the ride are the Practice Mode, in which you can take the field for as little or as long as you want, and the Simulation Mode. In Simulation, you can recreate any game from the past or make up your own and try to hone your skills for the big dance. You will be able to set tons of options, including the time remaining, home and away scores, and what yard line to start on, just to name a few. It's here where you can really improve on your two-minute drill.
Now comes the hard part. With the exception of the QB Challenge, NFL QB Club 2002's actual gameplay and features seem to fall short of competing football games. Don't get me wrong, I've had a lot of fun playing this hard-hitting football game, but certain things seemed to be lacking. One of these is the AI (Artificial Intelligence) of computer-controlled players. It is because of this shortcoming that playing defense leaves you with a sense of having a lack of control. In a way, the best control your have is selecting your run/pass coverage. After that, it's (mostly) up to computer players. Another major issue I had was that there is no option to save your own user stats. Because of this, saving your personal records and things like audibles can't happen. It is very frustrating to have to re-change your audibles every time you boot your PS2, and not be able to track your personal statistics and records against human or computer players.
The game is also missing a lot of features that seem to be present on its competitor's football games. It may seem a bit nick-picky, but with this day and age of gaming comes a lot of competition. In order to be the top dog, you need to have everything but the kitchen sink to throw at people. One of the missing features I'm talking about is the lack of a salary cap, which allows you to create a team of superstars if you want to. Another is not having the ability to access the memory card saves from inside the menus (other than saving/loading specific things). Put this together with no user stats and the other things I've mentioned, and you get a mild feeling of emptiness.
However, there are also some added features in the game. One of which is the option of playing Pre-Season games to get the cobwebs out. Another is that although the instruction manual doesn't mention it, NFL QB Club 2002 does have a franchise mode. After your season, playoffs, Super Bowl, and Pro Bowl, you are given the option to start your next season. Career stats are accumulated (even for your created players), and your season stats are reset. Another addition is the 'Hyper' Audible. Basically, turning on this feature allows you to triple your available options. And, for the first time ever (at least to me), I've found a football game with a fairly realistic approach to the kicking game. Field goals aren't impossible unless they're impossible. This means that kicking a 40-yard field goal is very possible.