When the Xbox launched a year back, one of its first titles was NFL Fever 2002. This was Microsoft’s first attempt at creating a football game for any console. It shipped with many shortcomings, but showed a lot of potential. It’s now football season and Fever has shipped but can it hang with the big boys?
Football games are no stranger to the consoles and really have evolved immensely in the past few years. As the bar gets raised, the level of competitiveness increases between the games, which really brings out the best in all of the games.
One thing that differentiates Fever from the Madden or Sega’s 2K series is that it plays more like an arcade football game, rather than a football simulation. Therefore the game plays out a little faster and less realistic as you would find in the other football games.
Well like every football game these days NFL Fever comes with the normal set of game modes like the Exhibition, Quick Game, and the Season mode which is also the Dynasty Mode. Well of course if you are familiar with Fever, you would know that the Dynasty mode is another word for a Franchise mode in which you pick a team and stay with them for 25 seasons. You are in charge of trading, drafting, free agent signings, and everything else that GM’s of football teams have to do, and Fever does an excellent job of getting a nice Dynasty Mode set up. Although there really hasn’t been much done to the Dynasty mode from last years edition of the game besides updated rosters.
This year NFL Fever’s biggest upgrade has been the compatibility with Xbox Live. Although the Live service does not come available until November it is still a nice extra that really raises the overall value of the game.
Microsoft has also added a create custom plays in which allows you to create your own plays, while you can mess around with all the X’s and O’s.
There is also a create-a-player mode, in which you can make the best or worst player in the league and place him on your team. You can really fully customize your player in every single way possible, to make your player look like whatever you want him to. You can even customize a team any way you would like and even create you own.
Well you have heard about all the game modes but the big question that is probably in the back of everyone’s mind is, how is the game’s A.I. To put it nice and easy, it is still much too easy to pass the ball. The passing game is still very easy to do and you could easily pass for 500 yards, and run for another hundred. A lot of times during the game the computer really makes some terrible decisions like running the ball on 3rd and Ten happens quite a bit, and they are not normal third down runs they are like HB Dive’s which never seem to work. So to put it simply the computers A.I. has improved and I am still surprised Fever has taken the arcade route but the game has improved at what it’s going for.
NFL Fever is really not that hard to control it plays like the other football games. So if you have played Fever 2002, then you should have no problem adapting to 2003, because they are mostly mirrors of themselves.
One of the biggest problems that have always plagued the Football genre for many years has been the commentary. The main problem of the commentary has been timing and repetition, and both are present throughout Fever. Many times throughout the game you will here the same phrases over and over again, and many times they really have nothing to do with what is happening down on the field. The commentary is a tad better last year’s effort, which really isn’t saying much. There are still a lot of dull and irrelevant comments that might have you reaching for that mute button.
When last year’s version of Fever came out what really struck me most was the graphics. I thought if Microsoft did anything right last year it would be their graphics, and the follows somewhat true this year. The players still look very detailed as they did last year, and all the stadiums are very accurate. Although all is not merry when it comes to Fever’s animation, at first it may look great, but once you have gotten into the game you will find out how bare the animations really are. You will start to see the same hits being performed every time, and a lot of the times the hits down look like you would expect them to in that situation.
If you like football, and you enjoy playing football games, then there is no reason why you wouldn’t find Fever a fun game. It’s a more fast- paced game compared to Madden and 2K3 but if you’re not a football nut then Fever can become a lot of fun. Also with the compatibility with Xbox Live, you’ll have the chance to play online, which extends the game’s replay value a bit.
NFL Fever 2003 is a step ahead of last year’s version with the addition of Xbox Live support, but it still doesn’t offer as much depth as Madden and 2K3. There are still some computer A.I. flaws, which does hurt the game’s overall performance, but all in all this is still a pretty good football game.
The owner and editor-in-chief of Darkstation.com. I've been apart of the website since 2002 and purchased the website in 2010. Owning and running Darkstation is a dream come true. I love video games and I love writing and talking about them even more.