It’s that time again, and are you ready for some football? Well 989 Sports sure has been looking forward to the football season with the release of NFL Gameday 2003. With Madden having taken the top football game out for quite a few years now, 989 Sports has been working extra hard on this edition of Gameday.
This year like every year Gameday has been the long shot going into the football gaming season and once again the game shows signs of why it was given that spot. There were a lot of major upgrades to Gameday that really did help Gameday become a more appealing title. One in which is the ability to play Gameday online. Which is a huge addition because without that I really feel that Gameday would have had just flopped.
Some of these key upgrades were the addition of the ability to play the game. I have not yet got to play the game online, but I have an idea that it should be quite fun to play. However for most people the online wasn’t the biggest concern about this years Gameday, it was the gameplay.
OK I have told you there is an online mode, but you may be asking what else Gameday offers. Well there is a preseason mode (known as an exhibition mode), Season mode, and the main mode the General Manager Mode (Franchise) that has been given a full face-lift. The face lift coming on the off season allows you to sign free agents, get players in the draft, and even draft some of your players from the Gamebreaker game.
In previous years the gameplay of Gameday has been a major problem. So 989 Sports did a heavy number on trying to get Gameday’s gameplay up to snuff. Well they did do a lot better then last year with many improvements in the passing and defensive portions of the game, the only problem is you don’t need to pass the ball. One of the biggest problems this year was how easy it is to run the ball and scramble with the quarterback. There really was never a point in a game where I really wanted to pass the ball. I mean I rarely came into a 3rd down situation in which I wanted to pass the ball, which wasn’t good. With that being said the gameplay is quite a few steps ahead of the past few years gameplay.
One of my favorite parts of football games, besides having an established Franchise, is the ability to create a player, and for some strange reason Gameday has two modes in which you can do this. You can create a superstar as well as create a regular player. This is the first I have seen this but I guess the idea was to let you have the ability to create a mediocre player and then the option to create a superstar like a Faulk, Warner, Garcia, or Owens!
The most difficult part I think of making a football game is getting some decent commentary. I believe that good commentary is an essential to creating a great football game. Well Gameday doesn’t have a revolutionary broadcasting team, but it’s not too bad. The commentators include Dan Fouts, Dick Enberg, and Ian Eagle. One of the biggest achievements for gameday is to be able to play about three games and not have too many repeated statements.
The sound effects were also not half bad. The crowd reacts like you would expect it to, and they sound pretty realistic. Although I was pretty disappointed the clashing of helmets sounds were a little unrealistic.
The graphics of Gameday have never been out of this world, and for the most part they have been pretty average. Well this edition of Gameday is no exception to that trait, with a few upgrades. Last years edition of Gameday showed some very bad looking players, this year they have been worked on quite a bit but they still look a little to bulky. They have an edgy look that really doesn’t even compare to Madden, or 2K3.
Another problem I had with Gameday’s graphics was that everything in the game was not very detailed. I really don’t thing there was anything in the game that was overall detailed. Detail has become a key factor in the next-gen consoles, and that’s one thing that Gameday really didn’t do very well. The players really didn’t have as much detail as the 2k3 series and also is lacking some serious detail in the stadiums. Those things combined make for some bad graphics, which hurts the overall game.
Gameday can be a really fun game depending on the stand point you view the game at. There are a few different ways you can look at it. If you look like it like a normal football game, Gameday has a lower fun factor then Madden and 2K3. The gameplay is really what hurts the game. It has its ups and downs. It can be slow off the snap and then a fast paced game after the snap. So it can be pretty different from the other those, but if your looking for a different football game then Gameday can be a ton of fun, but if not, it’s hard to like when there are better things out there.
This time last year I truthfully thought the Gameday series was at an end, but 989 Sports proved me wrong and came back with a much improved football game. Although it is not Madden, or 2K3 level, it’s closed the gap and I would not be surprised if Gameday creeps up next year and becomes a top football game, but this year it’s just not quite there.
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.