It's very strange to see the Sega Sports logo following the Playstation 2 logo. I guess it's somewhat easier to combine Nintendo and Sega - they're both old school, game-centric companies, whereas Sony is a consumer electronics giant. Regardless, NFL 2K2 has hit the Playstation 2, and it's incredible.
I'll admit it: I love the NFL 2K series. I like the way it plays and feels, and I definitely prefer it over the MADDEN series. Sure, it moves unrealistically fast, and sure, you can make some cuts that are unrealistic, but the gameplay is much stronger than EA's series (again, in my opinion - some simulation purists out there may disagree).
So, let's not worry about the simulation/arcade debate. If you don't like NFK 2K1 on Dreamcast, you won't like 2K2 on PS2. Likewise, if you're a fan of the old ones, NFL 2K2 will satisfy you completely.
So, providing you like the NFL 2K series, you'll find a ton of enhancements. The biggest of all is to the running game. The enhancements to the running game come mostly in the form of blocking. The offensive and defensive lines are the most realistic I've ever seen in the way that they interact. Also, players now slip around their own linemen instead of just running into the back of them. Some pass-happy fans might think that the running game is too powerful, but I think that it's pretty well balanced.
On the other side of the offense, the passing game has been tweaked and works just as well as before. Maximum passing and the auto-pass feature continue to drive the intuitive passing game. The only big problem is that players with massive stats (especially a certain whiner by the name of Randy Moss) are virtually unstoppable. Meanwhile, mediocre receivers can't catch a thing. I'm not saying Moss isn't an outstanding basketball play... err... wide receiver, but he's not that good. This problem appears in the rest of the positions to varying degrees.
While a lot has been changed from previous versions, the computer's awareness of the game (and more specifically, game clock) is somewhat suspect. You don't run a draw at the end of the game when you are down and have no time outs. The computer won't even run the clock out! It's really frustrating and is the biggest bug that needs to be fixed.
The biggest improvement though is the graphics. Obviously, going from the Dreamcast to the Playstation 2 will post some graphical updates, but I was shocked when I actually saw the game running. The player models are much more realistic, players show emotion, and pretty much everything has been given a facelift. The animation, framerate, textures - it's all very impressive.
I've always been a fan of the commentary in NFL 2K, and I continue to be one. While sometimes the guys get repetitive, it's the best football commentary out there. All of the gridiron noises, crowd sound, and menu music are of high quality.
There's a lot of lasting appeal in the title. First of all you have mutliplayer (always a good thing). The absence of online play hurts it a little compared to its Dreamcast brethren. Otherwise the franchise mode will occupy time (even though MADDEN's is better) and the challenge of the game will keep you coming back for more.
NFL 2K2 is awesome. The biggest flaws are computer clock control/play calling and the lack of online play. Otherwise, NFL 2K2 is one of the best football titles to be released and worthy of sitting alongside MADDEN 2002.
Platform: Playstation 2
ESBR Rating: Everyone
Developer: Visual Concepts
Suggested Retail Price: $49.99
Fun Factor: A
Reviewer's Wild Card: A