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September 05, 2002 - Image 11

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2002-09-05

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ARTS

The Michigan Daily - Thursday, September 5, 2002 - 11

DAILY ARTS FOOTBALL ROUNDUP
Madden' and NCAA'franchises hzghlight football offerings

EA's

By Matt Grandstaff
Daily Arts Writer
With each passing August, a new
batch of simulation football titles
arrives, leaving football gamers
delighted with updated rosters, new
tackles and more. Meanwhile, non-
football gamers are generally left
disgusted as the new
crop of grid-iron games
seem relatively
unchanged in their
minds. This year, how- *
ever, gamers of all NCA
kinds can rejoice - the
additions of online play Available
and addictive role-play, Cube, PS
ing elements to most EA
gridiron titles make
2002 the best year for
football games yet.
EA takes Heisman in 2003: To
the surprise of very few, EA Sports
has once again delivered on all
fronts with its titles, "NCAA Foot-
ball 2003" and "Madden NFL
2003." With EA's football experi-

various trophies ranging from the
Heisman Memorial Trophy to the
Little Brown Jug.
Outside of a fantastic dynasty
mode,. EA has put many extras into
the game to make you feel like you
are in your favorite college town.
For instance, each time "NCAA" is
booted up, garners get a random
introduction from stu-
dents, cheerleaders and
mascots from major
universities across the
country. Highlighting
L 2003 these amusing intro-
ductions is none other
or Game- than Michigan head
-and Xbox coach Lloyd Carr, who
ports makes a tremendous
appearance in an out-
standing college foot-
ball game. Finally, the game
includes a hilarious mascot mode,
where all of the players are in their
school's mascot costumes.
While "NCAA Football 2003"
might deliver the best college foot-
ball experience of any game on the

A
f
32-
,SF

Courtesy of Sega

This just in: Campbell's Chunky Soup's does not fix knee injuries.

Because of the game's up-tempo
style, gamers rarely have the
chances they would have in "Mad-
den" to make any
impact in the second- '
ary. This is due in part
to an awkward button
scheme on defense, NFL G
where 'tackle and 2(
switch defender but-
tons are not placed Availabl
next to each other. The S
only other glaring
problem Sega needs to
work on is the game's character
models. Not nearly as smooth as the
ones found in EA games,
"NFL2K3" players look almost like
Frankenstein.
Meanwhile, with
"NCAA College Foot- '
ball 2K3," Sega Sports
is still a season or two
away from being an NC
All-American. The GAMES
game's graphics, game-
play and dynasty mode Availabl
all are in need of a lit-
tle more spring prac- S
tice. While the game
plays similarly to "NFL2K3," at
many-times the gameplay slows
down or gets too. For this reason,
college fans should stick with EA's
college title for this year. However,
for those who prefer the brand of
football Sega provides, it's worth it.
989 trying to recapture glory:
After EA and Sega's
offerings, the next best '
college and profession-
al football games come
by the way of Sony's NFL FE'
989 Studios. This may
come as a surprise to Available
many; since the best-
selling "NFL GameDay Mic
'98," 989 has been bet-
ter known for making CD-shaped
coasters than football games.
Thankfully, Sony has taken such
criticism to heart and has developed
its latest Playstation 2 titles, "NFL
Gameday 2003" and "NCAA Game-
breaker 2003," from the ground up.

Both titles show vast improvements
in presentation, graphics and game-
play. While these features are not

BR
le
on

ence now in the teens,
both games are as
classic as a finely-
aged wine, while still
giving garners the
buzz provided by a
Red Bull/vodka mix.
Combining the basic
gameplay elements of
the "Madden" titles
from the early '90s
with updated artificial
intelligence and the

3AMEDAY
003
de for PS2
ony
which has

yet on par with the
football titles from EA
and Sega Sports, they
do set new standards
for tackling animations
and feature an exciting
three-man broadcasting
booth. Even more com-
pelling, Sony has suc-
cessfully brought "NFL
Gameday 2003" online,
the most user-friendly

,MADDEN NFL
2003
Available for Game-
Cube, PS2 and Xbox
EA Sports

market, it falls just short
of its big brother, "Mad-
den NFL 2003." The
most notable difference
between the two games
is artificial intelligence.
Even though "NCAA" is
much more challenging
than it has ever has
been, it proves to be a
walk in the park next to
"Madden." Even on the
normal difficulty set-

most realistic character models ever
in a football game, you can't go
wrong with EA's latest and greatest
crop of football titles.
In "NCAA Football 2003," EA
has gone the extra mile to not only
deliver the best gameplay of any
college pigskin title on the market,
but also make gamers feel like they
are actually at the helm
of their.favorite col-
lege team. This feat is
accomplished primari- **7
ly by a more enjoyable
dynasty mode. Once NFL
again gamers will be
able to take their Avilab
school through 30 C
years of games and Sega
recruiting, but this
time they will also be able to
remember their greatest accomplish-
ments by viewing their own person-
al trophy room. Even though this is
a simple addition, gamers can't help
but smile when they look upon their

ting, gainers will need near-perfect
execution of their selected plays if
they want to win. Fortunately, those
lacking the coaching genius of a Jon
Gruden or Steve Spurrier will get
plenty of help this year from the big
guy himself, John Madden. In the
new mode Football 101, Mr. Mad-
den gives instructions on how to

broadband connection. While the
game plays extremely well online,
there is obvious lag from time to
time based on connection speed.
Nevertheless, by adding online play,
EA's best just got better.
After EA, it appears that Sega
Sports will also put a
major dent in the foot-
ball gaining market.
Having teamed up with
ESPN for its games N
"NFL2K3" and "NCAA A
College Football 2K3," Available
(available on Playstation Cube, PS
2, Xbox and Game-S
Cube) both games have Seg
the look and feel of your
favorite ESPN shows by including
Sportscenter updates and ESPN's Bot-
tom Line. And while both games have
a new look from their predecessors,
they still offer the fast-paced gaming
experience that won over football fans
tired of EA games during the days of
the Dreamcast.
Sega grid-iron a close no. 2:

A 2K3
for Game-
2 and Xbox
Sports

refreshing

While both of Sega's football titles
offer fast and furious gameplay,
only "NFL2K3" comes packed with
enough features to compete with
rival EA. On top of its fantastic
ESPN presentation, which is very

after experiencing the
music video approach
off "Madden,"
"NFL2K3" features a
very attractive NFL
Draft and scouting fea-
ture. Additionally,
"2K3" might have the
best sound ever in a
football game, as its
5.1 sound puts all
other football titles to

online setup of any football game
this year. So while Sony's 989
games are quite far from the best,
they still have come
along way.
Microsoft benched:
Coming off the bench
as the least inspiring
AA football title of the year
is "Microsoft's NFL
LEAKER Fever 2003." While the
for PS2 game features beautiful
graphics, smooth ani-
1Y mation and a historical
presentation similar to
what you would expect from NFL
Films, "Fever 2003" is plagued by
some of the worst artificial intelli-
gence in recent years. For anyone
who has played "John Elway's Quar-
terback" at the arcade or on the origi-
nal Nintendo Entertainment System,
"Fever" brings back memories of
football games with
absolutely no defense.
To make things worse,
"Fever" features the
ER 2003 strangest player models
of any football game
for Xbox outside of "Mutant
League Football." In
soft fact, this title could be
called "Mutant League
2003," - the game's chubby crea-
tures and their flapping arms rarely
seem human. Sorry Microsoft, this
game needs a complete overhaul.
Xbox users are much better off with
either "Madden 2003" or
"NFL2K3."

V
e
cro

L2K3

read defenses, under-
stand your plays and
learn to time throws
better. Additionally, the
game features a very
useful mini-camp
mode. Here gainers will
be able to go through
various drills to
improve their skills on
the field.

shame. And last but not least, for
the third straight year, Sega Sports'
football gem will include online
play (Xbox and PS2 only).
As far as problems go for
"NFL2K3," there are very few
wrinkles that need to be ironed out.
The most notable is the difficulty
gainers will face playing defense.

for Game-
2 and Xbox
iSports

Finally,-new to "Madden" this
year is online play. Using Sony's
Network Adapter (online play is
expected on Xbox and GameCube
next season), gamerstcan play any-
one in the country with a modem or

University Musical Society
02/03 SEASON
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Courtesy of EA

NCAA 2003 is just like the real thing, see the Hoosiers gettin' sacked?

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