NFL Gameday 2001
What's the deal?
GameDay was there in the beginning for the birth of the PlayStation and it'll be there again for the PlayStation 2. Or will it? Even though we've heard reports of GameDay 2001 PS2 sightings and it still sits on Electronics Boutique's release list, we're starting to think that its kickoff might be delayed. Apparently, the reabsorption of 989 Studios into Sony Computer Entertainment has thrown a kink into things and the game's no-show at E3 in Atlanta hasn't squelched those fears.
So why Is it a must-get game?
We think GameDay 2001 will happen, just not as quickly as we'd hoped. Given its pedigree, however, we figure this game'll be a thing of beauty, regardless of its release date.
Download NFL Gameday 2001
The GameDay series hasn't been king of the hill (in terms of gameplay or sales) since 1998, but the announcement that it would appear on PlayStation 2 was enough to pique my interest. I mean, this was Sony's new system, right? That had to merit a quality effort. Well friends, I'm sorry to report that the PS2 version of GameDay is gawdawful and horrid. Did I mention it's terrible? The prospect of one gamer shelling out $50 for this garbage sends a shiver down my spine. The stadium intro sequence and a quick glance at the player models get a passing mark, but just barely. Other than that, this game is so bad it's laughable. The hurdle, dive tackle and passing animations, just to name a few, are a riot. I've seen screen passes where the QB turns his back to the line and throws the ball, underhanded, to the sideline. Not to mention that just about every pass goes high enough to come down with icicles on it. The running game is bunk as well, with no sense of momentum or speed. Line play is truly idiotic, with huge linemen warping through each other and magically appearing on the other side. Can you say collision detection? GameDay 2001 is certainly comical, but not in an endearing sense, if Sony had any business sense or pride, they would not release this game (remember Madden in 1996? EA swallowed its pride). I'll close by saying that it is THE must-NOT-have PS2 game of the holiday season.
What happened to GameDay? I had a feeling there were problems, but not like this... For starters, it's not real pretty. It looks better than the PS version but not by much. It certainly isn't as impressive as Madden or NFL 2K1 (not even close). That's not the worst offense though - the animation bugs and spotty collision detection take that honor. Not since QB Club 2000 have I witnessed so many atrocious collision detection problems. At times a tackier will pass right through his intended target! On a positive note, there are several cool-looking hits, but they're offset by the inane stuff. GD 2001 needs about six more months in the shop.
What an utterly disappointing game. In the last couple of years, this franchise has been losing steam, and this is probably where it's hitting rock bottom. Basically, this looks like GameDay on the PlayStation with sharper textures, shinier menus, a smoother frame-rate and that's it. The gameplay, on the other hand, actually seems a little buggier. I've seen almost an entire defensive team jump in unison to deflect a pass from a QB no matter where they were. The physics on the tackling are sometimes weird, and plays routinely get wide, and I mean WIDE open. Skip this game--it isn't good enough to hold Madden's jockstrap.
There's not a whole lot to highlight in this new edition of GameDay. It looks decent, has some sweet new tackle animations plus all the old familiar sound effects (they really need to update these). But there aren't any big advancements in gameplay. The players don't skate around as much--that's nice. And they've incorporated a cool new play-as-any-skill player option, but oddly enough it still has some nasty Al flaws. When you can flatten receivers down-field (way beyond five yards) without drawing a penalty you might think you're playing NFL Blitz. Another oddity (there's more than a few) that has me reeling--when a receiver or defender deflects a ball, it seems to bounce off an invisible barrier five feet above their outstretched hands. Then if you're lucky you get to witness the "flying nun" maneuver. This is a result of awkward jumping animation; the players appear to hover across the field--wacky stuff. It's not ail weird however; they've simplified the supermoves to a double tap, pins the play-by-play is more accurate- Total Control Passing is more user-friendly as well. In the end, like most of the other football sims this year, there's not much difference over the last edition. If you're a GameDay fan, you'll probably be satisfied with the few changes made to the title. But overall, for the rest of us, there's not much to get excited about. Let's hope the PS2 version can breathe new life into this football mainstay.
Like many sports titles released for PS this year, RedZone delivers a passable game with the latest GP installment. All the prerequisites for a solid football experience are included, in addition to a few interesting features like the replay telestrator and a pretty flexible play creator. The "money" part of the game though--running, throwing, catching, receiving and tackling is a little lackluster. Framerates slip at the most inopportune times, like when your receiver is jumping for a ball in the endzone. Finally, it's a bit too easy to complete bombs in this latest GameDay-leading to five-minute-quarter games that last an hour.
GameDay hasn't really changed that much since last year, and because of that, my complaints with the series remain the same. I can't stand that the players have no momentum, allowing them to change directions on a dime. I don't like how they still slide around like they're on ice, and the over-the-top stiff-arms and running game shatters what little air of realism there is on the field. No other football game re-creates the exciting sights and sounds of the game like this one, but when it comes to realism and gameplay, Madden has widened the gap considerably. No longer is GameDay the innovator--the shoe is now snuggly on the other foot.
It's no secret 989 Sports is focused on GameDay for the PS2. Word on the street is many of the original development squad are back on the RedZone Interactive team, hoping to recapture the 'ol magic they had with the GameDay '98 on the PS2. EGM is getting an early look next month. In the meantime, the not so hotly anticipated final edition of GameDay for the PS needs some attention.
As you'd expect, there are no major surprises, just some tweaks and upgrades to this August release title. Remember how the players skated across the field last year? It's fixed. The Al is jacked-up thanks to the help of 17 NFL players including Derrick Brooks and Aeneas Williams. The developers did away with the post-play breakdancing as well--thank God. A "play-as-any-skill-player" option lets you experience life as a receiver, running back or tight end. And last but not least, 200 new mo-cap animations spice up the realistic edge somewhat.