NFL GameDay 2002

a game by 989 Sports, and 989 Studios
Platforms: Playstation 2, Playstation, PSX
Editor Rating: 7/10, based on 3 reviews
User Rating: 8.0/10 - 1 vote
Rate this game:

Overview

In the last few years, the world of video game football has undergone a changing of the guard. Back when the Sony PlayStation was everyone’s console of choice for gridiron goodness, each and every fall we would buckle our chinstraps in heated anticipation of the coming battle between the two perennial powerhouses: EA Sports’ NFL Madden, and 989 Sports’ NFL GameDay. Along with this annual clash of the titans, came a wave of debate among gamers as to which football offering was superior. Today, the landscape of video game football is much different. For one thing, 32-bit football is a thing of the past. Sure, you’ll still find our two familiar PS1 football franchises playin’ their hearts out on the PlayStation. But let’s face it folks, if you wanna play the best football games available, you’re gonna have to buy a next-generation console. Furthermore, the battle for football supremacy has grown from two to a whopping six or seven. While the Xbox goes deep with NFL Fever, Sega’s Dreamcast breaks the huddle with the surprisingly good NFL 2K2. The PS2 in particular has no less than five football games. With the already released NFL Madden 2002 and Segas NFL 2K2 port leading the pack, 989 Sports NFL GameDay 2002 is finally brought to market weeks later... with very little fanfare, that is. NFL GameDay 2002 marks the developers’ second attempt at PS2 football. As you recall, last year’s version, which featured plenty of the usual arcade excitement made popular by the series, left far too many holes in the gameplay department. As result, it was sacked for a fifteen-yard loss. However, this year’s version pledges to fix all of that. Along with the promise of incredibly detailed player models, the game package also boasts never-before- seen tackling, catching, and blocking animations, realistic opponent strategy, key play analysis, and player identification. But two big questions loom: Will it be enough and is it better late than never? Well, there’s only one way to find out. Let’s go play some football!

Gameplay, Controls, Interface

Unlike most of my reviews, I won’t be spending a lot of time talking about the features in the game, because, well, it’s pretty standard stuff. You’ll find the usual modes of play: Preseason, Season, Tournament, and General Manager. The latter offers you the chance to play in multiple seasons, where your final season record determines your job performance and, needless to say, job security. Of course, drafting, signing, cutting, and trading of players are all included. There’s a decent amount of stat tracking throughout the season, as well as a full-featured create-a-player option. Finally, in the options menu, you’ll be able to adjust several gameplay variables, including the levels of CPU running and passing. Okay, nuff said... lets get to the gameplay and control. If there’s one area where the NFL GameDay series has an edge over the other football games, its in the amount and variety of control that the game supplies to the user. For beginners, you get a basic control scheme for both offensive and defensive maneuvers. However, for more experienced gamers, this year’s game once again offers advanced controls for running, passing, and playing defense. Control is as tight as ever and after a while you’ll come to appreciate the myriad moves available to you.

When arcade gamers take the field, theyll immediately notice the same hard-hitting action that brings them back year after year. On offense, running backs will spin, juke, shoulder charge, high-step, and stiff-arm their way around and through would-be tacklers. On defense, tacklers will punish the ball carrier with a heightened sense of ferocity. When hit just right, you’ll see ball carriers go end-over-end. For the most part, the action is fast and fluid, although from time to time, slowdown will creep onto the field of play but not enough to seriously hinder the gameplay. For sim fans, however, gameplay is another story (or should I say, the same old story). On offense, line blocking is rudimentary at best. Holes are difficult to find, making traps and dives up the middle an unnecessary chore. Sweeps around the end are easier to pull off, however, and far too often you’ll still witness blockers who’ll stand around waiting for something to happen. The passing game is handled somewhat better, but even that has its fair share of problems. Your receivers will drop the easy ones at an alarming rate, even when they’re wide open. During the same game, they’ll make one-handed stabs with two defensive backs draped all over them. Balance, folks, where’s the balance? That’s not to say that you won’t have success passing the ball -- on the contrary. With little time invested, you’ll soon discover a host of money plays that’ll have you carving out huge chunks of yardage. Even when your receiver drops an easy pass -- no problem, just call the same play. Chances are, he’ll be wide open. After several games, my stats read something like this: 23 yards rushing, 534 yards passing. And we’re not talking Kurt Warner here, my friends. I was able to pull this off with just about every quarterback in the league. On defense, pass coverage is as equally idiotic. Defensive backs, who seem to play with a minimal level of intelligence, will allow wide-open receivers at an unprecedented rate. And if you think I’m exaggerating, you really need to take a long look at this year’s NFL Madden 2002, where an obvious level of thought has gone into pass coverage. There are no real problems with the defensive line play, with the exception of the inability to shift your linemen before the snap -- what’s up with that? The CPU does a much better job of clock management this time around, calling time outs in a more realistic manner. However, play calling is another story. It seems that the CPU still doesn’t quite understand the concept of when to run and when to pass. A quick adjustment of the CPU IQ slider doesn’t seem to help matters either -- even when set at the maximum 180, the CPU still plays like a moron. With two multitaps, the game supports up to eight simultaneous players. So gather your friends and let the games begin.

Graphics

The first thing you’ll want to know is that the graphics in this year’s game are much better than in last year’s effort. I still have a few complaints, but overall, they’re a lot closer to whatMadden has to offer and last year I couldn’t say that. First off, the player models are lookin’ good with clean textures and an impressive amount of detail. You’ll see the mesh in their jerseys, as well as various other player accoutrements needed for gridiron battle. You’ll easily recognize some of your favorite players, as their facial features offer a reasonable likeness to their intended target. Sadly, the majority of the other players come off as generic-looking mannequins. The various NFL uniforms and helmet logos are well represented this time around, with a startling likeness to their real-life counterparts. Stadium models are also improved in this year’s game and they do indeed look like the real deal -- at least, more so than last year.

Unfortunately, things begin to fall apart once you see this thing in motion. While animations are acceptable during the actual play, transitional animations come off somewhat stiff. Furthermore, slowdown will frequently creep its ugly head into the action and, while it may not be a detriment to gameplay, it is quite apparent nonetheless. There are a decent variety of animations in the game, with two-player gang tackles, and one-handed catches around every corner. But, as with prior versions in the series, a few of these animations seem to be included more as a pretentious display, rather than having any real usefulness. They may look cool, but far too often they just don’t make any sense. These include a ball carrier who will be running down the sideline unimpeded and then, for some unexplained reason, he’ll either tightrope the sideline or run completely out of bounds. Receivers will also offer a spectacular one-handed catch, even when the trajectory of the ball doesn’t necessarily call for one (hey, our creator gave us two hands for a reason). This will often result in an incompletion. And just wait until you get your hands on one of the defensive linemen. If you want to take a gap before the snap of the ball, he’ll stand up... and stay up (get down in your stance, you idiot!). The game offers the standard four camera views from which to choose, however two of them are virtually identical. I was hoping that this year’s game would include an option to create your own custom camera view -- no dice! Replays, which are handled in similar fashion to last year’s game, enable you to rotate the field and zoom in and out of the action to your hearts content.

Audio

The audio in the game is merely adequate. While the grunts and groans of your players, as well as the crowd noise, are present and accounted for, they offer nothing that we haven’t heard before. Legendary broadcaster Dick Enberg handles the play-by-play, while ex-NFL quarterback Dan Fouts injects his color commentary (more like back and white). Overall, the men in the booth do a decent job of calling the action. But, like most sports commentary these days, it gets repetitive really fast. And you’ll get the usual dose of mindless (and canned) observations. For example, after the opening kick-off, I had the ball at my own 32-yard line. First play from scrimmage: a 10-yard slant to my tight-end. Of course, he dropped the ball (shoulda had it!), prompting Danny boy to comment with something like: “ He better spread the ball around, Dick, or else he’s not gonna have much success passing the ball.” Hey Dan, methinks your intelligence is spread a little too thin! Another sequence had me firing the ball 15 yards above and beyond my receiver (too much pepper I suppose). This time Dan offers the insightful comment: “The receiver has to keep his eye on the ball.” (With what? Binoculars?)

Bottom Line

In the end, NFL GameDay 2002 offers the same hard-hitting action that diehard fans of the series have come to know and love. With pleasing graphics and a level of control that surpasses any other game before it, it’s bound to please many gridiron enthusiasts. Unfortunately, for those of you looking for a more complete package, the aforementioned annoyances and shortcomings in gameplay and AI relegate this game to a permanent seat on the bench. Yes, it’s been a changing of the guard, of sorts. Madden is still there, front and center. But the way I see it, we have a new threat nippin’ at its heels, in the form of Sega’s NFL 2K2. So, is GameDay’s release better late than never? I’m afraid it’s more like, too little too late!

Download NFL GameDay 2002

Playstation 2 Download

System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP

Playstation Download

System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP

PSX Download

System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP

Game Reviews

Overview

For the past five years, serious sports gamers who were looking to satisfy their 32-bit football fixes never had to look any further than the Sony PlayStation. The reason for this was quite simple -- the PSX has been home to two of the most dominant sport franchises ever to grace a video game system. Year after year, EA Sports and 989 Sports have battled on the virtual gridiron for console supremacy. Along with the annual release of their respective titles -- Madden and NFL GameDay-- came a wave of debate among gamers as to which game would win the football wars. However, preferences aside, the competition between these two developers meant good news for everyone. For one thing, it pressured each developer into producing a higher quality game. It also provided gamers with a viable choice -- Madden is best known for its simulation qualities, whereas GameDay offers much more of an arcade experience.

But times have changed, and as Sony's next-generation console approaches its first birthday, both EA Sports and 989 Sports have focused their attention on the next level of gaming. While that may be good news for PS2 owners, it certainly doesn't bode well for PlayStation owners. Nonetheless, this year's Madden and GameDay franchises have made their way onto store shelves for what may be their farewell appearances -- only this time, minus the customary hype and fanfare. Madden 2002 was the first to make its way to the game-playing public, but fans of the GameDay series did not have to wait long for their beloved PlayStation counterpart.

Yes, NFL GameDay 2002 -- the latest incarnation of the GameDay series -- has hit the gridiron, chock full of the same options, features and precise control that GameDay disciples have come to know and love. But is it a highlight reel of game-playing innovation or an instant replay from years gone by? Well, the stands are rockin' and the cameras are rollin'. So…are you ready for some football?

Gameplay, Controls, Interface

At the main menu, you'll find the standard gameplay modes of Exhibition, Practice, Season, Tournament and General Manager. The game also includes a play editor which allows you to customize your own playbook. In addition, you'll be able to change the level of play from Rookie to Hall of Fame, the style of play to simulation or arcade, and the length of quarters from one to fifteen minutes (does anyone really play one-minute quarters?).

In addition to its smash-mouth, arcade style of play, GameDay 2002 offers plenty of off-the-field action as well. The General Manager Mode is back again and you'll find it as exciting and full-featured as ever. As general manager, you'll be able to draft, sign and trade players over multiple seasons in order to build a Super Bowl contending team. You'll even be able to release players who are not performing up to snuff. Like the real NFL, you'll have to build your roster within the parameters of a salary cap. The game also gives you the option of playing a preseason schedule, invaluable for evaluating newly recruited rookies as well as some of the old and tired veterans. The game also includes a create-a-player option, which includes an interesting new twist. Either create a player based on standard ratings, such as speed, strength, and awareness, or create a "super player" with abilities based on some of the best NFL players in the game.

Through the years, the GameDay series has always been known for providing gamers with fast, accessible gameplay. This year's game continues that tradition with high-speed action and precise control. While I've never been a big fan of the series, I know responsive control when I see it -- and once again, this game has it in spades. Players will cut, spin and stop on a dime, with little or no delay. When total-control passing first made its debut, I was a bit leery of its overall effectiveness. Since that time, however, with practice and persistence, I've come to appreciate and enjoy the extra freedom it gives me in getting the ball to my receivers. It has become a staple of the series and I'm happy to report that it's back. On the defensive side of the ball, not much has changed, but that's probably good news for gamers. You can still pull off a bevy of moves to get to the quarterback. The action between the endzones is still fast and furious and, as with previous versions, you'll see and feel the some of the biggest hits the virtual gridiron has to offer. As a matter of fact, it's the only game that this reviewer has as much fun playing defense as I do playing offense.

Unfortunately, there are several areas of gameplay that are just downright annoying. Load times can be excruciatingly long. From the time you choose your teams to the time you kick off, it simply takes much longer than it should. As the commentators welcome you to each and every game, the field will spin and rotate. Eventually players from each team will meet at the 50-yard line for the coin toss. This whole process takes almost two minutes and you can't bypass it (geez…let's get on with it, already). Then there's the handy-dandy telestrator that appears after selected plays -- it's cool at first, but during the course of a full game it soon becomes tired and overused (knock it off, will ya!).

In terms of the AI, the CPU defense will adjust to your playmaking tendencies. While there are still a few money plays, they're definitely less dependable than in the past -- and this ups the replay factor considerably. Alas, there are still problems with the AI that haven't been fixed. It's bad enough when my receivers drop easy passes on the veteran mode, but as you move up the ladder to the highest difficulty mode, the problem is compounded tenfold. Your receivers will drop everything in sight, and when they do catch the ball they frequently cough it up to the CPU opponent. On the other hand, the CPU receivers seem to catch everything that comes their way, and when they fumble (you guessed it) they usually get it right back (cheap!). The CPU's decision making is another area that remains stuck in the dark ages of video-game football. Consider the following scenario: it's one minute before the half, and the CPU has the ball, first and ten at my 20-yard line. With three timeouts left, the CPU decides to run the ball three times in a row. As time ticks down, no timeouts are used and no field goal is attempted. The CPU gladly goes into the locker room trailing by ten points -- with all three timeouts wasting away in its back pocket. It's irrational gameplay like this that has always turned me off the series.

Multiplayer

Without a multitap, GameDay 2002 supports one or two players. With a multitap, you can play with up to seven of your friends. Its arcade-oriented gameplay is perfectly suited for this purpose. I've played four-on-four GameDay in the past, and although I haven't had the opportunity to try it in this year's game, I highly recommend it.

Graphics

I have to be honest here -- when it comes to visuals, I'm spoiled rotten. After playing the latest iterations of Madden, NCAA Football and GameDay on the PS2, I find it almost painful to go back to the far inferior PSX. But I've got to admit that, relatively speaking, GameDay's graphics are not that bad. As a matter of fact, if you've played last year's game you'll have a pretty good idea of what to expect here. Player models are still somewhat blocky, and uniform textures are depicted with just an adequate level of detail. Unfortunately, as compared to the Madden series, the helmet logos are a bit washed-out. However, like previous versions in the series, you will find an assortment of various body types with a more noticeable difference between linemen, receivers and running backs. In addition, the various NFL stadiums are modeled with a decent level of likeness to their real-life counterparts.

For the most part, the frame rate is as fast and smooth as ever, with occasional slow down that'll crop up from time to time -- but nothing too drastic. On the whole, the animations for throwing and catching the football are on par with last year's game. Likewise, there doesn't seem to be any discernible difference in the tackling animations. However, with an apparent improvement in collision detection, the wrap tackles are as realistic as ever and those hard hits are bigger and badder than ever. You will find new animations in the running game, as your ball carrier will fight and drag would-be tacklers with a new sense of purpose.

The standard camera views are present and accounted for. It would have been nice if the developers included a customizable camera, but chances are that you will find at least a couple of default cameras to your liking. I find the multiplayer camera to be the best for viewing the action on the field. On the whole, replays are well done -- although close-ups tend to expose more of the weaknesses in the player models.

While the overall presentation has a bit of a grainy appearance, keep in mind that two years ago these graphics were considered state-of-the-art. It's also important to note that we're talking about a six-year-old system here. Chances are that the developers have squeezed as much performance from the aging PSX as we're ever likely to see.

Audio

The sound effects are pretty much unchanged from last year's version. As a matter of fact, I'm not so sure they're any different from three years ago either. That's not to say that they're bad -- just don't expect any major upgrades here. The grunts and groans of your players, as well as the cheers from the fans in the stands, will ring familiar.

In regard to the commentary, however, it's something old and something new. Dick Enberg is back for the play-by-play, but this time the color commentary is handled by Dan Fouts of Monday Night Football fame. That's right, I'm not sure why, but Phil Simms has been replaced. Nonetheless, you'll hear the same worn-out phrases from previous versions (shut up, already!). In general, I found the commentary to be repetitive and uninspiring.

Bottom Line

While NFL GameDay 2002 isn't necessarily a bad game, it certainly doesn't do much to advance the series, either. With obvious devotion to its tried-and-true arcade game play, one thing is for sure -- it's still a lot of fun to play. If you're a fan of the series, you'll find a lot to like about this year's game. If not, there's nothing new here that'll likely convert you. To those of you who (for whatever reason) refuse to take the next-generation plunge, my advice is to rent it first and make your own comparisons. For everyone else, this reviewer suggests you save your beans and buy a PS2. You know you want one…oh yes, you do!

Overview

For the past five years, serious sports gamers who were looking to satisfy their 32-bit football fixes never had to look any further than the Sony PlayStation. The reason for this was quite simple -- the PSX has been home to two of the most dominant sport franchises ever to grace a video game system. Year after year, EA Sports and 989 Sports have battled on the virtual gridiron for console supremacy. Along with the annual release of their respective titles -- Madden and NFL GameDay -- came a wave of debate among gamers as to which game would win the football wars. However, preferences aside, the competition between these two developers meant good news for everyone. For one thing, it pressured each developer into producing a higher quality game. It also provided gamers with a viable choice -- Madden is best known for its simulation qualities, whereas GameDay offers much more of an arcade experience.

But times have changed, and as Sony's next-generation console approaches its first birthday, both EA Sports and 989 Sports have focused their attention on the next level of gaming. While that may be good news for PS2 owners, it certainly doesn't bode well for PlayStation owners. Nonetheless, this year's Madden and GameDay franchises have made their way onto store shelves for what may be their farewell appearances -- only this time, minus the customary hype and fanfare. Madden 2002 was the first to make its way to the game-playing public, but fans of the GameDay series did not have to wait long for their beloved PlayStation counterpart.

Yes, NFL GameDay 2002 -- the latest incarnation of the GameDay series -- has hit the gridiron, chock full of the same options, features and precise control that GameDay disciples have come to know and love. But is it a highlight reel of game-playing innovation or an instant replay from years gone by? Well, the stands are rockin' and the cameras are rollin'. So' are you ready for some football?

Gameplay, Controls, Interface

At the main menu, you'll find the standard gameplay modes of Exhibition, Practice, Season, Tournament and General Manager. The game also includes a play editor which allows you to customize your own playbook. In addition, you'll be able to change the level of play from Rookie to Hall of Fame, the style of play to simulation or arcade, and the length of quarters from one to fifteen minutes (does anyone really play one-minute quarters?).

In addition to its smash-mouth, arcade style of play, GameDay 2002 offers plenty of off-the-field action as well. The General Manager Mode is back again and you'll find it as exciting and full-featured as ever. As general manager, you'll be able to draft, sign and trade players over multiple seasons in order to build a Super Bowl contending team. You'll even be able to release players who are not performing up to snuff. Like the real NFL, you'll have to build your roster within the parameters of a salary cap. The game also gives you the option of playing a preseason schedule, invaluable for evaluating newly recruited rookies as well as some of the old and tired veterans. The game also includes a create-a-player option, which includes an interesting new twist. Either create a player based on standard ratings, such as speed, strength, and awareness, or create a "super player" with abilities based on some of the best NFL players in the game.

Through the years, the GameDay series has always been known for providing gamers with fast, accessible gameplay. This year's game continues that tradition with high-speed action and precise control. While I've never been a big fan of the series, I know responsive control when I see it -- and once again, this game has it in spades. Players will cut, spin and stop on a dime, with little or no delay. When total-control passing first made its debut, I was a bit leery of its overall effectiveness. Since that time, however, with practice and persistence, I've come to appreciate and enjoy the extra freedom it gives me in getting the ball to my receivers. It has become a staple of the series and I'm happy to report that it's back. On the defensive side of the ball, not much has changed, but that's probably good news for gamers. You can still pull off a bevy of moves to get to the quarterback. The action between the endzones is still fast and furious and, as with previous versions, you'll see and feel the some of the biggest hits the virtual gridiron has to offer. As a matter of fact, it's the only game that this reviewer has as much fun playing defense as I do playing offense.

Unfortunately, there are several areas of gameplay that are just downright annoying. Load times can be excruciatingly long. From the time you choose your teams to the time you kick off, it simply takes much longer than it should. As the commentators welcome you to each and every game, the field will spin and rotate. Eventually players from each team will meet at the 50-yard line for the coin toss. This whole process takes almost two minutes and you can't bypass it (geez' let's get on with it, already). Then there's the handy-dandy telestrator that appears after selected plays -- it's cool at first, but during the course of a full game it soon becomes tired and overused (knock it off, will ya!).

In terms of the AI, the CPU defense will adjust to your playmaking tendencies. While there are still a few money plays, they're definitely less dependable than in the past -- and this ups the replay factor considerably. Alas, there are still problems with the AI that haven't been fixed. It's bad enough when my receivers drop easy passes on the veteran mode, but as you move up the ladder to the highest difficulty mode, the problem is compounded tenfold. Your receivers will drop everything in sight, and when they do catch the ball they frequently cough it up to the CPU opponent. On the other hand, the CPU receivers seem to catch everything that comes their way, and when they fumble (you guessed it) they usually get it right back (cheap!). The CPU's decision making is another area that remains stuck in the dark ages of video-game football. Consider the following scenario: it's one minute before the half, and the CPU has the ball, first and ten at my 20-yard line. With three timeouts left, the CPU decides to run the ball three times in a row. As time ticks down, no timeouts are used and no field goal is attempted. The CPU gladly goes into the locker room trailing by ten points -- with all three timeouts wasting away in its back pocket. It's irrational gameplay like this that has always turned me off the series.

Multiplayer

Without a multitap, GameDay 2002 supports one or two players. With a multitap, you can play with up to seven of your friends. Its arcade-oriented gameplay is perfectly suited for this purpose. I've played four-on-four GameDay in the past, and although I haven't had the opportunity to try it in this year's game, I highly recommend it.

Graphics

I have to be honest here -- when it comes to visuals, I'm spoiled rotten. After playing the latest iterations of Madden, NCAA Football and GameDay on the PS2, I find it almost painful to go back to the far inferior PSX. But I've got to admit that, relatively speaking, GameDay's graphics are not that bad. As a matter of fact, if you've played last year's game you'll have a pretty good idea of what to expect here. Player models are still somewhat blocky, and uniform textures are depicted with just an adequate level of detail. Unfortunately, as compared to the Madden series, the helmet logos are a bit washed-out. However, like previous versions in the series, you will find an assortment of various body types with a more noticeable difference between linemen, receivers and running backs. In addition, the various NFL stadiums are modeled with a decent level of likeness to their real-life counterparts.

For the most part, the frame rate is as fast and smooth as ever, with occasional slow down that'll crop up from time to time -- but nothing too drastic. On the whole, the animations for throwing and catching the football are on par with last year's game. Likewise, there doesn't seem to be any discernible difference in the tackling animations. However, with an apparent improvement in collision detection, the wrap tackles are as realistic as ever and those hard hits are bigger and badder than ever. You will find new animations in the running game, as your ball carrier will fight and drag would-be tacklers with a new sense of purpose.

The standard camera views are present and accounted for. It would have been nice if the developers included a customizable camera, but chances are that you will find at least a couple of default cameras to your liking. I find the multiplayer camera to be the best for viewing the action on the field. On the whole, replays are well done -- although close-ups tend to expose more of the weaknesses in the player models.

While the overall presentation has a bit of a grainy appearance, keep in mind that two years ago these graphics were considered state-of-the-art. It's also important to note that we're talking about a six-year-old system here. Chances are that the developers have squeezed as much performance from the aging PSX as we're ever likely to see.

Audio

The sound effects are pretty much unchanged from last year's version. As a matter of fact, I'm not so sure they're any different from three years ago either. That's not to say that they're bad -- just don't expect any major upgrades here. The grunts and groans of your players, as well as the cheers from the fans in the stands, will ring familiar.

In regard to the commentary, however, it's something old and something new. Dick Enberg is back for the play-by-play, but this time the color commentary is handled by Dan Fouts of Monday Night Football fame. That's right, I'm not sure why, but Phil Simms has been replaced. Nonetheless, you'll hear the same worn-out phrases from previous versions (shut up, already!). In general, I found the commentary to be repetitive and uninspiring.

Bottom Line

While NFL GameDay 2002 isn't necessarily a bad game, it certainly doesn't do much to advance the series, either. With obvious devotion to its tried-and-true arcade game play, one thing is for sure -- it's still a lot of fun to play. If you're a fan of the series, you'll find a lot to like about this year's game. If not, there's nothing new here that'll likely convert you. To those of you who (for whatever reason) refuse to take the next-generation plunge, my advice is to rent it first and make your own comparisons. For everyone else, this reviewer suggests you save your beans and buy a PS2. You know you want one' oh yes, you do!

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