ESPN NFL Primetime 2002
Publisher & Developer: Konami
Genre: Sports (Football)
Capabilities: Memory Card Compatible, Vibration Function
Review Written: August 14, 2002
I have never seen as many football games released in a single year than the 2002 season. Everybody had to release a game. Madden & Sega NFL was already dominating the football genre enough this season. There were also the other usual football staples for 2002 that included Quarterback Club, Blitz, and Gameday for PS2. You think five NFL titles for the PS2 in one year would be enough, but then Konami acquired the ESPN license this year. They announced NFL Primetime 2002, complete with ESPN-style presentation. Let’s get onto the review to see if the ESPN license will be Konami’s key to success.
You’ll notice that Konami uses the ESPN license to the fullest degree. The game menus have a slick design, with most options having that classic ESPN “swoosh” to them. The ESPN license also helps out the presentation of the game a lot too. All the stats that are displayed on screen appear exactly the way they do when you watch a round of football on ESPN. One thing that Prime Time 2002 features in its presentation that none of the other PS2 football games did was listing the line ups of the offensive and defensive starters at the beginning of the game.
The players in the game look decent. However, they could use a lot of work. Most of the player proportioning is all wrong! The face textures are the same for all the players! There are a few nice touches, like uniforms get dirty during rainy games, and seeing coaches yell at players on the sidelines. When you try to make a diving tackle, and it appears that you miss, but the defender will still fall down. Why? Because the collision detection is that bad! Another thing that is poorly done is the play calling screen. I always found myself getting mixed up choosing a play. I swear, this has to be the worst play calling screen I have ever seen! I have more detail I want to whine about, and that is the menu navigation. It’s poorly done. It took me forever to find which mode I wanted to hop into, and what options I wanted to customize.
The best part of the game! The ESPN crew of Tom Breman and Tom Jackson do the commentary for the game. They do an ok job at delivering continuous commentary. They focus a lot on the plays, but don’t give as many stats or historical facts as other games like Madden and the Sega NFL games do. One thing is for sure though, and that is you definitely get a kick when you hear “He could go all the Way” as you make your game winning touchdown!
The controls are much similar to Madden. Most of the buttons you used for Madden to pass, spin, tackle, juke, and so on are the same here. The game is very easy to control, and I’m sure you’ll adapt right away. The passing game in here is a bit iffy. I’ll throw to a wide open receiver, and he’ll just drop the ball like he was covered by five guys! The running game is a bit odd as well. I love to run the HB Toss all the time. Any Toss variation will do the job for me, and I usually manage to pull off decent yards with it in most football games. However, in here, I’m always getting superb yardage when I run it. The computer will never stop me, and I’m always running for about a good 25 yards on every HB Toss I do. I’m shocked that the computer AI defense won’t pick up on it. The very first game I easily killed the comp on the Pro level of difficulty!
The game has a few ways to play. There’s a practice mode, which is perfect for learning the game’s controls. However, when I was choosing a stadium to practice in I noticed something peculiar. That is the fact that Konami only got the rights to about half of the names of the real life stadiums in the games. The popular ones like 3Comm Park and Miles High Stadium are in here, but others like Lambeau Field are simply called, “Green Bay Packers Stadium.” What is up with that? There is your usual exhibition mode, where you can play an actual game with the options and rules customized to your liking. Instead of separate season and franchise modes, we just get a franchise mode. This is where you keep playing one season after another. Konami did a great job adding all the bells and whistles in off season management. You can do everything from signing/releasing players to trading and extending contracts.
There is a player editor in Prime Time 2002. Notice I said edit, not create. So that means in order to make your own dream player, you’re going to have to sacrifice an actual player on the roster! You can also create your own user profiles so you can track all your win-loss records. The game also saves actual records from the past, like most running yards in a game, and dozens of other ones that can be broken by you. I like that option.
The game can be played with up to four players, but I only play simulations with two players. That’s the way they’re meant to be! The Franchise mode adds some depth, and I’m sure any football fan will be spending a great deal of time with it. You can try your hearts out at breaking the NFL records, but I doubt you will.
+: Awesome ESPN presentation, Easy controls
-: Horrible Computer AI, Lots of problems with the graphics, Not all authentic stadiums are represented
The Final Ratings Rundown
Game play: 6.5
Replay Value: 5.0
Rounded to fit GameFAQs Score: 6
This proved to be an ok football simulation. There were just too many problems with it for me to garner a recommendation. I’m sure with a few more years of experience, this could’ve been a great football game franchise, but it won’t. Why? Because Konami gave up on the ESPN license and gave it to Sega. This was Konami’s first football game they ever made, and it also appears to be their last.
Back to Gruel's GameFAQs Review Page