Madden NFL 2002
System: Playstation 2
Publisher: EA Sports (Electronic Arts)
Genre: Sports (Football)
Capabilities: Dual Shock 2 Analog & Feedback Compatible, Memory Card Compatible, Multi-Tap compatible for up to 8 players
Review Written: December 29, 2001
Obviously by the title of the game, Madden NFL 2002 is the sequel to last years 2001 edition. Madden 2001 for PS2 featured a new revolution of football gaming on console platforms with some of the most realistic graphics ever to grace a football game. Now the competition for football games this season is pretty fierce with several other games. There is Acclaims NFL Quarterback Club 2002, Konamis ESPN NFL Primetime, Midways NFL Blitz 20-02, and Sega brings there much heralded football game, NFL 2K2 to the PS2. So will Madden remain the king of football on the PS2 this season? Lets get onto the review and find out.
The graphics for Madden 2001 on PS2 were considered to be the greatest ever to grace a console football game. The same graphics engine returns in this years game, and everything is the same for the most part, but with major and minor additions, which Ill talk to you about later. For the games basic graphics we have the most realistic looking football players youll see out there. The stadiums are modeled after the real thing, so you can make out all the little details like the welcome banner in 3Comm park. The sidelines are packed with players, coaches, and cameramen. Instant Replays make the game presentation a lot more realistic. The play calling screen is probably the best one out there on the market, with menus made so easy to navigate through that anyone can know weather the play they are picking is a rush, pass, or special teams. The in game action moves at a fast, solid, pace, with no slowdown or flicker visible at all. All the tackles, throws, jukes, and all other maneuvers are animated with the most realistic of movement so it seems like you are watching the game on television. Trust me, youll be amazed when you see a pile up form at the sidelines, taking out the refs and first down marker holders with it.
Now to talk about the changes to the graphics in this years game. For some minor changes, the scoreboards, and all other game menus are slightly altered so they have a new look for the 2002 version of the game. All the coaches from last years game got a whole new make over so they look more realistic. Also cheerleaders make there first debut in the Madden series, and you can see them in the player introductions, dancing on the sidelines, and are even collectable Madden Cards. Speaking of player introductions, we got a whole new type of player introductions that looks like the way they do in a real game now, where several players run out of the tunnel, in between the line of cheerleaders and other players. For some of the more major changes in graphics in this years game we start off with more realistic looking player faces, and no more of the bland looking faces from last years game. Also the fields in outdoor stadiums look better than ever, where you can actually see rain drops hitting a muddy, torn up, field. The instant replay got a new feature which makes you want to view them more. When you make a big sack, or interception or some other big play, the camera plays the hit three times, much like the way the replays ran in the THQ N64 wrestling games. Also the camera rotates a full 360 degrees at times so you can see the point where a ball was intercepted. The Madden Cards are redesigned so they have a new look to them as well. All these improvements make the visuals in Madden 2002 just spectacular!
All the sound effects from last years game make there return, with all the tackles, grunts, and gun shots nearly sounding identical to Madden 2001, but that isnt a bad thing because these are the most realistic sound effects in any football game out there. The player chatter is back as well where in between plays when the camera zooms in on specific players you can here them trash talking on the field. You can also hear the quarterback call the plays and make an audible like you always could have before. Madden and Summerall are back in the booth doing the commentary for the games with Lesley Visser on the sidelines giving you halftime updates and injury reports. Summerall does a great job at the play by play, making sure all the first downs and plays were properly called, and Madden throws in his usual rambling. Now even though they sound consistent, there isnt a whole lot of variety in the phrases they say. Within a few games youll hear Madden start to repeat himself with phrases like, Looks like the ball had too much mustard on it, occurring several times in one game. So the commentary is all right, but gets repetitive, and a little bit (not too much thankfully) on the annoying side. One new feature in the audio department is that last year on the play selection screen the ask coach option appeared where an audio clip of a generic voice suggested a play to do in the situation you are in. Well, in 2002, that feature is now Ask Madden where John Madden himself tells you the play of his choice to do. I think this addition makes more use of the Madden license, than just listening to his commentary in the game.
Madden 2002 controls almost the same as the 2001 edition with a few new enhancements in the game engine. Playing on the field is really easy, with controls for the game popping up at the right time on the loading game screen. I especially love how the running game has improved in 2002. Now I already thought it was good in last years game with the excellent juke and spin moves, but the stiff arm was practically useless. But no more in 2002, this time the stiff arm actually shoves down defenders trying to tackle you, and makes your running game more efficient. My only complaint about the main game engine is how tackling is still much like last years game where the tackle button is pressure sensitive, where the longer you hold the button the longer the player dives, and when you do hold the button he still doesnt even dive that far, I mean you have to be right next to the player to tackle him. The game has a brand new kicking meter which is more tricky to use. First you start the kicking meter off by pressing X, then you press X again to stop at how much force you want to kick the ball with, then press X again, hoping to get the meter to stop in the middle of a tiny orange bar for your accuracy. Now this does make kicking field goals much more challenging, too challenging to put up with as a matter of fact, and I hope they get rid of this new meter in next years game. One last addition in the game engine is that you can now manually call challenges instead of them randomly popping up like they did in Madden 2001.
Since this is Madden, there are loads of modes to play from. We have our basic exhibition game where we can customize the rules and options to our liking and hop right in a game. Then there is quick start where you automatically hop right into a game with default rules and random teams picked for you. Season mode is still here where you guide your team through the 17 week season and through the playoffs into the Super Bowl. Or you can go into play offs mode and skip season play. Or you can create your own play offs in tournament mode where a number of teams of your choosing compete in an elimination style tournament. The Franchise mode that the Madden series debuted is still here, where you can keep playing season, after season, and participate in off season options like the draft, trading, and firing players. In year two of the Franchise mode the Houston Texans make their debut, where you have the option of customizing them to your choosing, drafting as many players as you like. The Madden Cards return for a second season where you earn tokens for making touchdowns, sacks, big rushes or passes, etc. and you use the tokens to buy packs of Madden Cards which you use during game play to enhance your players, or as cheat codes like having unlimited Field Goal range, for example.
New modes that debut in the PS2 version of Madden 2002 are the Two Minute Drill mode which saw its debut in the PSX version of Madden 2001 where you pick a team and go against another to see the most amount of points you can score in two minutes. You are scored on accuracy of passing, rushing, etc. and are awarded with tokens to use to buy Madden Cards. The other new mode is the Create a team mode where you can customize your teams Uniform, Logo, and draft the whole team. Then you can use the team and put them in a Season, or Franchise if you want to take them a step further, and lead them all the way to the Super Bowl. All the other creation modes return for this year also like the excellent Create a Player, where you customize your own athlete from the ground up and draft him onto a team.
The game can be played with up to eight players through the use of two multi taps. So all your friends can go at it for a big football party. Also when you go one on one with a friend, and if both of you own Madden Cards, you can risk several of your collection up by playing a game of football where the winner takes the losers cards. If you dont want to do that you have the option of trading your cards the old fashioned way also. If youre playing by yourself you have hours of game play at your hand, like playing a whole NFL season, or playing continuous seasons in the Franchise mode. There are also enough specialty teams here for you to tinker with also. Aside from the usual hidden teams like the EA Sports and Tiburon teams (makers of the game), we also have over a hundred historic teams, complete with there own classic uniforms and logos. You miss the Oilers, or want to play with the Rams back when they were in Los Angeles? You have the option of doing that here. You also want to make sure you buy the entire collection of Madden Cards also to prove you are the ultimate Madden player. And keep this in mind, the higher you increase the difficulty of play, the more tokens you earn by making those big plays.
+: The best graphics of all the other football games, Instant Replays look a lot better, Loads of Replay Value with all the customization and modes available to you, New Ask Madden feature makes good use of the Madden License in the game
-: The new kicking meter is annoying as heck, Madden and Summerall in the booth may not be as good as you think they are in this game, tackling players is still a pain
The Final Ratings Rundown
Game play: 9.7
Replay Value: 9.8
Rounded to fit GameFAQs Score: 10
You know, it is not too often that I give a game a rounded score of a 10. And usually if I do, that means it is a must own title to me. Now Id usually say this would be the best football game on the PS2 and to go out and buy it right now, but Sega brought its flagship NFL 2K series over to the PS2 this year with NFL 2K2, and I love that series to death. As a matter of fact, in last years football game wars, I boasted that NFL 2K1 was better than Madden 2001, but with the amount of improvements that EA and Tiburon has crammed into this years game I have to say it brought it up to par and makes both games nearly equal. So I recommend buying both games for the hardcore football gaming fans, but if youre a little tight on money then I say your only other option is to flip a coin and decide for yourself.
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