Developer: Microsoft Game Studios |
Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios
Players: |
Release Date: 11/14/01 |
Genre: Sports

Microsoft is not new to the football genre. In fact, NFL Fever 2002 is the sequel to NFL Fever 2000 on the PC. This series has always been average when compared to the Madden series from EA. However, Microsoft sought to transform this average game into a Super Bowl winner on the Xbox. The results may surprise you.

The most noticeable thing about NFL Fever 2002 is the graphics. Utilizing the power of the Xbox, Microsoft sought out to create the most visually stunning football game ever envisioned. The level of detail is incredible. The jerseys on the field get dirty when players fall down, when it rains or melted snow gets on them, the jerseys get wet, and even grass can get stuck in the players face masks. But there are even more graphical features in NFL Fever 2002. For the first time, the thousands of screaming fans actually resemble screaming fans–instead of the normal 2D cardboard cutout fans. Okay, so some of these features have been done before… but they have never been done with the “graphical expertise” of the Xbox.

So besides the graphics, is there anything else that makes NFL Fever stand out from the other football titles on the market? While many Xbox skeptics would like to argue that the Xbox is just pretty graphics and no gameplay, those who actually play NFL Fever 2002 will actually discover that this football titles brings something new to the gaming market–a running game. One of the biggest complaints I have about Football games in today’s market is that there is never a consistent running game. What is the object of football in the NFL? Most of the teams that win the Super Bowl have a balanced offensive attack… Thanks to Microsoft and NFL Fever 2002–this is now possible!

With a great rushing attack, you would guess that the offensive side of the game is all great… well, think again. While the passing game allows players to run sideline routes and actually catch the ball (something Madden is horrible about), the passing game has one serious flaw. When you drop back for a pass and see a player wide open, one would expect a large gain. However, when you pass the ball to the wide open receiver, it is like the game goes into slow motion. Two to four defenders begin to surround the ball and break up the pass play to the once wide open receiver. Most of the time the catch is made… but instead of a thirty yard reception, the receiver is immediately tackled. It seems that Microsoft was trying to create more excitement for the offense and a better defense in NFL Fever 2002. However, this is one serious flaw that needs to be resolved in next year’s incarnation of the franchise.

Control in NFL Fever 2002 is pretty much like every other football game. The one difference is the inclusion of a few new buttons. Players can still perform a speed burst, spin, and stiff arm. However, if you want to hurdle, you will need to use the right analog stick. At first, this seems a little awkward–but after a few games, it will become second nature. This control scheme will probably become the standard in all football games from this point on.

Without a doubt, the worst element in NFL Fever 2002 is the sound. The commentators are absolutely horrible! When an injury occurs, the commentators ignore it. However, in Madden, they have an injury update and actually let you know how long the player will be out. Besides this, the commentators do not sound like they are sitting together watching the game. Madden and Summeral definitely have NFL Fever 2002 beat in this department.

In the end, NFL Fever 2002 is a good game–but overall it is not as polished or as well rounded as Madden. However, it has certain elements in the gameplay that are better than the other football titles on the market. While I enjoyed NFL Fever 2002, I would recommend trying the other football titles before making a purchase. When next year rolls around, I am confident that Microsoft will polish NFL Fever 2002 and deliver a title that “could go all the way…”

By Kaleb Rutherford – 01/09/02
ESRB Details:

Screenshots for NFL Fever 2002