I don't like football. Yes, you heard right, but let me clarify a bit. What I don't like about football is just watching it. I'd rather be participating. This is why when it comes to video games, I love football. Being able to call the plays, make the passes and the kicks, and bring my virtual team to victory is a major rush. That's why I was really excited when I received the new NFL 2K game for Dreamcast from Sega.
I had heard so much about the awesome AI, motion-captured animations, and real physics collision system that I couldn't wait to play the game. Let me tell you, I wasn't disappointed. As a matter of fact, NFL 2K is so sophisticated, I found it a bit overwhelming at first. Luckily, Sega was smart in providing a Quickstart option that lets the computer choose your teams and gets you into an Exhibition game as soon as possible. Of course, there are plenty of other options available if you really want to get into it. In addition to Quickstart, there are no less than seven more modes of gameplay including Practice, Exhibition, Tournament, Season (make a regulation run for the Super Bowl Trophy), Fantasy (draft and play in a season of your own design), and Tutorial (which allows you to learn all the in and outs of the game as you play).
There are also a huge number of game parameters available that let you customize every aspect to your heart's content. You can adjust the Weather (time of day, temperature, precipitation, wind speed, fog), Presentation (action replays, commentary, sound effects volume, etc), Penalties (control the frequency of any penalty), Quarter Length (1- to 15-minute quarters), Skill Level (Rookie, Pro, All-Pro), Play Calling (By Formation or By Type), Game Speed, Fatigue, Injuries, and more. Like I said, this game is very sophisticated. As a matter of fact, using the Customize feature, you can design your own plays, players, and teams.
As far as gameplay is concerned, there is only one word to describe it... awesome! The audio and video are so realistic, you would almost swear you were watching a real football game on television. The player movements and sounds really draw you into the game, and the background commentary brings a very authentic quality to the overall experience. There are quite a few controls to learn, but it won't take you long to learn them. And the succinct manual provided with the game, gives you all the information you need. Kicking, passing, running, and selecting plays are actually pretty intuitive. Sega has made good use of their standard game controllers here.
So is there anything bad about the game? Not really. I've heard that there is a small menu bug when using the game in multiplayer mode (although I haven't been able to confirm it), but nothing really detrimental that would affect gameplay. In my opinion, NFL 2K has got to be the best football video game on the market to date. As a matter of fact, if you're going to buy a Dreamcast system (or if you already own one), this game alone will make your purchase worthwhile.