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Graphics: While it may fall slightly behind Madden 2000 in other areas, there is no denying that GD2K is the best looking football game the PSX has seen. Everything from the animations of the player models to the detail of the textures on their uniforms is top notch and shows exactly why 989 Studios has a reputation for quality. I was also impressed by how smooth the framerate remained at all times, regardless of how many players were moving on the field. The camerawork is also to be commended because it manages to nearly perfectly simulate what you would see on an average Monday night broadcast and never leaves you wishing you could see something off screen.
Interface: I’m something of an amateur when it comes to football, so I was expecting to be quickly overwhelmed by the vast number of plays and options available to armchair quarterbacks in this title. I was pleasantly surprised to find that not only are the plays well detailed in the playbook, but you can also run through any of them in an incredibly useful “practice mode” that puts you on the field by yourself and lets you practice running and passing the ball upfield. I can’t even begin to express how helpful this was in getting me up to speed on all of GD2K’s options. I was also able to set up my own teams, plays and tournaments with very little difficulty thanks to the excellent interface provided for these matters. I ran into a few minor problems, though, once I was actually inside of the game. It isn’t always as easy as it should be to switch to a teammate you need, which is something that definitely detracted from my enjoyment.
Gameplay: I can hardly think of a single way that GD2K could have been any more polished than it already is. This is definitely one of the best football titles out for the PSX today. While hardcore simulation fans will definitely prefer the latest in the Madden series, GD2K gives you a lot to enjoy. I felt the player control could have been a bit more solid and sharper, but aside from that, it was as close to perfect as one could expect it to be.
Sound FX: Now, I’m not saying anything definite here, and until I can get backstage at 989 Studios, I won’t be able to state anything conclusive, but I really can’t hear much of a difference between the sound effects in NFL Gameday 2000 and those in the first Gameday title. Why 989 has done this is utterly beyond me, as they weren’t really all that great in the first place. Regardless, they do get the job done, and the voice samples of the players are nicely done.
Musical Score: The music is extremely atmospheric and sounds like the kind of tunes you would hear pumped over the loudspeaker at a real NFL game, along with faithful renditions of “Louie Louie” and an extremely overused Queen-esque “STOMP STOMP CLAP” routine that gets irritating after a few games, but is authentic nonetheless. I was pleasantly surprised to find themusic was both appropriate and easy on the ears.
Intelligence & Difficulty: It can very easily and accurately be said that the computer knows more about football than I do. With this in mind, I recruited a few of my more testosterone packed friends who I thought could put the game through its paces better than I could, and on the harder difficulty levels, it pretty consistently whipped them. The computer can very accurately predict your plays by looking at your formation, and it adjusts its coverage in response, which can be a very impressive thing to see and prevents you from running circles around it with unpredictable plays.
Overall: If you’re looking for the hottest football simulator to be released this year, pick up a copy of Madden NFL 2000. If you’re willing to have a bit more of an arcade feel to your football, though, you really can’t go wrong with NFL Gameday 2000. This is doubtlessly the best looking football game on the PSX today, and I would be hard pressed to say there are any titles out there to top it. 989 Sports has shown that they can churn out grade A sports titles year after year without missing a step, and GD2K is a good indication that they’re not slowing down.
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