Usually, when writing a review I at least attempt to write some kind of lazy pun, an innuendo maybe, possibly even a joke at the expense of the developer. Well guess what, fact fans? The joke’s on me. I paid my sixty dollars for a game much akin to playing NFL, without the players, through a wet, stinking hankie.
It’s so easy to pick holes in Madden games these days, for the shoddy animations, for the lazy development, for all of these things – but it’s 100% definite that 2K Sports, for the mere reason they’re not EA – will get away with all of the hideous mistakes that make up All-Pro Football.
While many will understand this review as hateful – please, dear reader, retread those steps and realise it is out of disgust.
Lacking an NFL license, 2K have decided to let the user create their own team out of a stable of former players, who it would only be necessary to name if it made any substantial addition to the game. These players, instead of having stats, are ranked either gold, silver, or bronze, and have a selection of titles (Brick Wall meaning “DEFEND GOOD” and Laser Arm meaning “THROW GOOD”, and actually meaningful ones such as “signal stealer” allowing you to see what play the other team is making) that strive to create a difference beyond “throwing: 99.” You’re allowed 2 gold players, 3 silver players, and 6 bronze players, and the rest are chosen for you.
This would have a semblance of meaning if these numbers were constant with the other teams, but they’re not – their numbers of gold players fluctuate between 1 and 5 – and to top it off, you can only play as your created teams. Essentially, if your team sucks, or you happen to go against one that doesn’t, you’re at a remarkable disadvantage – and there’re no trades, sonny, so don’t even expect to change your team at all over the woefully featureless season mode.
This would all be at least bearable if it wasn’t for the fact that the entire game plays awfully. This is the epicentre of my disgust towards 2k Sports. It feels as if the entire experience has been created by people who had no knowledge of American Football. The speed and contact of NFL (sorry, just “Football”) are lost upon this game – Quarterbacks throw in slow motion, big plays feel like they take a minute each, and games drag on like a dying dog.
Even more obtrusively are the hilariously awful cutscenes where players taunt eachother (once again, like Blitz) – and in the same jerky, awkward way that the rest of the game plays. To add insult to injury, the game is packaged inside an awkward, garish clunky UI. Just dandy.
The engine is almost good. You see, the animations are fantastic – even if it feels wrong, it looks right, and that’s the first time anyone can say that about a football game in a long time. The graphics don’t feel quite right, though. Players seem squashed, everything seems a bit jagged, and players’ eyes gawk awkwardly out of the front of their heads.
In fact, if you need to understand this game, just think “awkward.” That’s about right. Everything about it is awkward. Nothing feels right, from the god-awful physics, to the peripheral addition of classic players.
It remains to be said whether or not this game was played – not tested, but simply played – by anyone who had touched another NFL/FL/Football/game before release. Even with the speed tweaked to “fast,” nothing works right. It’s not maladjustment because of however many years of Madden games, it’s a simple failure on the part of 2k Sports to get it right.
Do not buy this game. For $60 you could buy anything – be it another game, or simply as many dead salmon as you could fit in your car. Either would be a finer choice.
Any of you who ever call a Madden game lazily developed have new proof that EA are not the bane of all existence. Congratulations, 2k, you have out-done yourselves.