E3 2001: Hands-onNFL 2K2

Sega's flagship sports game comes back in its third season, packed with features.

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The original NFL 2K exerted its considerable strenghts in bringing Sega Sports back to legitimacy. The latest game in Sega's flaship sports series, NFL 2K2, returns with an enhanced gameplay system, new online options and animation, and improved graphics. In the gameplay department, both the running and passing games have been refined. In the passing game, the timing between the quarterback and recievers is more accurate and intelligent than last year's verison. On the ground, the spin moves are much tighter and from our early gameplay experience it seems as though the running game is more responsive. Still, the yardage won't be at a premium, unlike the first game in the series. But perhaps more importantly, the play calling system has been tweaked, as Visual Concepts hopes to add the ability to set packages of plays--very much like in the real NFL.

Off the field, the online mode has been tweaked. Most notably, the SegaNet servers will now be able to keep track of win/loss records online. So that players can finally refer to actual records in claiming NFL 2K2 superiority. One option that Visual Concepts hoped to include in NFL 2K1 was that of organized online seasons or tournaments. Once again, that is an option that the developer is currently looking into implementing in NFL 2K2. Hopefully, this time around we'll be able to play network seasons or tournaments in the game.

New animation routines were also added to the game. Judging from the demo shown at E3, there are a host of new animations between plays. There are also new tackling, catching, and quarterback-specific animations in the game. Finally, the player models have been improved. The player faces in particular have been modeled to look like their real life counterparts. They will also be able to display a wider range of facial animation.

NFL 2K2 will come with all new commentary and updated rosters, stadiums, and team uniforms for the 2001 season. The game will be released this fall for the Sega Dreamcast. Microsoft Xbox, Sony PlayStation 2, and Nintendo GameCube versions will also be released this year.

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