NFL GameDay 2001 Review
Well here it is the review of Sony's football simulation. Gameday 2001 was released last week along with its rival Madden 2001, yesterday I reviewed the incredible game and gave it a 9.2. After days of comparison I have come to the conclusion that Madden is the untouchable winner in this brawl and if you look at it there really was no contest. Gameday has been dominant for three titles, until a portion of Sony became 989 Studios/Sports, this new creation seemed to be doing everything wrong, NHL Faceoff '99 was a disaster, MLB 99 was one as well, and Gameday has finally succumbed to the inevitable comeback of the Madden series. 989 didn't give up though, next year they planned on getting the gold back but the following year was worse. Gameday had plummeted into the world of poor gameplay, sometimes ridiculously ignorant AI, and not the best player animations. Yet again 989 hopes to regain themselves by announcing a whole slew of new features that will be included in the 2001 edition of GameDay. So 989 finally releases this "new and improved" football sim.
To describe GameDay's visuals in one word, its "dated". The claims that 989 made about new changes in the press releases are not even noticeable, the new improved AI feels like a lie, I'm not calling 989 liars but the changes feel like they aren't even there. The artificial intelligence isn't too smart, comparing last year's AI to this year's the difference is not even there. 989 has clearly re-used the same game engine and they really made it show, the player models are no different than last year's, the visuals in general lack any evident change and do nothing to impress me the least bit. On the other hand the players run a bit faster, but that really doesn't make up for anything. The motion capturing animations don't really show as much as Madden. Madden's characters where smooth looking and moving, but GameDay has chunky looking models with barely above average animation. The stadium look a bit more detailed than Madden's but that is pretty stupid since the stadium detail in a sports game isn't very important, since you have to concentrate on your team-mates, not on the guy with a USA hat on his head. If 989 made the stadium look less attractive then that could have made up for the average player models and acceptable motion capturing.
Let's get one thing of the bat, the intro in GameDay is much better than Madden's. Madden's intro featured a cheesy rap song with not some hard-hits in the video, but with GameDay the intro is incredibly heart pounding and even shows a glimpse of the the heartbreaking last play in the 2000 Super Bowl. The music is also a hell lot better than Madden, but the intro is basically the only thing great about GameDay 2001, the rest is just slightly above average. GameDay 2001 is the exact same game as GameDay 2000, the stadium intro song is the same, the menu song is the same and on top of that the visuals are the same. This makes me wonder if 989 Sports took any time with the game, absolutely nothing drastic has been made to GameDay 2001, compared to Madden's gameplay mechanics and all the frills that Madden offers you, GameDay can't even compete. You have your everyday basic modes like, Season, Exhibition, Custom athlete and etc. The advantage that GameDay has over Madden is that the game can support up to 8 players instead of 4, but on the other hand the somewhat shallow gameplay may stop you from calling four extra buds over your house. My pick has got to be Madden 2001, the visuals are incredible, the gameplay is sheer realism, although the sound could have been better. Now speaking of sound let's talk about that for a while shall we?
You may all be surprised to hear that GameDay actually has better commentary than Madden, the play-by-plays are a bit more continuous and don't have that "one-liner" feel that Madden somehow creates. The commentators aren't as big as James Brown and John Madden but they do the job and they do it well. Another thing that Madden lacked was celebration music, thankfully just like GameDay 2000, 2001 features music so that you can jump around your house rubbing a touchdown in your buds face. The sound effects such as falls, the hard talk comments and tackles sound very good. The sound is probably the only thing I didn't find much wrong with, even the menu music is good, sadly though the GameDay engine has worn itself out and it seems as if 989 has lost the 32-Bit football war.
The control is the exact same thing as GameDay 2000 which isn't really bad. Hiking the ball is done by pressing X, and pressing X again will bring up the buttons for each corresponding receiver, but GameDay doesn't have the different pass setting that Madden 2001 has. For those who didn't read my review on Madden (shame on you), let me explain a little feature that the game has. You can select one of three choices for passing, if you pick Digital then your QB will shoot the ball depending on where you are directing his body by using the digital four way pad on your PS controller. By selecting Analog, you will have to do the same except use the analog stick for direction. And finally you have Normal, this is just like GameDay where tapping X after the hike will bring up the button logos for the PS controller. Moving around isn't too tough, analog and dual shock are both supported so that's a plus.
NFL GameDay 2001 was a bit exaggerated by the company, 989 listed a whole list of new features that didn't really change the game much at all, the gameplay remained the same except for the little speed boost, the visuals have absolutely not be touched and the AI can even be stupider than GameDay 2000. Frankly I'm disappointed that 989 isn't giving to sh*$'s about their GameDay series, remember the saying "what once was lost is now found". The GameDay series has strangely lost its self and needs to regain it's ground so that it can stand up to the heat when the PS2 arrives. There is absolutely positively no doubt in my mind that Madden NFL 2001 is the football game to get, make sure you have it in your library folks, this is the very last Madden game on the PSX.