We haven't looked at many NFL games here at Deaf Gamers. The only one we have looked at was NFL Fever 2003 on the Xbox that, it has to said, was quite enjoyable. NFL 2K3 is part of the SEGA Sports line up and is the latest in a line of NFL games from SEGA. This time though the game has been given the ESPN treatment. The game looks like you're watching it on TV, with the replays and statistic overlays etc. Of course what really matters is how the game plays and not so much how it's presented, so let's take a look at NFL 2K3.
The gameplay modes that are on offer are certainly impressive. You can choose between Franchise, Season, Playoffs, Exhibition, Tournament, Practice, Situation and of course Quick Game. The Franchise mode is the new inclusion this time around. Most of the modes are self-explanatory but in case you are wondering the Situation mode enables you to make a few modifications to the game before you begin. Fancy starting 10-0 in the lead? No problem. I suppose it's a mode that won't get used much but it's an interesting and welcome option to have.
What the game can be congratulated for is its authenticity. The game is based on last year's events. Everything from the playbooks, uniforms, ratings and league alignment changes are all here and all detailed to the letter. The players resemble their real life counterparts in terms of appearance too. What's strange though is that the players appear to lack pace and this makes breakaways difficult to pull off. Defending seems extra hard too. I can't seem to put my finger on exactly why that is but it seems far harder in NFL 2K3 than in any other NFL game I've played. The blocking is impressive though and is far superior to that found in NFL Fever 2003.
Graphically the game looks about as good as it could on the PlayStation 2. We've already mentioned that the players look great and they animate well too. The grass texture could be better but the stadiums as a whole look very good. Best of all though the framerate remains smooth and there is no slowdown at all. It's fair to say that this is definitely the best-looking NFL game on the PlayStation 2.
Provision for deaf gamers in sports titles is always minimal and NFL 2K3 is no exception to this. The TV style presentation is, for the most part, useless for deaf gamers. The game commentary isn't subtitled and neither is the ESPN style introduction. The game statistics are all shown onscreen during the game though and all information is shown in text so there aren't any barriers to enjoying the game even if a slice of the game's atmosphere is lost.
NFL 2K3 is an impressive effort from SEGA and is sure to equal any NFL game out there on the PlayStation 2 at the moment. The players' apparent slowness needs to be sorted out for the next version though and it could also do with some modifications to the defence mechanics to make it more realistic when it comes to defending.
Game Rating: 8.0/10