Ok, I know you're all itching to ask me the following question:
"Is he really reviewing a roster update?"
The answer is yes, if not so I can toss a few rants and raves out, for
Microsoft has released NFL Fever 2000 Roster Update, and I'm not
quite sure whether I want to shake their hand or slap them upside
the head. I know, I know, here comes the next question:
"Shake their hand, why would you do that?"
Well, at least they had the decency not to release an aptly titled
NFL Fever 2001, with little more than a few tweaks and a roster
update ala some other publishers who shall remain nameless.
Hey, I'm way ahead of you:
"So why would you slap them upside the head?"
That's simple, because they still had the gall to release a roster
update without having the decency to make it available for free to
owners of the original game. That and the fact Microsoft seems to
be letting EA Sports kneel down to run out the clock. With no
competition this year, the Madden NFL series becomes the only
option for football fans and much like Kordell Stewart dropping
back to make a pass, that's definitely not a good thing.
When NFL Fever 2000 was released last year, it injected some life
into the PC football market with its incredible animations,
exceptional ball physics and smooth gameplay. Sure, despite its
solid rookie season NFL Fever 2000 wasn't without it's faults. For
starters, the running game was poorly designed. It was either too
easy to run on the Rookie difficulty level, or impossible to run on
the All-Star setting. The passing game also had a few faults as
well, often distorting game statistics when looking at the overall
picture. While on the topic of statistics, NFL Fever 2000 didn't keep
track of season or player statistics outside of the overall standings.
It also simulated games poorly, resulting in scores that didn't
nearly match the general statistics of each game. There were a
few bugs as well but all in all, it was an excellent first year
experience that, much like Edgerrin James, was only going to get
better with age.
NFL Fever 2000 made a fatal mistake during the off-season, it
stayed on the couch eating chips and drinking beer instead of
hitting the weight room to improve itself. Microsoft was content
with simply bundling a Roster Update with NFL Fever 2000. This
necessarily isn't such a bad thing if you didn't purchase NFL Fever
2000, but those of us who already own the original must now
purchase the exact same game a second time just to receive the
rosters and official schedule for the 2000-2001 season. Does a
simple Roster Update warrant another $20 purchase? It certainly
doesn't. Does this mean Microsoft won't release any more updates
throughout the year? If you think of it, if they do, why should
somebody who already owns NFL Fever 2000, purchase it again for
the Roster Update when they could simply wait a few months for
Microsoft to release a free mid-season roster update?
It's a shame Microsoft decided not to partake in this year's football
season, I was looking forward to seeing their sophomore effort.
Instead, all I get is a Roster Update, and a fairly poor one at that.
Hang on, I've got this one:
"Why is it poor?"
Well my good friends, it's not complete. If you look at the
screenshots to your immediate right, you'll notice that I've taken
two shots of the Washington Redskins expensive new roster. You'll
notice it includes all major off-season acquisitions such as Deion
Sanders, but it doesn't include all the rookies. I'm not quite sure
when this Roster Update was completed and sent off for
duplication, but as you can see in one of the Redskin roster
screenshots, an important rookie such as LaVar Arrington is NOT
included on the list. Instead, an individual by the name of LB1
takes the starting spot as the Redskins middle linebacker. This isn't
the only mistake, if you enjoy playing with the Indianapolis Colts,
prepare yourself to play with Mr. FB1 and LB1 on your starting
squad. Why such rookies as Jamal Lewis and Peter Warrick were
included and not others, is beyond me. The bottom line, this Roster
Update isn't even finished.
I'd love to tell you how some of the rookies and newly-acquired
players perform in NFL Fever 2000, but that's extremely difficult to do
without player statistics, a feature that has yet to be implemented.
I could tell you from personal experience that Baltimore Ravens'
rookie WR Travis Taylor is a solid player, but since I haven't
played with each of the teams in-depth, that's about as far as I'll
comment for fear of missing key players. I will mention one thing
though, that despite the Roster Update, the teams in general don't
fair much better than they had before. In other words, although the
St. Louis Rams won the Super Bowl last year, they continue to
struggle in NFL Fever 2000, barely scrapping the .500 mark year in
and year out. After simulating several seasons, I found that the
Rams and Colts often faired quite poorly (6-10 if not worse) while
the Denver Broncos and Atlanta Falcons continuously found
themselves in the Super Bowl.
It's a pretty simple equation. If you already own NFL Fever 2000,
do not purchase the Roster Update. It simply is not worth the extra
money, especially since it's incomplete and has little effect on any
of the teams in general. If you don't own NFL Fever 2000, than you
might want to think about picking this title up. It doesn't offer any
general manager features whatsoever (and those that it does offer
are pitiful), it doesn't track statistics either, but it does offer solid
gameplay. I'm not here to judge NFL Fever 2000 as an original title
though, I'm here to judge it as a new release, a Roster Update, and
in that respect it doesn't even make the pre-season cut. Let's hope
Microsoft realizes they fumbled the ball and tries to recover it, for
this rookie once had potential.