Written by  :  Roedie (5253)
Written on  :  Feb 14, 2006
Rating  :  3.2 Stars3.2 Stars3.2 Stars3.2 Stars3.2 Stars

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A fun game for those new to American Football.

The Good

It's easy to get into if you don't know a lot about American Football. I'm from the Netherlands and this sport isn't part of our culture and it's never on TV (except the Superbowl) so I'm always pretty unsure as to which play I should call in a certain situation, especially on the defensive end. Nickel? Dime? When to use them? In Joe Montana Football you can always choose Joe's Play if you don't know what to do. For me this was a great feature, experienced coaches will no doubt have a different opinion.

Gameplay is fast and action-oriented with a lot of emphasis on offense. Sometimes this results in scores like 84-56 with 482 yards passing. It's unrealistic but throwing a long pass is the best part of the sport isn't it? However fortunately not all games turn out the same. The 16 teams are divided into four categories: fair, good, strong and top-notch. Every team has one or two things that characterize it. One team has very fast receivers, another has a very poor defense etc. The teams you choose have a huge impact on the gameplay. In for instance the NBA Live games, I could still beat the best team with the worst team (on medium difficulty). You don't have to try that in this game. If you select a team with slow running backs and the computer team has fast linebackers and cornerbacks, you can forget about rushing more ten twenty yards in the game (come think of it, this is actually a bad thing isn't it?). Anyway I like it that not all games turn out the same, in my opinion games are the best when the computer team is a little bit better than your own team. For example choose a strong team vs. a good team. That way games stay exciting till the end. Unfortunately you can't see how good a team is until you've selected that team, but that's a minor fault.

The graphics are not very pretty but they are functional. In most situations I like the top-down perspective since it gives you a clear view of the action. In some football games you view the action from the sideline, I don't like that since it's usually hard to tell who is who. Both consist of 11 players (some games limit the number of player to make thing less complicated). Before you throw a pass you can look at the passing window to see whether your receiver is covered or not (I think you should also able to change the direction of your pass with a crosshair but its functionality is dubious. By default the crosshair is aimed at the receiver and I really never needed to change anything).

The Bad

The lack of options, for example you can't play an entire season. Experienced coaches will be disappointed that they can't design their own plays, can't make substitutions and can't make trades & transactions. There are no player statistics, no player ratings or even player names. Players all look the same, faceless and without any personality (with the exception of Joe Montana of course).

The top-down view does not work when you need to kick a field goal. When you need to kick from thirty yards or more you can't see the goal-posts. This makes aiming rather hard. For some reason it's also rather difficult to give the right direction to a field goal (bad controls). I missed way too many field goal attempts.

A.I. is not that good. In some games it's really tough to beat the computer but that's because its players are so fast and your players are so slow, not because it has a brilliant game-plan. Too often balls bounce of the backs of players cause they forget to turn around when they receive or intercept a pass. The computer tends to think its helpful to call a time-out when it is behind 20 points with 1 minute left to play. When the defenders are slightly less quick than your running backs it real easy to shake them off. I once ran in a pattern resembling a large 8 for a while with the entire defense chasing me. It's funny but rather unrealistic. The computer never surprise you with a draw or a fake field goal, it plays rather predictive.
  • Perhaps the dumbest looking audience ever in a sports game.
  • Ugly interface & menus.
  • Very repetitive music, sound effects are not bad but there should have been more different effects.

The Bottom Line

Action-oriented football game (why do they call it football anyway? The only times a foot touches the ball are with a punt and with a field goal). Fun for newbies but not for veterans.