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Critic Reviews

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100 (Sep 27, 2002)
NFL 2K3 is almost a completely different game on the Xbox. Animations are more fluid, graphics are more detailed, and game play is tighter. The aspects of presentation designed to make each game appear as though it is taking place on an ESPN broadcast are more convincing because of better animation. The sportscaster's mouth moves in time to his speech, for example. Clouds moving overhead cast shadows on the field, and players' helmets reflect the stadium. Players are more responsive to user controls and also seem more intelligent when not controlled by the user. NFL 2K3 includes online gaming for the Xbox and PS2.
GamePro (US) (Aug 12, 2002)
NFL 2K3 is a straight-ahead, hard-as-knuckles football game. Some players might prefer Madden's interface because it tends to be friendlier to average players and rookies. NFL 2K3 is definitely less forgiving if you don't concentrate and come ready to play. For most hardcore football gamers, that ain't bad at all.
Gaming Target (Aug 19, 2002)
I realize I spent the majority of my time in this review complaining about how tough playing against the computer can be. I guess I’m just upset cause I’m a veteran NFL 2Ker and I’m getting slapped around. Correction, I was getting slapped around. The addition to customize the difficulty was smart on VC behalf, and really gives the player the most control over the game. In the end, NFL 2K3 is just a very solid football game, and arguably the best available this season. It’s the best playing NFL 2K title ever, even with it’s few problems, the audio and visuals are unmatched by the competition, and with the acquisition and exceptional use of the ESPN license, the presentation is the best all around. And let’s not forget a vastly improved franchise mode and full Xbox Live support (November 15th can’t come any faster!). Basically, any pigskin fanatic can’t go wrong picking this game up, and in fact, I highly recommend it.
If your looking for a game that redefines the football genre year after year, go with NFL 2K3. If you want a game that is the same every year, and offers nothing new, then go with Madden.
Gaming Age (Aug 26, 2002)
Football games improve every year, sometimes by a wide margin, but usually just a little bit here and there. There are always issues that arise after playing a game for months on end, and most of us wonder, "Why can't they fix that?" This year they did. Sega has made seemingly all the right tweaks. It's not perfect, but it's as close as anyone has ever come. If you're a die-hard Madden fan, this is the year to give something else a try. This might not be the year that Sega's series tops Madden in the sales charts, but we might look back at 2003 as the year Sega's NFL 2k3 became the better game.
Game Revolution (Sep, 2002)
Sega Sports' NFL 2K3 for the Xbox is a great football game. The money and effort that clearly went into the production were not poorly spent, as they produced one of the finest football games available. Touchdown, Sega.
GameSpy (Sep 05, 2002)
Bottom line, if you're an NFL fan, and career play is important to you, you owe it to yourself to give this game a rental at the very least -- especially once Xbox Live hits the streets and online play joins the mix. The pace of play is a little bit slower than the competition (Fever and Madden on the Xbox), but if anything, that's a plus. Try it. Rent it. Chances are, you'll wind up buying it ... and you won't be sorry you did.
GameSpot (Aug 12, 2002)
There's very little, if anything, to really complain about in NFL 2K3. The graphics look great, the commentary is interesting and sounds natural, and, most importantly, the game features balanced offensive and defensive gameplay that does an excellent job of mimicking the nuances of the actual sport. In addition, the ESPN license has gone a long way toward giving the game some personality. You'll be treated to the ESPN-style presentation, complete with split-screen replays and music from ESPN programming, which simply tops off an incredible game that any football fan would do well to buy.
IGN (Aug 09, 2002)
In the final analysis, NFL 2K3 is a great football game that inches ever closer to football simulation nirvana. The inclusion of several key features, especially this year's multi-faceted Franchise Mode, makes huge strides over last year's offering. Invariably, there's going to be argument and consternation about the final score, which I'll tell you now is an 9.1. To be sure, there will be a rush to the IGN Boards to discuss and (in the case of some fans) lament this score. The main point of contention will be the fact that last year's version earned a 9.0 on PS2, and an 8.3 on Xbox. It did not make an appearance on the Cube in 2K2. In addition, you'll probably be asking yourself how this game stacks up to Madden this year. There is but one thing to say: different reviewers, different reviews.
In the end with so many choices this year Sega is the obvious winner. The playing field is full with the likes of NFL Fever 2003, NFL Gameday 2003, and Madden 2003. If you are curious as to which one to buy look no further than any true football fan and you will soon realize that Sega is a dominant force in sports entertainment. With an ESPN license and the best game play around Sega has come away with my money this year. It is too bad most people will still buy Madden for namesake, this is what ruins developers pride and I for one will not let that happen!
Netjak (Sep 17, 2002)
NFL 2K3 is an absolute gem of a football game that has probably been overlooked due to lack of name. It is pretty much superior to the Madden franchise in every way. From impressive on field animations and graphics to the absolutely incredible franchise mode, NFL 2K3 is a must have for any football fan, or anyone who likes to play sports and not watch them.
Gameplanet (May 19, 2003)
For some people this will be the first opportunity to play a title in the NFL 2k series and if you have any interest in American Football then you owe it to yourself to at least give this a shot. Its been a long time since there has been a choice of two exceptionally high quality NFL games and thankfully this cuts the mustard.
89 (Apr 15, 2003)
NFL2K3 hat alles, was das Herz eines Football-Spielers begehrt. Doch mit dem enormen Schwierigkeitsgrad spricht es eher erfahrene Recken an, als interessierte Neulinge. Wer jedoch Zeit investiert, um sich in die vielschichtige, timinggenaue Steuerung einzuarbeiten, wird mit einem frischen und realistischen Gameplay belohnt. Nicht nur dank der genialen Präsentation der Spiele teilt sich SEGA´s Werk den Spitzenplatz mit der Konkurrenz von EA Sports!
GameZone (Sep 02, 2002)
NFL 2K3 is a different experience (setup-wise) from other NFL games, but Sega Sports delivers a game that is remarkable in terms of graphics and gameplay. This is a terrific gaming experience.
Sports Gaming Network (Sep 14, 2002)
I got the feeling Sega saw what attracts so many gamers to Madden. For football sim fans, we want to be able to customize just about every aspect of the AI. 2K3 attempts this to a certain extent, but it still has a ways to go. The running game is just about right, though some backs require too many players to bring down. For next year, the area that needs the most attention is the passing game specifically in the secondary awareness. Doing so would make the 2K franchise a more complete football game. As it is, NFL 2K3 is still one entertaining football game.
85 (Apr 25, 2003)
Auch wenn die versammelte Fan-Gemeinde sich jetzt zu Protest-Aktionen versammelt: NFL 2K3 erreicht nicht die Klasse des letzten Teiles der Madden-Serie. Grafisch mit ein paar Ausnahmen zwar auf einem Niveau mit dem alteingesessenen Meister und auch mit einem deutlich besseren und immens weitreichenden Franchise-Modus ausgestattet, werden Fans der Sportart von Segas American Football-Ausflug trotzdem nicht enttäuscht werden - vor allem, wenn sie ein simulationslastiges Spiel mit Konfigurationsmöglichkeiten ohne Ende suchen. Kleinere Probleme mit Physik und KI-Verhalten lassen sich jedoch nicht verschleiern. Und auch in Sachen Spielzugauswahl und Anzahl der Spielmodi liegt Madden deutlich vorn. Andererseits kann NFL 2K3 auf der Xbox mit einem hervorragenden und problemlos laufenden Online-Modus punkten, der die Langlebigkeit des Titels massiv verlängert.
85 (Apr 22, 2003)
Difficile de choisir en entre Madden 2003 et ce NFL 2K3. Excellent gameplay, maniabilité parfaite, tactique élaborée et grande réalisation sont au rendez-vous. Mais le mode Franchise très développé pourrait bien en aider certains à décider. Sega frappe très fort et parvient à ébranler la suprématie d'EA qui trimballe son John Madden depuis plus de 10 ans.
The Video Game Critic (Dec 19, 2010)
In some regards it may be a small step down from NFL 2K2, but this is still a solid alternative to Madden.