NFL Fever 2003Clear out your Sundayâ€™s and Mondayâ€™s because the football season has arrived with NFL Fever 2003! This years version huddles up with also new versions of EA Sports Madden 2003 and Segaâ€™s NFL 2K3. Continue on as NFL Fever 2003 breaks through to the endzone with an effort like no other. Last year, before the Xbox was released, there was hype and talk saying in order to have a successful launch, there must be a successful lineup of launch titles to be incorporated into the launch. Microsoft made sure that there was something for almost every genre of gaming. Halo was the amazing first person shooter, Project Gotham Racing was the outstanding racer, Dead or Alive 3 was the picture perfect fighter, Oddworld: Munchâ€™s Oddysee was the crazy, but fun adventure, Fuzion Frenzy intrigued gamers of all ages with addictive multiplayer madness, Airforce Delta Storm brought a short, but new height to flying action, Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2X brought a new level of extreme sports to the show. The most complete selection of launch titles ever? Quite possibly. But adding to the genres of games was NFL Fever 2002 giving football and future sports on the Xbox a complete new face. As the new stranger in the town, Microsoft had a lot to prove with their Xbox Exclusive and they delivered with the most amazing up to date graphics, solid modes of gameplay, and a great replay value. Microsoft proved worthy that its new football title could stay up with the big boys. That was last year. What will we see this year? This time around, the 2003 season of Fever brings you more of what you enjoyed last season and has added more to keep you playing. This is the second shot at making a football hero in the gaming market for Microsoft, and after playing this game youâ€™ll come to realize that itâ€™s one of the best. The key feature to NFL Fever 2003 is that itâ€™s an Xbox Exclusive and Microsoft is solely working on an Xbox version of Fever 2003. This way complete advantage is taken of the Xbox hardware and gamers are not disappointed. Last year, Fever 2002 blew every other NFL game away with fantastic, spectacular visuals and animation that could not be matched by Madden 2002 and NFL 2K2. But now that all thatâ€™s behind us, EA Sports and Sega have had a year to improve and stiffen the competition because thereâ€™s only one goal in sight, and thatâ€™s football supremacy. The gridiron battles could be at itâ€™s most promising ever with the 2003 titles now arriving in stores. Time will tell and show us who breaks away from the defender. The other key feature which is the backbone for NFL Fever 2003 is the online capabilities the game holds in store. This November, Xbox Live will be your adrenaline rush and future for console gaming. As being the first Xbox title to be Xbox Live Capable, Fever 2003 comes fully prepared and ready for online gaming. All you have to do is purchase this game, and wait a few more months until Xbox Live is officially released. Besides from that, the game also features system link capabilities so youâ€™ll actually get a brief chance to try out the game online. The only online football competition for NFL Fever 2003 is going to be NFL 2K3. EA Sports has decided to leave Madden 2003 out of the Xbox Live picture until possibly next year. NFL Fever 2003 is now arriving for the new season. Itâ€™s going to let you take yourself deep into the NFL with deep modes of gameplay, smarter, tougher, and well prepared AI. You can test out your skills with the Classic challenge and Dynasty Super Bowl challenge, and best of yet, this fall, play with fellow Xbox gamers around the world when Xbox goes Live. Can NFL Fever 2003 live up to itâ€™s short and brief past and come back with an interception? Gameplay: NFL Fever 2003 offers slick, easy to follow menus from the startup. Youâ€™re offered the complete setup in order to get yourself started where you want to be. You should come to notice the basic practice, exhibition, season, and general manager areas of the game. You might question yourself when you see the Network Play area of the main menu. This area allows you play Xbox Live, which hasnâ€™t officially been released yet, or use the Xbox system link to connect other Xboxâ€™s together and play a game. Fever 2003 comes fully equipped with a control design thatâ€™s complete and fits right in. Every thoughtful move has been added in. Bursts of speed, jukes, stiff arms, and hurdles have been added for your pleasure of enjoyment. All of these moves and actions have been designed to fit right into the game to make it look like itâ€™s all real and you never pressed the button to make the receiver stick out his arm to block his way to get through. Each aspect of the game will required you to memorize and follow constantly with. As a quarterback, youâ€™re A, B, X, Y, and Black buttons will be used to throw the ball to your offensive player. As your offensive play receives the ball and catches it the control system will completely change and alter. Now, as the ball carrier, the A button will give you a turbo boost, B will make you player do a full 360 spin, X will give out a shoulder charge, and Y will throw a stiff arm out. There are still many more techniques and combos you can come up with to fool your opposing team defender or use your skill to tackle your opponent. These are the simple basics when coming face to face with Fever 2003. The controls and options are well given and are like no other game. What brings NFL Fever into an overall, solid football game is that Microsoft has brought everything together solid and smoothly into one game. Playing a single game gives you in full detail, what you can come to expect with the rest of the game. Youâ€™re given everything available at your fingertips to make sure you can bring a mean face to the game. If you a beginner to the NFL Fever series or even a beginner to a football series, your best bet is to check out the practice mode right away. It might sound boring because youâ€™re practicing, but it will give you the complete lowdown on the controls and situations youâ€™ll come to face when you play for real. Training camp is the first area you should attend since youâ€™ll find all the control work done in here. The more you do in Training camp, the more youâ€™ll be rewarding with special treats that will come in good use later on. Chalk talks offers a more relaxing way of learning the game where you can watch and listen to getting hints, details, and the inside scoop on performing offensive and defensive plays to making your play count. It gives you the best ideas to practice before playing. Your final area to tackle is the open practice. Heading out to the field to run some plays never seemed easier. This is a great way to test out some created plays, players, and improve your skills in the game. Possibly one of the most challenging and intuitive modes worth giving a shot is the Classic Challenge youâ€™ll find in the Season area. The Classic Challenge gives you the opportunity to choose your favorite team and head out in a conquest where you will come face to face on the field with some of the NFLâ€™s greatest teams to ever play the game. The challenge includes eight different historical football teams that have made big impacts in previous years of football. The first team youâ€™ll meet in the Challenge is the 1998 Denver Broncos. Finish their team off in four quarters and you will successfully unlock them for play. As you defeat each team, the next team will increase in difficulty and make you perform at your highest level. The levels of skill in NFL Fever 2003 are simple. The three levels of skill are Rookie, Veteran, and All-Pro. What makes the levels of skill effective is that Microsoft means what they do. If you set your skill level to Rookie, thatâ€™s exactly what youâ€™re going to be given, a very easy and in-effective team as an opponent. Tackles will be easier, throws will be off, and defense will be weak. Overall, the team should be a breeze even for beginners. When setting the dial to Veteran, expect a team thatâ€™s been out to the field a few times. Theyâ€™ve been there, and made mistakes but have learned from them, so be a little careful. Your final choice would be All-Pro. This is a level of difficulty where the computer rarely is going to make a big mistake. They know what to do, and theyâ€™ll be tough. As a new feature not found in NFL Fever 2002, Dynamic Player Performance has been added to the 2003 version of Fever. This feature allows you to check out your players stats from game to game. This can let you focus in on how individual players have changed throughout your season or year. The better you perform during your game and the more you win, the better your Dynamic Player Performance is going to look. Your performance will outlook your stats, make sure youâ€™re on top. The gameplay itself is like no other. NFL Fever 2003 doesnâ€™t lie upon full realism, but it also doesnâ€™t lie upon quick gameplay. There have been improvements to up the gameplay and make it more responsive. In this yearâ€™s version, youâ€™ll find more and better lanes to run through after a handoff and you can pull off moves to put you by defenders with more ease than before. The effort put into this area was well succeeded but there were some questionable areas to focus on. Everyone likes to win. It makes it ever better when you give up as few points as possible. Fever 2003 can make that possible when youâ€™re on defense. After a few matches, it wasnâ€™t hard to notice that I had given up a couple interceptions throughout the game and as a bonus, my defenders intercepted a few passes also. Itâ€™s always nice to see an interception or two in a football match but after seeing more than four in one match made me question myself. Itâ€™s either the defensive game is really strong in NFL Fever 2003 or Microsoft wants big plays happening frequently during a match.
Computer AI will sometimes have you going. After the snap when the players run out the play and youâ€™ve spotted your man open and thrown it, a few times I have come to see the receiver catch the ball, take a few steps, drop it or even bounce it, and have the play called incomplete. Itâ€™s something you wonâ€™t face often but it could come into factor on a big down. Sometimes the receiver completely ignores the actual play and is doing exactly what you hoped it wouldnâ€™t do, but itâ€™s a flaw that wonâ€™t be encountered too much. The offensive and defensive playbooks are astonishing when your looking for a play. There put down into different areas so you know where to look. The best area is your recommended plays where youâ€™re given select plays which you should choose that fit the situation youâ€™re currently facing. Whatever it is youâ€™re looking for, the Fever playbook will more than likely have it for you. Another impressive part of the game is the Pepsi Highlight Reel thatâ€™s featured at the end of every match. All of the big plays during the game are put together in a few second reel presented. What makes it effective is that itâ€™s brought together to make it look real. The camera angles and player emotions are superb and effective. The game just doesnâ€™t stop there. As if it werenâ€™t enough, thereâ€™s plenty editing modes available to use. The create a player mode gives enough options to create a player good enough for the big league. Adding more facial and body options such as skin, facial hair, face, muscle build could have made it more effective to create a future Fever player. Another feature is the ability to customize your teamâ€™s jersey. By doing this, it gives your team a unique look that should be effective come Xbox Live. If youâ€™re not happy with the wide range of plays in the Fever playbook, create your own plays that you think will fool your opponent. Possibly the most dominate feature of NFL Fever 2003 will be the ability to go online with Xbox Live this Fall and play. By purchasing Xbox Live and meeting the few requirements such as having a Broadband internet service, you can play NFL Fever 2003 online against others all around the world. You can actually check out the online area in Fever 2003 but youâ€™ll need to have Xbox Live to do anything else. Overall, the gameplay is very strong. There are plenty of features to keep you busy for awhile. The 25 Season Dynasty is let alone worth trying. The few areas which fail, greatly overcomes buy the many areas which succeed. This is an area which excels and will rise above come this fall. Graphics: Last year, NFL Fever 2002 set a new mark and standard with stellar visuals for a football game and took over that department with ease. This year, the same great visuals are back but more solid, polished, and overall better. Many times after a play is over, the camera will zoom in on a playerâ€™s face. The amount of detail is simply stunning close up. All the details are there from the teamâ€™s logo on the side of the helmet, the reflection of the stadium on the helmet, the facial expressions, and the overall final product is amazing when you see it. This is the type of product we can expect from Microsoft. The overall design of the teams outfit is put together with care. Team designs and logos are done right to the point and exact. What makes it good the detail put into the different playerâ€™s positions. Quarterbacks can wear long sleeves, have taped fingers, and wear a towel while receivers can wear leg braces or gloves. There is a wide range of different equipment a player can come out with. Actual player models are superior with the wide ranges of sizes and heights. The outlook of a team is very different because nobody looks the same. Everyone on the team has a unique appeal and appearance that makes you recognize that person. Overall, player models are extremely sharp and look great. Stadiums in NFL Fever 2003 represent the real thing as well as they did last year. There populated with lively crowds and are big in size. This year, the crowds in Fever 2003 are looking better than ever with more color, shapes, and sizes. Stadiums come full in detail give the scene a football mood. What really stands out in NFL Fever 2003 are the real life weather conditions youâ€™ll face in different matches. They really stand out and give the game a new twist because weather brings problems and if itâ€™s raining, your game has to step up a notch. Thereâ€™s downpours of rain, sunshine, fog, and snowfall thatâ€™s going to come down at some point when youâ€™re playing Fever 2003. The great effect is what the weather provides for the game and the stadium. During a rainy game, as the game progresses and the players move, youâ€™ll see footsteps in the mud. It looks even better when itâ€™s snowing and you can see the footsteps in the snow. The weather is rendered tremendously well and gives you that extra push to step up your performance during the current weather situation. Player animation is definitely something to watch. There are numerous animations too see in Fever 2003 such as hurdles, tackles, throws, jukes, spins, side steps, sprints, jumps, dives, laterals, stiff arms, and so many more actions to watch out for. Player movement is caught well, the game just moves great together. There are a few slowdowns in the action but nothing to worry about. NFL Fever 2003 is definitely the best looking football game on the Xbox. Microsoft continues to deliver the good in the visuals area with their amazing detail in Fever 2003. Overall, everything looks gorgeous from the player models, to the weather, down to the stadium. This is as close to real life visual football youâ€™re going to get on the Xbox and itâ€™s very good. Sound: This yearâ€™s commentary has been changed around. Kevin Colabro enters and replaces Dick Stockton as he teams with Ron Pitts to provide the commentary for Fever 2003. The two provide a better team and work well together bringing gamers a better voice for the game. The commentary flows smoothly with the play of the game and sound more real than sketchy. Thereâ€™s a complete full selection thoughts and lines said that doesnâ€™t get repetitive. Thereâ€™s plenty of emotion given by Kevin Colabro that energizes the scene. The crowds liven up the game a great deal. They completely go crazy for the home team and show the visitors little respect. The roars from the home fans are great to listen to. At times, when the stadium was quiet, I could actually hear the announcer in the stadium giving his play by play on the situation and making announcements. The real time NFL sounds are bone crushing to listen to. Fever 2003 supports 5.1 Surround Sound and if your one of those who has one, itâ€™s amazing to hear the hard tackles and the voices of the players. Turn up the subwoofer and hear the roars and rumblings of the crowd to the hardcore action on the field. Itâ€™s an opportunity that shouldnâ€™t be missed. If youâ€™re equipped well enough, youâ€™ll enjoy the audio in NFL Fever 2003. Itâ€™s overall very solid and the commentary team brings together a great play by play. The crowd is another great aspect of the audio. Adding more noises from the players on the field could bring out some great audio. Replay Value: This game will certainly take up your time, as will the other football titles on the Xbox. The question is which game will I enjoy spending some time with. NFL Fever 2003 sure has what it takes to purchase but is it the type of football youâ€™re looking for. EA Sports Madden 2003 is offering total realism, Segaâ€™s NFL 2K3 is offering a fast-paced, quick action style football. Microsoftâ€™s NFL Fever 2003 offers the realism and the quick action play. The best of both worlds some would like to say. The offers are on the table and all three titles offer some excellent gameplay and action. Microsoft and Sega do have a key that EA Sports doesnâ€™t hold. Will that be an advantage in the future? Overall: This is definitely a great football game and itâ€™s certainly worth getting but there are also 3 other football games being released into the videogame market. Microsoft and Sega hold the edge because NFL Fever 2003 and NFL 2K3 will be Xbox Live compatible. This could very well play a factor when youâ€™re making your final decision in purchasing a game. Fever 2003 is worth enough to pick up since it was the #1 selling football game on the Xbox last year and was very impressive in its debut season. A game that has the looks, style, gameplay, and most promising future is right in your hands. Will you take it? --Chris Banovic