reviews\ Sep 4, 2001 at 8:00 pm

Madden NFL 2002 - PS2 - Review

It seems like only yesterday that Madden NFL 2001, the first Madden release for PS2, was introduced to the gaming industry.  Madden loyalists and newcomers alike were impressed by the amazing game that EA Sports had once again cooked up.  Although it seemed like not much more could be done with a football game, the Madden series has been further advanced and perfected with the release of Madden NFL 2002.  This edition packs some new features, which further solidify that the Madden NFL releases will continue to be the best available football games for years to come.  These features include more advanced AI and helpful training with the man himself, but that's definitely not all.

As always, all NFL teams are available, including the expansion team the Houston Texans.  Also available are various classic NFL teams, including many all-star teams, who will impress you as much as they did back in the day.  Lastly, you are able to create your own team from scratch using create-a-team, who you can then enter into the NFL.  Additionally, each individual user can have a profile set up in Madden NFL 2002, which allows their statistics to be kept track of in all modes of play.

The different game modes allow for virtually endless football action.  If you're new to the series, the best place to start is the training mode with John Madden, which familiarizes you with different types of plays and formations.  Similarly, practice mode gives you a chance to further hone in your skills.  Once you think you've got it down, the two-minute drill mode can provide for a game-like situation, including the added pressure of running out of time.  In both the two-minute drill mode and training mode you can earn tokens, which allow you to buy what are known as Madden Cards.  These cards allow you to unlock historic players, teams, stadiums, and more.  In two-player mode, Madden Cards can be risked and also traded between users.

Now it's game time and you can choose from one of five primary modes: franchise, season, exhibition, tournament, and custom league.  In both franchise and season mode, expect features such as fantasy draft, expansion draft, trade deadlines, salary caps, and more.  You have the ability to customize just about everything in this game, including the ability to choose the coach of your team, or even to create a custom coach from scratch.  These modes are realistic in every respect and they allow you to control all aspects of play, even from season to season.  One of the most impressive features of Madden NFL 2002 is the availability to import graduating College 'ball players at the end of the season from EA Sports' NCAA Football 2002 (if they're saved correctly on your memory card).  This feature allows for more seasons to be correctly simulated, a very well thought out concept that many will enjoy.

The game play is, like always, heads above the rest in all respects.  The AI has been once again improved, allowing for even more realistic player behavior.  The defense will, for example, easily catch on to you if you keep attempting similar plays, and they will most likely me successful in shutting you down.  Defenders now cover the receivers more closely and it's also more difficult to fool the players on the line.  Once the button assignments are mastered (they can be changed), the controls are flawless, whether you choose to use analog or digital.  The ability to call on-the-fly hot routes for the offensive line, and likewise the ability to change blocking assignments for defenders makes the game stand out.  The quarterback interface is easy to use and it includes just about every feature imaginable to give you any option that a QB could have.  There's not much that could have been added in the game play department, this one appears to have just about everything.

Graphically, Madden NFL 2002 is everything you'd expect from the Madden franchise and oh so much more.  The players, coaches, and all other human models are extremely lifelike at every angle (and there are many angles to view them from).  To give the game another edge, many new animations have also been added, which are so realistic that it's just scary!  The stadiums are all just like the real counterparts and you can even see that fans wear their team colors in the stands.  Attention to detail is what you'll find everywhere you look in this one.  Undeniably smooth graphics, combined with the typical camera angles and realistic environmental effects will fool you in to thinking you're watching a live 'ball game, no joke.

Just as the graphics, the sound in this game was done flawlessly.  Bone-crushing hits are prominently heard through the speakers and they're enough to rattle your windows.  This, combined with the players yelling, the fans cheering and other various sound effects bring the atmosphere of the field into your living room.  And, of course there's Mr. Madden himself, bringing you all the commentary we've come to expect from him.  For the most part all of his comments are accurate, but hearing duplicates is still a little annoying, especially when he's criticizing your team, of course.

Madden NFL 2002 isn't just another addition to the long-standing Madden series.  It's a game that's so feature-rich, so extremely customizable, and so realistic that I'd recommend this one even if you're not a football buff.

This game is rated "E" for everyone and it takes up 1461KB on your PS2 memory card.


Reviewer's Scoring Details

Gameplay: 9.0
Simple, yet effective controls, combined with realistic game features and physics make the game play close to flawless.

Graphics: 10.0
High frame rates, smooth 3D renders, and very detailed all around.

Sound: 8.5
Powerful hits are emphasized through incredible sound effects, what else matters?

Difficulty: 9.0
The new training mode is great for new players to help them grasp the basics of the game.  Once a Franchise is started, Madden NFL 2002 will challenge anyone from season to season

Concept: 8.0
Although it seems like it should be exhausted after 12 years, some innovative features make this one born again.

Multiplayer: 9.0
The ability to use the PS2 multi-tap, which allows for up to 8 players to join in on the action is just awesome.

Overall: 8.9


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