offers you a few different game play modes to strut your stuff in. The first is a quick play mode where you pick an NFL team and face another team on the field of your choosing. The second mode is a pickup mode where you are offered a random selection of NFL players and you and your opponent pick your players from that selection. It’s a bit of a crap shoot as sometimes you get some really good players and other times you get stuck having to choose between Kelly Holcomb and Jay Fielder for your quarterback. A nice touch is that you have the option of playing for style points or playing for who scores the most points. When you score a touchdown, you have the option of passing for two points or running the ball for one (kind of the anti-Cyberball). The defense can return
However, the core of the game is the NFL Challenge mode where you create your own team to go up against NFL teams in a series of challenges and tournaments. You start off with a basic set of players and some development points to improve your players. The key is to remember that since all players play both sides of the game you have to have players with both skill sets equally developed. The skill sets are broken out into various categories (passing, speed, running strength, catching, tacking, coverage) so you can customize your team to your style of game play. You can also alter the weight and height of your players. Unfortunately, the game doesn’t really explain how the three are linked. I’m assuming that heavier players are harder to tackle but I can’t tell you for sure if it is true.
Once you have your team assembled, you can try and earn more development points by trying out some of the challenges. Each challenge costs you a certain amount of team points and the more points you spend the higher the reward. Rewards come in the form of development points, specialized gear (some of which amplifies a specific player attribute), new offensive/defensive plays, and NFL players. Some of the challenges are easy, such as beating a team to 24 points but some of them are very difficult, such as having to stop a team with a GameBreaker from scoring. There are a decent variety of challenges but once you get towards the end you will start to feel like you’ve played some of them before.
Once you’ve exhausted all of your team points, it’s time to try the NFL Ladders. The ladders force you to play all of the teams for one division in the NFL. When you beat all of the teams, you have to play a division all star team composed of the best players from the division. What’s the point of this? The first thing is you’ll earn 800 team points for challenges and the second is you can unlock another division full of challenges and another ladder. It’s a pretty decent system where the challenges feed the ladder and vice versa. This creates kind of a just one more game thing and I caught myself staying up to about 2 a.m. on a number of occasions to try and beat a team to earn more points. Upon beating all of the divisions, you’ll play the NFL All-star team which features such NFL greats as Barry Sanders, Walter Payton, Ronnie Lot and a few others. When you beat them, you get to choose one of the players for you team which is pretty cool but forces a tough decision about which player to take.
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