Great commentary, sharp graphics and the perfect price (under $20 bucks) makes this game a certain buy.
NFL 2K5 is loaded with football prowess that hasn't been seen in any other football game. Although First Person Football is still around (gag), the most interesting addition this year is the VIP system. I still particularly like rubbing up against the celebrity-led teams that talk smack to you as you try to demolish them cool feature.
The VIP system is a profile manager that actually records your play mannerisms and stores them so that other people can play against your VIP ghost. While this system gets most of the play-calling strategies down, I never saw the VIP system bring a safety to the weak-side line of scrimmage and blitz on a play when the safety was supposed to be playing some deep zone, which happens to be something I do a lot.
The system is also limited in its usefulness to the number of gamers who are routinely at your house. If you live in a frat, you'll be in heaven as you'll have a ton of VIPs to learn, whereas if it's just you and your dog, you probably won't ever get much use out of the VIP thing. Unfortunately, both the PS2 and Xbox versions of 2K5 fumble a bit in their online play. The game comes with a league component, which works well with the VIP system by letting you theoretically practice against an upcoming player by downloading his VIP. But the whole thing is hampered by some problems regarding updating rosters and trying to connect to other gamers -- it made it just about impossible to play online. I e-mailed the ESPN folks, and they replied that they know about the issue but couldn't resolve it at this time.
The Crib has more goodies than ever -- a ton of merchandise to buy with points earned by playing the game and achieving impressive stats. New this time around is the appearance of MTV-ish celebrities like Steve-O and Carmen Electra, who will challenge you with their VIPs.
Of much greater value, obviously, is 2K5's solid gameplay. Running the ball has never been done better than in the 2K series thanks to awesome animations and a great control scheme. Not only can you charge up your spins, jukes and leaps by holding the correct button, you can also use the right stick to stutter-step, stop short, and juke. You can give your players a turbo boost! Running backs are quite fast, allowing you to concentrate more on your moves and less on jamming the turbo button. It's simply a tremendous running game.
Things are a bit sloppier in the passing game. Letting loose and throwing a rocket always seems to wind up in dropped balls. When your receiver is twenty yards down field and about to enter an open spot in a zone, you do what anyone with the last name Marino would do - fire the damn ball as hard as you can. But this means your accuracy goes to hell and your receiver's hands practically turn to stone.
The actual play-books themselves feel a little thin and there's usually only one interesting receiver route per formation. Furthermore, there's an abundance of plays that always or never work: for example, quick outs seem near impossible to pull off, whereas slants work almost every time.
NFL 2K5's presentation can be summed up in one word: hype. The game is bursting with ESPN attitude. For that matter, the game is littered with graphical features that emphasize the ESPN branding, such as the Half-Time show. Starring Chris Berman and Boomer.
The in-game graphics are beautiful. 2K5 is a great environment. The animations are simply awesome, from the actual in-game movements to the sweet incidental touches as players argue with calls or just stand around at the end of a play. The rock solid frame rate and overall attention to detail makes 2K5 one of the best looking sports games you'll play.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
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