All-Pro Football 2K8

Back in 1999, Sega released the Sega Dreamcast, a quality system which eventually ended in failure. At the Dreamcast’s launch, EA Sports declined to release the Madden franchise on the console, prompting Sega to find another football franchise to fill this gap. NFL 2K was the football series to take Madens place, and it performed excellently. The series continued in yearly installments, eventually gaining an ESPN license and moving onto the Xbox and PS2. Unfortunately, in 2004, EA signed an exclusivity agreement with the NFL, effectively shutting out all competition from 2K Football. The franchise disappeared for several years, only to be ressurrected with All-Pro Football 2K8. The series still has some serious fight left in it, but there are a couple glaring omissions that keep the game from reaching the heights of its predecessors.

Since the NFL is now off-limits for everyone but Madden, 2K Sports decided to go with a more inventive solution. The game’s roster is made up entirely of former NFL players, mostly Hall-of-Famers. This means you can finally assemble your dream football squad. Want to go for an all-out assault with Dan Marino and Barry Sanders? How about the epic team-up of Bubby Brister and Yancey Thigpen? Go ahead. All 240 legends in the game are ranked as either a Gold, Silver, or Bronze star player. At the beginning of the game, you choose 2 gold, 3 silver, and 6 br177315-apf2k8_screens_0003_layer_221onze players. While an average football fan should recognize all of the Gold players and most of the Silvers, once you move into the Bronze tier, you’ll start scratching your head. Any open positions left after your draft are filled by randomly generated players who do a decent job carrying out their roles. Once you move past the draft, the serious downfall of 2K8 is revealed. After naming your ridiculous made up team, you are presented with only four game types – Quick Play, Season, Practice, and an Online Match. For whatever reason, 2K Sports decided not to include a franchise mode in the game. despite the fact that ESPN NFL 2K5, the last 2K football game before this, did include it. This omission severely limits the replayability of the game, as after you beat Season mode once, you most likely won’t do anything else but play online.

Fortunately, the game shines in its most important area: gameplay. Simply put, this is the most realistic football game you will ever play. Every play and every formation you could want is included. Every player handles realistically, as opposed to the ice-skating running backs and ball-magnet recievers of Madden.The only detail that seems to plague all football games, what I like to call velcro tackles, still plague this game too. Whenever any player makes a tackle, they seemingly home in on their target and attach themselves instantly, like some strange adhesive is holding them to their opponent. Luckily the rest of the game overshadows this small problem.

If you’re sick of Madden’s recycled games every year, and are looking for a new football game fix, do not pass up All-Pro 2K8. And if you were ever a fan of the series in the past, by all means, buy this game now. It’s a worthy, though not perfect, continuation of the series.

Final Grade: A

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~ by albedosshadow on February 13, 2009.

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