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  20 Second Review: NFL Fever 2004
On 09/15/03 by Turner 'Bulldog' Hopkinson

Developer: Microsoft
Publisher: Microsoft
Release Date: 08/27/03
ESRB: "E" for Everyone
Official Site:
Platform(s): Xbox

:: xbox :: The gameplay in this latest version of Fever represents a significant change from previous years due chiefly to the fact of how much the games pace has been slowed down. The Fever series made a name for itself by allowing for fast paced, hard hitting gameplay and this latest incarnation represents a significant departure from that avenue. Much to my delight however this pace change doesn't really affect the entertainment value much and the game is quite possibly more fun to play this year around. Modes wise you won't be overly impressed as a lot of the detailed options and management controls that games such as "Madden 2004" include are absent here. On another note the passing system has been revamped and now allows you to precisely control over where you throw the ball and how hard it is thrown. If you gain any level of decency you will eventually learn to actually lead receivers into passes and hit them in their stride for longer receptions. Both the offense and defense have been bolstered with a slew of new moves that create for a much more realistic feel. One button passing and run juking are just some examples of this. The one button passing allows you to simply select a receiver and connect with him, although at the cost of losing a lot of the intimacy that the more advanced model has to offer. Depending on the difficulty setting you select your team and the opponents players will range from insanely intelligent to incredibly stupid.

Last but not least it is worthy to mention Microsoft's overwhelming integration of their Live! system into the game. This allows for some absolutely unbelievable multiplayer action and coupled with XSN Gaming support you can easily set-up your own leagues and tournaments with the click of a few buttons. Joining games is easy, talking to friends even easier, and overall NFL Fever 2004 left a very pleasant taste in my mouth gameplay wise.

:: xbox :: The graphics in NFL Fever 2004 are absolutely stunning and without doubt one of the games strong suits. All the way from the superbly designed and visually pleasing interfaces to the character animations the graphics are absolutely jaw-dropping. Taking this a step further Microsoft really pushed the limits with realism by programming in all the little things that matter such as on a rainy day a player's jersey becoming dirty based on where he actually was tackled. I can't really say much more about the visuals simply because the graphics really are that good when compared to other recently released football games.

:: xbox :: The sound was the big letdown for me. Musically speaking things aren't all that bad although one or two songs left me scratching my head wondering how it made the quality cut. The commentary was absolutely horrid compared to the likes of ESPN Football. Often they would say inaudible things that made no sense and fit the situation poorly. One example of this was when throughout the entire game I ran the ball once. What did the bright announcer say? -- "Wow, it is very clear that the Raider's are making their dominant run game known today!" The sound effects were another disappointment and more or less round out this triangle of sound badness. NFL2k3 features some of the hardest hitting, crunching, in your face on-the-field noise that I've ever heard. Much to my dismay NFL Fever 2004 left the players sometimes not grunting at all when they got hit! To their credit there is a lot of ambient noise that does a nice job at detracting from this problem and making it less noticeable to the casual listener. Overall though every facet of this sound category was a huge let-down and could have been improved upon substantially.

In a Word: Improved.

Word to the Publisher: Add some more gameplay options and you'll be fine in a few years.

Full Reviews:
  • GameSpot
  • Xbox.IGN
Final Score: 85%
#1 - Megahurtz - 09/15/03 @ 08:37 AM EST
I think the only saving grace of this game is the XSN online stuff. Gameplay and presentation wise, both EA and Sega have this one beat.

I totally agree that the sound is HORRIBLE. Commentary is sparse and sucks. Both of the announcers sound like they've been sedated and occasionally say some out of place things. I think that after about 85% of punts I've seen, one of the guys says there was nothing impressive about the punt regardless of if it went 20 or 50 yards.

The music is weird because there hardly is any. I thought I might have disabled it or something. No music from the stadium and none for any of the menus. Makes the games sound kind of quiet.

/ I think Bulldog should have mentioned the new coaches on the sideline. They will react to plays and offer advice on situations. You can also hit Y on the play select screen to get the coach's breakdown of any offensive or defensive play. Cool feature, especially if you're not a football nut and thinl those play charts look like a messy game of tic tac toe.

I'm pressed for time right now, so I'll wrap this up. Unless the XSN features are super important to yo/ly be the better game to get.
/ /
#2 - dougman - 09/15/03 @ 09:53 AM EST
ES/e BEST sports games EVAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

- Houdini- 09/15/03 @ 10:24 AM EST
-takes away dougs keyboard-
"Both of the announcers sound like they've been sedated and occasionally say some out of place things. "

i have a whole list of hilarious non-football related things these announcers could possibly be saying in my dying laughing over here.
Bulldog - 09/15/03 @ 11:26 AM EST
hahahahah Houdini ...
nVidiot_Whore - 09/15/03 @ 02:02 PM EST
Hmmm.. I'm not a big football fan... but I can get this game for free.. so I'll probably pick it up.
Pezman - 09/15/03 @ 03:54 PM EST
Bulldog and I played over Xbox Live! I got owned, we played the Broncos against the NFC Champs. (I was the Broncos)
Aphex242 - 09/15/03 @ 04:24 PM EST
"Wow, it is very clear that the Raider's are making their dominant run game known today!"

Maybe he was being a smartass? lol ;)
/ / /
#8 - Bulldog - 09/15/03 @ 05:28 PM EST
Actually I was the sucky chargers and he was the entire NFL's team and I owned him.

#9 - Megahurtz - 09/15/03 @ 10:04 PM EST
Whore: Its worth it for free ;) Its not really a bad football game, its just that ESPN is so much better in so many ways.

I should be getting my Live starter kit Wed., so I'll be able to comment more on the XSN stuff then.
#10 - Anon@ - 09/16/03 @ 11:02 AM EST
Terrible game. Nothing but a coaster now that I have ESPN Football.

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