NFL Extreme (PSX) Review
Publisher: 989 Sports
Release Date: July 1998
By: Andrew Carty 8/4/98
Sony's answer to NFL Blitz is NFL Xtreme. Does Sony's version live up to the precedent of quality set by NFL Blitz?
Presentation/Graphics : 88
NFL Extreme runs on an enhanced version of the Gameday 98 engine. The players look better, move better, and the game just has a more polished look. The animation is done well: Sony seems to have fixed anything that was a little quirky from Gameday. For example, they have eliminated the awkward "cuts" that the players did in Gameday 98. Unfortunately, the crowds and stadiums don't look as good: they actually look quite generic. Fortunately, it doesn't detract too much from the game (in fact you probably won't even notice). Overall the graphics are good, even if there's not much to them.
Presentation/Audio : 75
NFL Xtreme's audio is average. The announcer and players have a limited amount of speech, so you're likely to hear many of the same comments on even one drive. The announcer spits out stuff like "They're going for it" or "Dirty football" and stuff like that. Nothing too exciting. The players will trash talk after most plays, but unfortunately they, too, often say the same thing. While they are amusing at first, it gets annoying quickly. The crowd is also quite limited and the constant cheer is barely detectable. Some looped music plays over and over, and near the end of my games I was starting to grow a little tired of it.
Interface/Options : 88
Anyone familiar with the Gameday interface should have no problem navigating this. All the standard options are in: weather, teams, rosters, injuries, and multiple forms of gameplay (season, exhibition). And, like Gameday, you can choose player size and game speed, a couple nice additions. Thankfully 989 managed to cut down the load time: compared to Gameday, Xtreme feels like a cartridge game. Overall it's done quite nicely.
Gameplay : 70
Unfortunately, the gameplay doesn't live up to that of NFL Blitz's. I think the major problem was I didn't feel I was in total control of the players. Almost as though no matter what I did, the outcome was predetermined. When running the offense, completed passes seem random: sometimes you catch it, sometimes you don't. Also, there is no one to block for the QB in most plays, so you'll have to run for your life to get a pass off. Running is okay, but with no real blocking support, don't expect to get far. Defending is fun to do, as you can smoke the receiver before the ball gets to him, preventing the catch. The big hits add a little to the experience too: it's sickeningly satisfying to knock off someone's helmet, or rip off their jersey.
Difficulty : 75
Even on rookie setting, the computer was all over me in the first game. As I mentioned above, I felt like I wasn't in total control of my team, and that was a little frustrating. With practice I was able to improve, but I felt the learning curve was too high for a game like this.
Overall : 75
NFL Xtreme is marginally fun. If you're dying for a rock'em-sock'em football game, go get it. But I would suggest seeing what Midway can do with Blitz before purchasing it. While the graphics are good, the gameplay just can't live up.
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