NFL 2K3 is like creme brulee (bear with us on this one). It has a hard service that once cracked reveals some of the sweetest gameplay this side of Madden. But getting past that awkward top layer is enough to put off the casual fan.
Let‘s explain. Unlike EA’s Madden series which, by and large, can be enjoyed by anyone who has ever played a game, NFL 2K3 is slower, clumsier in its execution and rarely as instinctive. Get past this, however, and you won’t find a more comprehensive American football game on console.
The playbook is an exact replica of the 2002 season, complete with signature moves and tactics from the respective teams. But it’s the Franchise mode where the game really takes off. Here you will get to play concurrent seasons buying, selling and developing players; slowly building a stronger and more respected team over years.
As we say though, if you don’t love American football then this won’t really appeal as it takes ages to get involved in the contract negotiations, bartering and subtleties of the controls.
Also, unlike Madden, the visuals and soundtrack really aren’t up to scratch. Players look a little bland and the music is of the passive lift variety rather than atmospheric licensed tracks. The main drawback though is simply the hardcore nature of the beast, movement is less arcade-based than Madden and so playing is made difficult if you really don’t know what a “screen pass to the wide out” is.