In September of 1999, Visual Concepts and Sega Sports teamed up to release NFL 2K for the Sega Dreamcast. While the football simulator was created in the 90s, the graphics, presentation, and gameplay shattered what sports games could be launching a new era into the new millennium. NFL 2K made the Dreamcast a must buy if you were an NFL fan, let’s take a look at what made the game a touchdown. Let’s run a post route and dive into this NFL 2K review!
NFL 2K Plot:
It’s the NFL! The battle between 32 professional football teams takes place throughout a season to see who will be crowned the Super Bowl Champion.
NFL 2K Gameplay:
As soon as you start a game, you’ll notice the graphics. It may not look like much now, but back in 1999, this was as real as it would get. I still remember how fuzzy the graphics for other NFL games were. PlayStation football games looked like a scrambled mess, barely able to tell what was going on in the trenches between the two teams, just limbs in a pile. The N64 didn’t fare much better, the football players were blocky and chunky, their faces stretched over square heads. Then NFL 2K was released.
NFL 2K shattered those graphics with the Dreamcast and all the NFL 2K reviews glowed from it. You could visibly see the last names on the jerseys, clear as day. For once you could distinguish who was who without looking at their jersey number. NFL stadiums are draped in signs, each team with specific signs for current players. The sidelines look nothing more than cardboard cutouts, but at least the figures are there.
Graphics don’t make a game, but they can hide the ugliness. NFL 2K doesn’t have much to hide with flaws. The tackling physics is almost as good as today’s NFL games, sometimes even better. What caught my eye was the ability of the defenders to be dragged by a runner near their feet. Quarterbacks will be in the pocket and a defender can try and take them down if they’re by their feet, the quarterback will struggle wiggling his feet trying to shake their tackler free. I don’t see that in today’s Madden games, I thought that was an excellent and realistic touch.
For my NFL 2K review I played a 16-game season going 16-0 with the 1999 New England Patriots. Boy, did those blue uniforms bring back memories. I loved bombing it away with Drew Bledsoe to Ben Coates. Throughout the season, you’ll notice that the tackling animations will start repeating, with a rotation of about ten different tackles, you’ll start to recognize them quickly but at least they are realistic.
Sega did an excellent job with the presentation of the game, it feels like you are watching and LISTENING to a real football game. The commentators observe the game, acknowledge milestones and comment on players. When Kevin Faulk went over the 1,000-yard mark for the season, they started talking about it and a graphic was brought up. Very nice touch. I was so impressed I had to stop and write it into my NFL 2K review notes! You’ll even hear input from the sideline reporter after quarters and halftime. I chuckled a few times to myself when looking at the scrolling scores at the bottom. Every now and then, Sega would throw in an advertisement for one of their upcoming games or would let me know that the Dreamcast is thinking. Advertising at its best, I would of bought the games that they advertised as a kid, well I would of asked for them.
During my season of play in which I blew through the league, NFL 2K presented me with every stat I could want as well as Pro Bowl voting, injury updates, and more. Sega didn’t blow their opportunity with the NFL license, that’s for sure.
You’ll be able to play a full season, playoffs and of course the Super Bowl like most football games, but it also offers you a fantasy draft if you want to shake up the league. The game starts you off on “rookie” and warns you that it could be tough if you change it. I destroyed every team on the rookie-level, so unless you are new football games I suggest a higher difficulty.
There are a few things I would tweak to NFL 2K. Every football game, even today seems to have a play or player that is impossible to stop. For NFL 2K, it was the play “All Streaks” from the shotgun formation. Every time I called it, I was going to score a touchdown. My tight end Ben Coates would streak down the seam, blow by the linebacker and catch the pass for a touchdown at least three or four times a game. I didn’t call it often because it felt like cheating. I wish there was a bit more presentation after a big game. When I went to the Super Bowl I didn’t see any players on the field celebrating, or confetti or any type of celebration. It was the same when I won the Super Bowl, no excitement, just a text that flashes across the screen saying the New England Patriots are Super Bowl Champions, but what else is new? My boys always win!
Most stadiums look great, but back in the 90s, there were a few stadiums with astroturf. If you don’t remember what it is, look it up. It’s ugly and the ugliness really stuck out on NFL 2K. When I played the Colts and when I was in the Super Bowl it was played inside a stadium with astroturf. Instead of looking like grass, it looked like the teams were playing on neon glowing green floors that were radioactive. It honestly distracted me a little bit , and I wish they would have toned down that hideous hint of green for the astroturf. I’m surprised that I was able to write this NFL 2K review after being blinded by that green.
When looking for a licensed NFL game in the late 90s, you would not have found a better one. NFL 2K was way ahead of the curve and it became the signature sports game for the Sega Dreamcast.
I had one friend who owned a Sega Dreamcast, and he did have a copy of NFL 2K. I vaguely remember watching him play it one weekend and perhaps I tried it out myself. Unfortunately for him, he was a huge Cowboys fan and still is to this day. I vividly remember Randy Moss on the cover of the game too, I loved him when he played for the Patriots a few seasons later.
NFL 2K Review Score:
Just like the Sega Dreamcast, NFL 2K was ahead of its time. Anything you could want from an NFL game in 1999 is included. Superb physics, an authentic presentation made the first 2K game an instant classic.
NFL 2K isn’t perfect, but it’s beautiful.
NFL 2K scores a 9.4 out of 10.
What would you write in your NFL 2K review? Who was your favorite player for the 1999-2000 season? I loved Drew Bledsoe. What’s the best NFL game of all-time? Do you want the 2K series to return? Let me know your thoughts and memories, I’d love to read them!
If you want to own NFL 2K for the Sega Dreamcast, you can purchase a preowned copy on eBay between $2-$5.