All Pro Football 2K8

Xbox 360

Review by Matt Paprocki

2K Sports


Graphics: 9

Sound: 8

Gameplay: 7

Overall: 7


With three years to simmer, All-Pro Football brings the 2K style of the sport into a new generation and it feels a lot like... 2K Sports football. There are few notable changes aside from the licensing once on the field, and fans will clamor at the chance to play this updated edition even if it is more of the same.

It's obvious when before you're even presented with an option menu that this is definitely a series heading in a new direction. You're thrust right into the team creation mode. Gone is the NFL license, now replaced by 240 classic non-active stars. In what had to be a legal nightmare, Jerry Rice can snag a pass tossed by John Elway, and Walter Payton can run over everyone as he did back in Tecmo Bowl.

Each memorable player has a star rating attached to them, and only two of the highest rated players can be chosen. The strategy involved in choosing a squad is immensely involving. Once the key players are selected, generic ones fill in the holes, and these can be universally custom crafted to fit your play style. Each of the players has special abilities, yet this is the only information available for them. There are no numbered stats or sliders, just a few specialties. For the lesser-known stars, this can make choices difficult.

That play style will likely resemble the one you used back in NFL 2K5. Purists will notice tweaks, especially when it comes to zone coverage and the aggressiveness of the cornerbacks. Both have been radically improved to eliminate money plays and stick to their man tightly. Throwing on the run also has a massive effect on the ball, and trying to hit a receiver while running backwards will rarely be successful.

Tackling has received a boost, now performed in conjunction with the right analog stick. This allows for precise hits. High and low tackles can be more effective depending on the defensive player in control. The same goes for left or right, which allows that extra lunge to snag a player slightly out of reach. Tackling animations are incredible, with almost no clipping.

Even with some heavy hits and improved physics, this is still the sports game many fans came to love. This is not Madden, and those purists will have a hard time adjusting. The animation style leads to stringent game play that doesn't have the familiar loose flow of 2K's competitor. This tighter feel allows the developer to control the flow of the game a little a more, while taking some of the openness away from the player.

The presentation has taken a hit with the loss of the ESPN license, and with little new commentary recorded, it's aggravating to see such minor improvements. The wild stadiums, complete with over exaggerated statues and landmarks, are borderline ridiculous (to go along with pathetic grass textures), and post play cinematics feel as if they number in the single digits. It's also disheartening to see a real sports ticker at the bottom of the screen scrolling NFL news when there's no NFL license available.

Issues arise with the number of options, especially when the three-year wait and price are brought into question. There's simply not much here to do beyond the single season mode. Yes, it's intuitive and fun to create teams with the mass of color and design options, and the same goes for the players. Sadly, there's not a lot to do with them once they're completed. Online options are standard fare, with the widest reaching choices being leagues. Single season play with legendary players simply isn't enough to keep longtime 2K followers happy. Even basing the game around classic players isn't especially new, done well over a decade before in Legends of the Diamond on the NES.

The conclusion can only be drawn when looking at All-Pro as a whole. While the football itself has amazingly retained its value and realism even with a three-year gap (which says how truly great 2K5 was), surrounding it is an anemic feature set that is embarrassing for the time between releases. It's easy to say, "wait until next year," but with the state of football games in this industry, that may not be a choice.


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Last updated: Monday, August 20, 2007 09:54 PM