Not just rugby with shoulderpads and stats...
American Football is an odd sport. Part rugby, part tactical stats management it’s totally different to anything else out there. This is probably why fans love it so much.
Gameloft’s NFL 2011 is a sequel to last year’s game which saw slightly dodgy controls and some odd choices for offence and defence moves get in the way of what was otherwise a solid and fun football game. Like the first game, the sequel has a full roster of players and teams, pretty impressive and certainly something that will please fans. But stats aren't everything, how does the new game look and play?
The first thing that hits you is how nice the game looks. Gameloft have made the game stand out and the character models are exceptional for an iPhone game. There is support for the retina display of the iPhone 4, but I’ve not had a chance to see it running on the new display.
Now I’m not the world’s most knowledgeable fan of the game, I’ve followed a few seasons while in college but I couldn’t tell you much about the rules or the current season. Lucky, then, that NFL 2011 doesn’t require this knowledge, it sets about providing a game that pretty much anyone can play thanks to the colour code system and easy controls.
Firstly, they’ve kept a similar system to last year; analogue stick on the left to control the current player and a series of buttons on the right for offensive and defensive moves. It works in theory but the buttons are a little close together and don’t always react during tense moments.
The traffic light system is also present again, providing an indication as to whether your passes will make it through to the Receiver (green should let the pass through, red will be easily blocked). It’s just a case of choosing the right receiver who isn’t covered, choosing a play and then holding down the power to determine how hard you throw the ball. These moments are what make up the bread and butter of the game (at lest if you’re playing the offence) and they work better than last year, but slightly sticky controls when it comes to choosing the throw sometimes mar the play at just the wrong moment.
In Defence you can block and tackle to avoid the other team passing. It’s still a bit basic compared to something like Madden and I’d like to have seen a few more options allowing different defensive moves. Still, it works well enough for a basic game, though you’ll spend quite a while watching the ball successfully go to the other team’s receiver before you get the hang of it.
And this is NFL 2011’s main issue. For a casual player it works fairly well, control issues aside. It’s basic. Gameloft have added some tactics in the form of being able to choose hot routes, which fans will appreciate, but aside from that it leans far more to the arcade side of the sport. To me the game just doesn’t feel finished and this feeling is compounded by a complete lack of multiplayer modes, something even the last game in the series managed. It needs more choices, even for basic players, in defence and a better control of the buttons when choosing throws.
If you’re a fan of the sport, can forgive a few control issues and don’t mind that there are only basic defensive moves then NFL 2011 could be for you, but with Madden just around the corner it might find itself knocked off the top spot pretty soon.
- Sound: 7
- Graphics: 8
- Gameplay: 6
- Longevity: 5
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