Release date: August 6, 2002
Rating: 2.0 (out of 5)
NFL Fever 2002 was a surprise launch hit on the original Xbox and was almost a worthy contender to Madden and NFL 2K2. It lacked some polish and needed an expanded list of features, but those all seem like easy enough improvements to make, right? Sadly, while Madden 2003 and NFL 2K3 made enormous advancements compared to their previous year, Fever 2003 rests on its laurels and delivers the same exact experience as Fever 2002.
No, I’m not exaggerating. This is the exact same game as Fever 2002 except with roster updates, different colored menus, and online play. Oh, and a whopping one new menu song. Granted, it’s a rather banging track (Clipse’s “When the Last Time”). But one song? And it doesn’t even include the lyrics. Did they try to save money by just licensing out the instrumental?
And while online play may seem like a big deal now, in 2002 Xbox Live was a novelty and no one would really care about it for another two years (when Halo 2 would be released). And NFL 2K3 was also online this season anyway, so…
Some people accuse sports games of delivering the same exact experience year after year. Hardcore players will tell you that they’re wrong because the games usually offer enough tweaks from one season to the next to justify spending bucks on them. NFL Fever 2003 can’t be defended from those accusations. It’s a shame that they took all of the hype behind NFL Fever 2002 and squandered it.
Pro: Brand new cover art
Con: Same old game