On First ImpressionsMark Fossen

Posted on July 20th, 2007 in Gaming, Xbox 360, Playstation 3, Opinion by Mark Fossen

“You only get one chance to make a first impression.”

I have no idea who said that, but truer words were never spoke … at least when it comes to this week’s dueling football releases, NCAA 08 and All Pro Football 2K8. It’s a small thing, these first impressions, but the way these two games shake hands and say hello to the person who opened their shrinkwrap says a lot about where they are headed.

The first time you slide in the disc, NCAA starts out with an intro video warmly voiced by Brad Nessler, familiar to any fan of the Boys The Play On Saturday. It doesn’t have much to say to the hardcore that play year after year and already have their rosters loaded, but it’s not there for them: it’s there for the gamers who are picking up the title for the first time, or perhaps the first time in years. It’s a short moment to greet the gamer who just plunked down the greater part of a benjamin, and it goes a long way towards making the game friendly.

All Pro Football, on the other hand, starts off with a menu. You are presented immediately with a somewhat confusing screen prompting you to choose legends for your created team. For those of us who follow the blogs and forums and websites that make up the Sports Gaming Information Pipeline, it becomes clear immediately what you’re doing and why you are doing it, but it certainly does nothing to ingratiate itself.

And which of these two games needs to ingratiate itself? The one by the 800 lb. gorilla of sports gaming, featuring fully licensed NCAA teams? Or the one featuring no recognizable teams created by a niche developer that’s been off the market for years? It’s almost as if 2K Sports assumed that no one outside the slavering fanboys that were counting the days to release date would buy the game. It may or may not be a fair assumption, but resigning yourself to the hardcore will leave you with the hardcore, and not much more. I suppose it’s a chance between slim and none that APF 2K8 could reach the mainstream, but starting things off with a cold, clammy handshake sure can’t help.

Intros do not make a game, but in a fight for their lives against Madden’s junior brother the team at Visual Concepts got shown up on the basic principles of good marketing and goodwill, and there’s no second chance.

6 Responses to 'On First Impressions'

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  1. Wowser said,

    on July 20th, 2007 at 5:48 am

    I, for one, am deeply hurt by this game. I loved NFL 2K5 like many others, and this game was hyped to be the next great football game by the media. Sadly, it is not all that. The presentation is stellar but everything else, for me, is not comparable to NCAA 08. Oh well - maybe 2K will have another shot at the license in a few years and will bring back what NFL 2K5 blessed us with - NFL teams.

  2. cch99 said,

    on July 20th, 2007 at 7:58 am


    Not having played APF 2k8 I didn’t know that’s how the game started and I probably wouldn’t have even thought about that. That being said I think you are bringing an excellent point up. NCAA and Madden also both have Play Now as the first choice for a game. Although I will say that it could be a little confusing on how to start a game and get ot the menu where it’s at if you are Video Game illiterate on NCAA 08. But I see your point and it is a good one. Like I said, i wouldn’t even have recognized that and sometimes it’s really hard to step back outside yourself and see how a non-hardcore gamer would want to play these games.

  3. dQbell said,

    on July 20th, 2007 at 11:49 am

    There is not doubt that the “newbie,” who is not informed on the specifics of this game, will quickly become frustrated by the lack of help and information describing the processes of this title.

    Even beyond that, the game is a dud in welcoming any level of player. From the moment you hit start, your eyes are totured by the over-saturated menu colors. There’s just not a sense that the game is taking itself serious.

    Compare other 2K Sports titles and their opening sequence and menu systmem to this game’s and I think the overall opinion would be that 2K did not take this game serious enough.

  4. SoMiss2000 said,

    on July 20th, 2007 at 7:39 pm

    I sold the dud that is APF today on ebay. 50.00 bucks. I can’t get past the initial disappointment of NFL 2K5.5. Maybe i’ll pick it up later out of the bargin bin. It shouldn’t take too long to reach bargin bin status.

  5. Dan Davies said,

    on July 21st, 2007 at 11:01 am

    My first impression with APF 2K8 is WOW. The attention to detail is just fantastic. With rain drops splashing off of and collecting on the helmets to seeing the water get knocked off the players when they take a smashing hit is great. Even the jerseys get a soaked look to them after awhile. The snow is done very well also. The interaction with the sidelines and the ref’s (getting in the way and being knocked down) gives it a nice touch.
    APF 2K8 does have a few issues most notable for me is the SDTV edge problem, where some of the screen is cut off on SDTV’s.
    At first glance the game setup looks confusing for some, but if one would take some time and read the 35 page manual that would not be the case.
    First impressions of NCAA 08 is that it’s pretty good as well. Although I do miss the Ref’s (I don’t even see the chain gang anymore) and the interaction with the fans. The game plays well and is a blast to play, but why can’t we play with more than 2 controllers or have online leagues? The weather effects for this game are very poorly done. Even in heavy rain the players seem to stay dry.

    I’m glad 2K8 is back and the competition can only be a good thing for football fans, whether your in the 2K8 or the madden camp.

  6. on July 23rd, 2007 at 5:15 pm

    […] On First Impressions […]

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