All-Pro Football 2K8 Review

A couple of years ago one of the worst things to happen to video gaming football happened, EA bought the exclusive rights to the NFL brand. Don't get me wrong, I like the Madden games and almost always end up getting the newest copy but few good things in the gaming world can come from a monolithic developer having virtually no competition. 2K Sports had just released NFL 2K5 to rave reviews and was pushing the 500 pound Madden gorilla for top banana status in the hearts, and wallets, of gamers. Competition usually brings out the best in companies and makes them strive to improve, otherwise they risk losing to the other guy who is being cutting edge and inventive. In the years since I don't believe many gamers can claim that Madden has pushed itself toward greatness. Well now EA's old nemesis, 2K Sports, is back with a new game called All-Pro Football 2K8. Did a couple of years off make 2K8 rusty or are they rested and ready to play? Let's find out...

First off I should welcome back 2K Sports. I thought they were asked rather rudely to leave the party years ago and I'm glad to see they figured out a way to crash back in. But now that they're here are they going to be bringing anything interesting? It is a pretty big handicap not having the NFL license. I am a huge Miami Dolphin fan and I was disappointed not being able to play as them. However what All-Pro Football does allow me to do that no other football game can do is let me play with old Dolphin players from the past. Yep, what 2K Sports did to get around not having the NFL license is to sign up ex NFL players and put them in the game. So now I can play on a team with Dan Marino, Dwight Stephenson, John Offerdahl, and other Miami greats and so-so's. Of course there are tons of other ex players like Joe Montana, Barry Sanders, Jerry Rice, Dick Butkus, and 240 or so other names. Not all players are represented so players looking to relive their Tecmo Bowl glory by playing as Bo Jackson will be out of luck.

There are a ton of talented players in All-Pro but when you create your team you will not be able to build a Dream Team of nothing but Hall of Famers. All-Pro divides the players into broad categories ranking of gold, silver, and bronze. Your team can consist of two gold, three silver, and six bronze level players that you get to personally choose while the rest of the team is determined by the general style of offense and defense you want. It is fun to goof around with the roster trying to come up with the best combination of players. Personally I always pick a QB and running back as my gold players, grab some quality silver o-linemen and receivers, and then worked on the D with the bronze guys. Once in league play you'll start to notice that some of the other teams have more gold players than the two you are allowed and while that doesn't seem very fair it doesn't hurt you too much.

All-Pro ditches the familiar player rankings based in 0-100 points and instead has player attributes. So instead of Marino having a 99 rating he has attributes like rocket arm, laser accuracy, and fourth quarter comeback while a different QB may have scramble or tough in pocket abilities. Going through these attributes makes it more interesting to tell apart different players and helps you decide what type of team you want to create.