AFL Premiership 2007 - PS2 Review
I must say that the 2007 AFL season, which is now over half way complete, is one that has brought up more then its fair share of excitement and surprises, not least of which is how my team, the Bombers, have gone from second last on the ladder at the end of last year to well and truly being in the top 8 this year. As expected the new season has also seen a new AFL game exclusive to the Playstation 2 from Melbourne based developers IR Gurus. Anyone who follows the sport will be aware of the game - year upon year there are promises made and, well, usually sort of delivered. This season promises more improvements over AFL Premiership 2006. Have they delivered?
|Another goal against the bombers!|
AFL Premiership 2007 includes the usual range of game modes including Quick Match, Season and Mission Mode. There's little doubt that it's the Career mode that will take up the bulk of your game time. The development team has taken spent considerable time and effort this year to enhance the training of your selected team as well and you can focus on certain players or the entire team in the areas of skills, fitness, or reflexes. The player editor has been enhanced and the developers have also seen fit to include historic jumpers and alternate strips, but in reality these don't add much to the game at all.
|Stadiums, with sponsors in place.|
Controls in AFL Premiership 2007 remain largely the same as last year which isn't a bad thing however IR Gurus have also spent time enhancing smaller nuances such as shrugging off tackles and evasive maneuvers. The controls, thankfully, seem a bit more responsive this year - I certainly didn't notice as many missed or delayed responses from the button presses. The game also introduces a dynamic difficulty level which is a nice touch as it means newcomers can pick up the game and play, and should they fall too far behind the game will ease up the difficulty level to assist the player.
The biggest problem with this game is simply the disappointment that yet again IR Gurus have added a few bits and pieces, but there still isn't that level of polish one would expect from a game now in its sixth year from a single developer. Yes the Best and Fairest awards are now included and work well, and player stats are more detailed with improvements to the draft system as well. It's the basics that really niggle. The fact that you can still run between a player taking a free kick or kick from a mark and the man on the mark, the fact that smothering the ball - something that possibly happens a dozen times in a real match at most - can occur that many times in a single quarter, or the fact that the umpiring is so horrendous at times it will have you swearing more then me at a real footy match!
|Richmond may as well forfeit.|
Finally unlike previous years there are no 'bonus' discs to get excited about. In the past IR Gurus and Sony have bundled in some impressive discs showing highlights from the sport, but this year, and despite the $AU79.95rrp there are no such bonuses. Given that there is still a complete lack of online play - and don't give me any BS that it's not possible as it was in the game a couple of years ago - this is not good value for money any more.
|Does AFL 2007 look good to you?|
Certainly the one area that the AFL series has always struggled is the graphics. It's fair to say that the introduction movie in AFL Premiership 2007 is nice, and there are some clean menus on offer but when you get to the footy field you'll pretty quickly realise that this is the same engine as previous years with the same horrendous texturing on the players. Having said that IR Gurus have used real AFL players to motion capture the movements - and for the most part they are pretty nice. Another nice change are the camera angles which are now much more appropriate - not too far away, and not to close - at least IR Gurus have done that right.
There are other problems though. The game doesn't support widescreen at all which is a big disappointment given that so many TV's are now in widescreen format. The games animations while pretty good are still a bit rough around the edges with some transitions looking very rough indeed. Crowds are average and while there are some flags from the teams playing it's no where near as impressive as other PS2 sports titles. The stadiums have also been 'accurately' modeled for the game. Now we say 'accurately' but that doesn't mean the look particularly good with quite a bit of jagginess in places and average texturing on the crowds.
|Graphics are similar to last year.|
Audio in the game is also pretty average, as per previous years. Commentary has been provided by Dennis Cometti, Gerard Healy and Danny Frawley. It's passable, but there are still occasional errors and it does become quite repetitive. The crowd effects are pretty weak, there's certainly limited 'team' focused chanting, and the lack of any surround sound also disappoints.
|Adelaide are hanging around.|
As much as I would love to say this is a vastly improved game over AFL Premiership 2006 I simply can't say that with all honesty. Yes there have been improvements, and new player lists and fixtures but with a years extra development, even with only a 15-strong development team, we expect to see the game improved in its weakest area - the visuals. Sadly this looks near-identical to last year. Overall it a slightly better experience, but only slightly. One for die-hard AFL fans that need new rosters, or those that haven't player the series for a couple of years.
Review By: Dave Warner
Order your copy now from Gameswarehouse (PAL version).
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|GRAPHICS||Presentation is nice, no widescreen, shit texturing, average animations.||60%|
|SOUND||Average sound effects, average commentary, no surround sound.||69%|
|GAMEPLAY||Some tweaks here and there, but certainly no revolution in gameplay.||79%|
|VALUE||To be honest, updated rosters and a few tweaks aren't worth $79.95!||56%|
|OVERALL||Not a worse title then last year, but it scores less due to a lack of enhancements, lack of bonus disc, high pricing compared to other "old-gen" titles and the fact that there hasn't been any major gameplay changes. One for die-hard AFL game fans only.||66%|