Developer: Gameloft
Price: $7.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★☆
Game Controls Rating: ★★★½☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★★☆
Re-use / Replay Value Rating: ★★★★☆

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

There are few dates that I look forward to more every year then the release of the newest Madden NFL game. It spells extreme neglect towards my personal hygiene and of any pressing assignments I may have received early in the school year. The only crappy thing is that when I have to leave to get food, or go to school, I have to leave the game at home… Well fret no more football fiends, for the crafty folks at Gameloft have delivered us a gift from the sporting gods. Gameloft is bringing the NFL to our iPhones with NFL 2010. While it may have a few problems in a few different areas, NFL 2010 is a sure playoff contender and in a couple of years could be vying for a spot in the Super Bowl.
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Why this game is a touchdown…
NFL 2010 is going to be great for the people I just talked about. For those that eat, drink, sleep, talk, live and die football. I was nearly giddy waiting for this game to download. You’re greeted with options for Quick Play and Game Modes. Quick Play launches you into a game with the team you have designated as your favorite and a random opponent. Tapping on Game Modes will allow you to choose between an exhibition game, an entire season, and playoffs. The only difference between the exhibition game and quick play is that you can choose your opponent in exhibition. Choosing season will obviously allow you to take a single team through a 16 game season and through the playoffs hopefully into the super bowl. Choosing playoffs launches up a tournament between you and 6 other teams in your conference. Honestly none of these game modes are really that different at all.
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That being said I see this as a bonus for Gameloft’s first attempt at bringing the NFL to the iPhone, specifically for that reason. Gameloft made this game bare of extras intentionally, I would imagine. This was the same when EA Sports brought Madden and NBA Live to the Xbox 360. It was the developers first foray into unknown waters and it was initially unknown how people would respond to what they were going to create. Instead of stretching themselves thin and trying to create too many diluted gameplay modes, EA created bare bones versions of NBA Live and Madden and it seems Gameloft has followed suit. It works well. I can’t say I wouldn’t like to see more game modes in NFL 2010. It would be nice to be able to sign free agents and the sort. Heck, it would be even nicer to have full rosters of current teams. But like I said before, Gameloft focused on the core gameplay and it payed off for them. The mechanics of the game work surprisingly well. I expected the control scheme for a first generation football franchise on the iPhone to be nearly unusable, but I was proven wrong.
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The passing game is one of the main attractions in NFL 2010 and it works surprisingly well. Your receivers all have icons over their heads that will change colors as the play progresses. Green means open, orange means the throw will be a tight squeeze, and red means that Ed Reed is about to make some trouble. To pass it to one of your receivers, simply tap on their icon. The passing game has the right amount of difficulty as you feel legitimate pressure on the quarterback from the defense and still have to look out for nearby defenders when your receivers icon is green. The running game isn’t the greatest, but I can’t mark it down as a negative because it works. Whenever your running back (or any ball carrier) is running with the ball and is close to being tackled, the game will pause for a moment and ask you to make a decision. You can either try to juke this oncoming defender, attempt a spin move, or do your best Jerome Bettis impression and run through him. This mechanic works okay, you have as long as you want to decide from what I can tell and you’ll pick the right one about 50% of the time. This works pretty well as having all the buttons for these moves on the screen all the time would be a bit bothersome.

NFL 2010 does a lot of things really well, but there are some things that this rookie franchise still has to learn.

Why this game deserves a 15 yard penalty…
NFL 2010 does do a lot of things well but it’s not without its’ flaws. The defensive side of the game isn’t quite as strong as the offensive side. Before you can even start a play, you have to pick a play. The menus are great, but there’s one problem in picking a play for your defense in that you have no idea what the offense is doing. You have no way of telling whether they are running a goal line set or in the shotgun with five receivers. This came back to bite me in the rear a few times as there is also no way of calling an audible or even seeing what play you are running. You can make changes to an individual players coverage but you don’t have enough time to make mass changes. Tackling is also something of a problem as it’s pretty much impossible to get off of an opponents block. And even if you do, if you get anywhere near another blocker your progress will be halted.
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While this is really one of the only things wrong with the game, it’s a huge part of the game… I mean it’s defense. That’s about half the game by my count. The offensive side of the ball has some problems as well, but nothing glaring enough to take away from your experience as a whole.

After further review…
This game is definitely a playoff contender, and with a few tweaks it could be a perennial Super Bowl contender just like my Steelers. NFL 2010 is a good game for newbies to NFL games and veterans alike. Gameloft did an excellent job of focusing on the core gameplay in the first NFL game for the iPhone and hopefully it only gets better as updates are released, but NFL 2010 is definitely worth your $7.99 as is.

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