EA Sports | PlayStation2 | $29.95
There's just one thing that keeps Arena Football: Road to Glory from being as completely kickass as the Madden juggernaut. That is its lack of big-name stars like Vince Young, Peyton Manning, Terrell Owens, and LaDainian Tomlinson. The main rebuy factor for Madden year after year is the updated rosters and improved graphics. Saints' fans have to be drooling over the prospect of "trading" for LSU grad and first-overall pick JaMarcus Russell and teaming him in the backfield with Reggie Bush. Aside from this one unavoidable flaw, Road to Glory is a great complement to the fast-paced, high-scoring brand of play its real-life counterpart offers. And for big-time Wranglers and AFL fans, the lack of NFL names isn't a problem at all. Your favorite Wranglers Adrian McPherson, Kevin Nickerson, Damon Mason are all here, with the only disappointment for Austin fans being the absence of talented wide receiver Derrick Lewis, most likely due to his promotion to the NFL's Houston Texans and the Madden game. Road to Glory's tutorial, AFL 101, is a comprehensive and excellent introduction to the AFLs unique style of pigskin play and will get video-game quarterbacks up to speed in the time it takes McPherson to call an audible. Once familiar with the rules and the almost-no-rushing, no-punting style of play, it doesn't take long to adjust to the differences between the NFL and the AFL and get into the game-playing groove. The action is fast and furious and in many ways more suitable for our attention-deficit world than the slower-paced NFL game of fighting for field position, which doesn't come into play in the AFL. With the tight quarters of the Arena field, the smallest mistake on offense will result in a turnover, and, on the flip side, if your DB zigs when he should've zagged, you can bet that six points are going up on the board. This year's version also features the teams of the AF2, further broadening the game's fan appeal. With a respectable $29.95 price tag, Road to Glory is a nice addition to the sports-gaming library.
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