Not a lot has changed in Madden NFL 2002
since last year's version in terms of gameplay. The most notable is that the pace of the game almost
seems a bit slower. I say almost because the game still has a fairly fast pace to it. But this slightly slower action is actually a welcome slowdown, as it allows for a better gaming experience. Other than that, the game offers the same great features of previous incarnations. Game modes include Play Now (with Quick Game, Two Minute Drill, and Training Modes), Exhibition, Season, Franchise, Tournament, Custom League, Practice, and Situation Modes.
You probably noticed the words 'Custom' and 'League' together. That's right. Now you have the option of creating your own person football leagues, creating custom teams, and setting up all new rivalries. Here you'll be able to add up to 16 teams and play either Round Robin or Double Round Robin style. Configure the number of playoff teams, and finish up with a Fantasy Draft (or not). Madden 2002 also adds a Create-A-Player and Create-A-Team feature that's sure to be a winner. And anyone that has followed football this year will realize how valuable the Create-A-Coach option is. If your favorite team is now minus your not-so-favorite coach, just exercise your right to bring in a new one with your user profile.
Also included is the new expansion team, the Houston Texans. What this means is that you can play as or against them in the Expansion Draft. You can also use your Create-A-Team as the Expansion Team if you choose to. Another new feature in Madden NFL 2002 isn't all that new, but has some new options. Now you can earn Madden Cards by training, as well as playing normal games. This is a nice bit of incentive to actually practice before you play.
Everything about Madden 2002 is extremely well developed, with the exception of one problem. The computer's defensive AI (artificial intelligence) can sometimes be really, really poor at tackling. For those who figure it out, you can easily run back and forth with the ball (like in the old days of Madden football games), and the computer-controlled defenders will over pursue, allowing you to blow by them. Luckily, you can up the difficulty settings to help balance this out.