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E3 2007: All-Pro Football 2K8

All-Pro Football 2K8

2K Sports

Back in what we like to call "the day," football fans had two main choices for NFL-branded video games. There was the Madden juggernaut and 2K Sports' NFL2K series. Thanks to EA's exclusive contract with the NFL, the last 2K football game to see the light of day was NFL2K5, which became something of a cult classic.

2K Sports is still going strong, with its NBA and MLB franchises, so the company decided to blow the dust off its football game and create a new version, minus the official NFL license. Instead, All-Pro Football is played with a league of made-up teams playing in imaginary stadiums, with plenty of customization options, so you can design a team uniform that almost matches that of your favorite team, but not in a legally actionable sort of way (i.e., the Dallas Rustlers).

The real kicker is the roster of players you can use to stock your team. Locked out of using anyone currently playing in the NFL, 2K instead signed up more than 240 retired players, including everyone from John Elway to William "The Refrigerator" Perry. Put former teammates together or engage in wild what-if speculation, pairing legends like Johnny Unitas and Walter Payton. The gameplay will be familiar to anyone who's played one of 2K's older football games, and you can flip through a traditional playbook to call plays, or simply pick a star player and get a custom list of plays to highlight their skills.

The only potentially sour note comes from the inclusion of controversial hall of famer OJ Simpson, presented in all his mid-70s glory. If media watchdogs get upset about violent games like Grand Theft Auto or Manhunt, we can?t imagine they'll be particularly pleased to see a game publisher sign a contract with an accused murderer.