Here is my offical site review of Kickoff 2002 (Latest version patch v1.33)
The original KO2 game was a classic. KO02 is a natural progression of that classic.
The graphics and animation are ok, except the stadium, where it has 'flashing' if you adjust the playing view. The stadium looks a little dull, and could need a bit of work, but it is a lovely stadium. More stadiums would be a nice touch too.
The player and general game animation is fairly good.
The game's graphics are smooth, and sprites are sharp. It doesn't look blocky like some games, but pitch/sprite graphics can be improved. Graphics do not make a game. If KO02 had FIFA graphics, it wouldn't be worthwhile, because of the top-down view. To me, the gameplay makes a game, not the flashy graphics.
Overall: Much improved, but some little niggles have also been fixed.
KO02 features Practice, Exhibition, World Cup, World Cup Qualification, and Custom Cups and Leagues. The League edit is not great in variation, but is acceptable. The Custom Cup is much better, but only has 32 teams. KO02 has an amazing selection of teams, and features every single International team in FIFA.
The player names are made-up, as copyright infringements come into play, but they are easily edited. Also, KOA (Kickoff Association) sites such as ForeverKickoff, Kickoff UK etc.. provide accurate and varied team files to download into the game itself. This is a fantastic part of the game. It has a huge advantage over normal Console games. On PC, even on FIFA, it is tougher to do this, and with KO02, no download program is needed.
The teams are fairly accurate stat-wise, but this is not too important, as all names are actually selected from surnames from that country. So, names are correct to the country. Nice research.
Along with the other famous game of the top-down genre, Sensible Soccer, the gameplay is different to most newer footie games (FIFA series.. etc)
The sticky ball feature on Sensi, is a nice touch, but KO02 doesn't have that idea so much. The idea.. is to control the ball. However, options are available on KO02 to help the control, which makes it more like Sensi.
Overall: The gameplay is good, with a steep learning curve, but when you adjust to the controls, the game is highly addictive. I played KO02, and immediately swore at the computer because it was so bloody tough.. but i kept coming back to it because it had so much potential. It was then, the game became fantastic for me. Again, niggles and bugs in the game have been sorted with this patch, and is much improved. It can be difficult to learn, but for an easier start, it's worthwhile using beginner options. You soon learn the game, and later the other options will be better.
Front End / Bugs: 4/10
The Front End looks nice, and is a good greeting to the game. Some major niggles and bugs became apparent. The options now save properly, but the Golden Goals Menu, and replay bug is still there. This is easily solvable.
Also, 48 team leagues do not work. The maximum number recommended is 40. This bug is not so bad, but when you reach 43 teams selected, one of the teams fills 5 slots. The league fixtures can also be wrong, and this is an important bug, that needs to be fixed. If you play edited leagues.
Also, the practice and team selection bugs are still there too. These bugs are workable. The Team selection bug is easily fixed, if you save teams into folders in Team_Dir Single. When you put the team file showing in the single directory, it will load. So, only team files on the single directory will work. This can cause a problem, if you load different teams from different leagues / cups. This may just be a format bug on my PC version, but it is a highly annoying bug all the same.
Overall: The version is much improved, but still featuring annoying bugs.
The music is nice, with some great tracks. Not to everyones taste, but there is a track for everyone. Mostly dance/trancey music, but it fits the game well. Sound quality is good, with no distortion. The music is on/off, so if you don't like it, it's fixable. Also, the track 'Chasing the game' is available on-line, as are some of the others.
Overall: A nice soundtrack, a little dull, but mainly, distinctly average.
ForeverKickoff Verdict: 7/10
KO02 keeps the original KO2 gameplay, and is extremely fast to play (Try Kickoff speed!)
The game has many problems, but many excellent features too, such as the WAV editor.
If you buy the game, you will enjoy it. Most PC soccer games have these problems (FIFA 2001) and KO02 is no different. But, the game is highly enjoyable, once you learn it, and extremely rewarding. In time, getting to know the game is worth it's while. Give it a chance, and it more than competes with FIFA and the rest.
Review by Gary Pidwill (21 April, 2003)
KO2002 and the KOA in the spotlight!
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