NFL Pro 2014
You could probably guess from our NFL Pro 2013 review that we aren't exactly die-hard fans of the franchise. Gameloft took what could've been a simple free-to-play football game and ruined pretty much everything about it, thanks to bland visuals, bug-ridden gameplay, and one of the worst "pay-to-play" systems we've played. Sadly, the developers haven't addressed these problems in this new edition.
Like last year's model, NFL Pro 2014 has many problems. You begin by going through a tutorial to learn the basics, but you can pay to bypass this section. If you don't pay, you'll go through the drills over and over until you eventually complete them. Once you do so, new options open up, such as being able to jump into a game, "learn" and adjust plays in a playbook, and eventually build your team towards Super Bowl glory.
That's if you get that far, and that doesn't seem likely because there are so many problems throughout NFL Pro 2014. The game interrupts you with flashing menu screens that notify you about upgrades, as well as unstoppable ads that completely throw you off your momentum. One second you're going for a score, the next you're watching a car commercial.
That's before you run into the overwhelming need for cash in the game. In order to gain access to the better plays available in NFL Pro 2014, you'll need to pony up some cash. Spending a buck will allow you to attempt a play once, or you can pay a bunch of money to add it as a permanent option. You do earn a few dollars here and there, but to get your hands on everything you'll need to put down real money. All in all, it's a tremendous pain to get through even one game. One game.
Even when you do pay up, it feels like poor value for money because the gameplay is such a mess. The passing system is screwy, principally because the grid disappears entirely if you don't hit your precise passing target, and you're forced into a run play. The running system is alright, but the reaction time is pitiful - hit the spin button and the move executes a second later, right as you're getting tackled. As for kicking in the game, it's horrible. Set up the meter to kick 50 yards, and it barely gets to 20 - at best.
The opposition AI continues to be rather problematic too. At one point, a player on the opposite team caught the ball at the 1-yard line, but rather than running in for the touchdown, he just stood there, waiting to be tackled. Oh dear.
The presentation is likewise weak, and while the graphics are okay in terms of framerate, the animations are extremely limited, with players reacting pretty much the same way after every play. The droll announcer from last year also returns, and barely shows any excitable response to the on-field action. In fairness, Gameloft has added Facebook integration, allowing players to post their scores through online leaderboards. However, you'll have to endure an awful lot to boast worthy numbers - and you'll question if it's really worth the effort.
It would've been nice for NFL Pro 2014 to show some signs of improvement over last year's messy offering, but there's barely anything here of merit. Go play Madden instead - any Madden. You'll feel way better.Download NFL Pro 2014 (iOS)
What's Hot:It's free-to-play and has Facebook leaderboard support.
What's Not:The controls remain broken from the previous edition, you'll need to pay money to get past the terrible "paywall" system, graphics have a bland & unfinished look, announcers are boring, there are no official players, and ads interrupt the flow of the game.