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iPhone  header logo

NFL 2011

For: iPhone

Tough bracket

Product: NFL 2011 | Developer: In-house | Publisher: Gameloft | Format: iPhone | Genre: Sports | Players: 1 | Version: US | App version: 1.0.0
NFL 2011 iPhone, thumbnail 1
NFL 2011 is the Miami Dolphins of the video game American football world. Both are entering the 2010-11 season with better prospects than the previous year, but the odds are stacked against them.

The AFC East is a tough place to be with the New York Jets and New England Patriots set to dominate, regardless of the improvements undertaken by the Dolphins.

It's the same with Gameloft's effort: there's been an enormous improvement from last year's game, yet expectations are much higher than they were in the previous season.

As much as you can appreciate the progress that has been made, NFL 2011 doesn't have the polish or panache to win its division.

It's a building year

Long is the list of improvements since last year's abysmal outing: a revised passing game, the ability to set hot routes, an overhauled kicking mechanic, and great new graphics optimised for iPhone 4.

Drawing hot routes with a finger brings NFL 2011 up-to-date and the new sliding kick meter actually makes kicking enjoyable (even if it's been lifted from elsewhere).

There's no denying that NFL 2011 advances the ball, although progress doesn't automatically correlate to a winning game. Issues remain and new problems have arisen from the aforementioned changes.

While NFL 2011 can proudly claim to be a better overall game than the previous instalment, it still has a long way to go before delivering a fluid and fun football experience.

Take passing, for example. Gameloft has wisely addressed the flaw in last year's game that saw an excessive number of incomplete passes. Receptions are now solid, though the controls by which you execute passes are questionable.

Pass or fail

Rather than just tapping a receive to throw the ball, you're required to hold a finger to the screen to determine the power of the throw.

It's unclear why you would need to set the power of a pass. Your inclination is to tap a receiver to instigate a pass and it's annoying having to hold a finger to the screen. It adds an unnecessary layer of complexity to the game.

Offensive manoeuvres have been tweaked, although not for the better. Jukes are now pulled off by quickly tilting your handset left or right. It's not an ideal setup and one of the few areas in which NFL 2011 regresses from the previous instalment.

Defence remains solid, if not improved. The addition of trucking allows you to tap a virtual button and aggressively rush a defender to increase the likelihood of a tackle.

Furthermore, a new tackle gauge pops up whenever you engage an offensive player that determines if the tackle succeeds. Holding a finger to the screen fills the gauge and if you time it correctly you get the tackle.

On the defencive

Unfortunately, there's a big, unforgivable omission on defence: pass blocking. You have no way of blocking passes. The game only provides options for tackling, making it impossible to intercept passes or block them with a jump. As such, defence feels one-dimensional and there's an unintended advantage to offence.

When it comes to modes of play, NFL 2011 is a mirror image of the 2010 iteration. Season mode is joined by Playoffs and Exhibition games - that's it. A gaping hole exists where multiplayer should be and the lack of management elements in Season mode cries out for a Franchise or Dynasty mode to fill the void.

Criticising the short list of modes is somewhat whiny in comparison to the graver gameplay issues that mar NFL 2011. Kudos for all the improvements that have been made - particularly the graphics, which are absolutely sharp - but it's still short of a touchdown.
NFL 2011
Reviewer photo
Tracy Erickson | 5 August 2010
A clear advance from last year's wretched instalment, NFL 2011 fumbles with a number of issues new and old that prevent it from scoring big
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