NFL Pro Era has been available for just a few days at a price of €29.99. This is a completely surprise release since we had no date when it was announced last April and not really any news since. Quite strange for an officially licensed NFL game with a budget to afford the services of a pro player on the artwork and put forward by Meta.
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As the title of the game suggests, NFL Pro Era takes us into the world of American football and more specifically into the shoes of a Quarterback, this player having the responsibility of choosing tactics and leading the attack by making passes to advance his team. Because yes, like the Madden NFL series on consoles, which allows you to control your entire team, you only play the role of one player here. According to statements from the studio, NFL Pro Era is however set to evolve with the integration of other key positions.
After having configured your player in a fairly basic way and above all chosen your team among the 32 official teams of the championship, you land in a locker room acting as a lobby and allowing you to go to the trophy room which will fill up as you go. your exploits in the different game modes.
NFL Pro Era offers several game modes. The first offers you a whole bunch of challenges that we imagine to be taken from real Quarterback training. For example, you will have to quickly catch a ball and throw it at the target that your coach will have indicated to you at the last moment while avoiding tennis balls fired at you. This forces you to move while throwing quickly and precisely. Another example with mannequins that move and that you have to touch by passing the ball through a ring. Rather nice challenges that will help you fill your trophy room, but we regret the absence of rankings to measure yourself against your friends.
the second mode challenges you to score as many Touchdowns as possible for 2 minutes. The third mode is a multiplayer mode allowing you to meet up to 8 on a private training ground. You can then complete challenges together or choose to simply pass each other. We even came across a field where one of the players was trying to make a small 4vs4 friendly match without much success since it is impossible to tackle a player on the ground or steal the ball from him except if he misses a pass .
But NFL Pro Era especially offers to play an entire season as quarterback of your favorite team to lead it to Superbowl victory. If you will find the real stadiums and the real names of the players, the developers have not gone so far as to model the faces as we can see on FIFA. If like me you are not a great connoisseur of the rules of US football, don’t panic since the game is content with the minimum. When your team is attacking, you have three tries to move 10 yards forward. If you succeed, you start again, until you reach your opponent’s line. If you don’t succeed, your team will try to shoot between the posts. In the real rules, after the third unsuccessful attempt, you normally have the possibility of attempting a 4th attempt but the game does not bother with that, much to the chagrin of American purists.
When your team passes in defense, you leave the field and become a spectator on the sideline. While that’s nice for the first game, it gets pretty frustrating, especially since you can’t completely get the action on until your attack phase returns. The game is also completely biased since you have no possibility of acting on what happens during these phases. If you succeed in a TouchDown in each of your attack phases, you are therefore certain to win, but if this is not the case, the game decides for you whether you will win or lose.
Let’s dwell on the course of an attack phase. Your coach tells you a tactic to follow which is indicated on your left wrist. You see the movement that each of your teammates will make and especially the one to whom you will have to pass the ball. You then have a few seconds to choose another setup by scrolling through the other tactics via a wheel on your wrist, but the system isn’t super convenient. We would have preferred to be able to choose ourselves before the start of the action even if in reality, it is indeed the coach who decides.
When you are ready, press a button to trigger the pass from your teammate in front of you who sends the ball between his legs. This is what initiates the movement of all players and you need to press at the right time to catch the ball before looking at who to throw it to and make the pass. By default, assistance is activated and you almost only have to look in the right direction and throw at the right time for your ball to reach its destination. The challenge is greater, however, by disabling this aid since your actual movement influences the direction and power of the pass. However, beware of frustration since some passes seem to do as they please, even if you are sure you have given the right direction. A fairly obvious phenomenon on the training modes since on several consecutive passes, there seems to be drifts of several degrees, even when you try to correct the angle of your pass. A problem may be caused by a loss of tracking when you make a gesture that starts from behind your shoulder, outside the field of vision of the Quest cameras. We noticed that smaller gestures, almost only with the wrist, are more precise.
As in reality, you can also choose a tactic where you break through the opposing lines by running with the ball. But you will quickly realize that the game is really scripted. If you choose this tactic and follow the proposed route, you will inevitably be able to advance to the first Down. If you choose a pass tactic but ultimately try to run, you will instead be repeatedly tackled.
A word now on the atmosphere of the game which is one of the strong points. The fact that StatusPro, the studio behind this title, is run by a former professional NFL player certainly has a lot to do with it. You really feel very small on the grounds in the middle of the huge arenas and the cheers of the public. The positions of the players and their movements really reflect what you can see on a real pitch and it’s quite exhilarating from a quarterback’s point of view. Your vision restricted by the football helmet and the adrenaline you have while waiting for the snap (the pass), while thinking about the chosen tactic, have a fairly significant immersive power. If the graphics of the players are acceptable, some collision bugs between players, defenders of the opposing team who run a little in all directions, the cardboard public reminiscent of FIFA 95 and the edges of the empty field are on the other hand a little less shiny.
In the current state of the game, we put this note but we have good hopes of an improvement of the game in the weeks and months to come, especially if other playable positions are added and if the password bugs are fixed. The atmosphere, the immersion, the NFL licenses and the movements of the players on the field will however certainly delight fans of American football for a game offered at a reasonable price of 29.99€.