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All-Pro Football 2K8!

The only football game to be released since ESPN 2K5, All-Pro hopes to give you something beyond Madden, but will this unlicensed game be worth your time?

First Impressions: Whenever possible, we try to give our loyal website viewers the most video footage and most in depth unbiased reviews imaginable. Part of that development is our "initial impressions" where we offer up our first impressions of the title that we are playing.

This gives our website visitors more of clear understanding of what to first expect out of the game when they initially pop it into their consoles.

If you scroll to the bottom of the page in the Rent vs. Buy section of the review and do not see the "final impressions" assessment then it's safe to say that you are reading our initial impression of the game. Once the final impression is up, there will be no further video or review done to that particular title.

Final Impressions: The final impression is just that, our completed breakdown and overall thoughts on the game based off of our entire game playing time.

You can locate the final impressions assessment in the "Rent vs. Buy" section of the review (always located at the very end of all of our reviews). Here you will be able to read our final thoughts on the title and also see any potential grade changes that were made to the game as well (higher or lower). Should a grading change occur, it will be clearly noted with the previous grade, the new grade, and why the change occurred.

Although this approach is more time consuming and requires many more man hours, our entire goal has always been to provide the best and completely unbiased reviews possible and we feel that the inclusion of the Initial Impressions and Final Impressions sections will give you a better view of what to expect from a new game.

All that we ask in return is for you to continue to support Krakrabbit.com by visiting the site and letting others know about our cause. Together we can supply our fellow gamers with the most impartial information so they can make an informed decision on whether to buy or rent this particular title.

Superstar: The biggest draw-in for All-Pro is the...well, All-Pro players. On your team (you can roll with a stock team, or you can create your own with a variety of options) you get to select two Gold Star players (Joe Montana, Ronnie Lott, etc.), three Silver Star players (Randal Cunningham, Leslie O'Neal, etc.), and six Bronze Star players (Jim Harbaugh, Alvin Harper, etc.).

In other words: Gold = Hall of Famer; Silver = Pro Bowler; Bronze = Played in the NFL. There is never an option to alter these numbers. You can't give up three Bronze players for a Gold and there are no trades.

This limitation is perhaps All-Pro's greatest fault. For a game that must find replayability without a franchise mode, there should've been more to All-Pro's modes.

Perhaps what's more frustrating is that in the barebones season mode, you will play against other teams that have a great variety of skilled players. One team will have no Gold Star players, while another might have five.

His causes a huge amount of almost uncontrollable losses against teams with a roster of unbeatable NFL legends. Instead of the teams' players being in such flux, the variety of team behavior could have been achieved by putting some variants in coaching and player AI. Instead, every team tends to play pretty much the same.

Even as you bump the difficulty, only the hidden statistics change; the AI only becomes improved by a minuscule amount. This is a severe change from NFL 2K5, which had some of the best AI around.

All-Pro's biggest departure from previous football games is the complete elimination of player stats. Instead of seeing that Jerry Rice has a 99 in "Catch" and "Route Running," the legendary wide out is measured by his special abilities.

Rice is a genius in running Routes, Clutch, has Break Away Burst, with Soft Hands and also sports a Leadership Bonus. These abilities define Rice in All-Pro.

Each player has at least some number of abilities. Obviously, the upper-tier players will have a lot more than the Bronze level players.

All-star ability: There are more than 80 different abilities in All-Pro 2K8. Most of these only play the role of slightly enhancing a player's normal abilities. Brick Wall gives a lineman amazing pass blocking skills, Laser Arm increases the accuracy of a QB's passes, and Quick Feet grants the player excellent agility.

Others affect a player in more interesting ways. A Workhorse gets better the more he receives the ball and a QB with the 4th Quarter Comeback ability (like John Elway) is at his best when trailing at the end of games.

A few abilities have specific game applications. If one of your players have the Signal Stealer, this ability will allow you to press a button before every snap for a random chance of being able to see your opponent's play.

The abilities are a great and innovative addition and will often play a role in how you build your team. You may choose Mike Singletary over Derrick Thomas simply for #50's Signal Stealing ability.

With a limited number of star players available for your team, you will grow to learn to assemble a crew that compliments one another. If you have a pass rushing D-Line, you'll probably want to pick a star linebacker with run stopping ability to lend support.

The ability system may turn off some who are used to the old school ways of console football, (with stats and player ratings) but it's a good fit for All-Pro. The ability system works well, and prevents the sight of seeing teams of 99s taking the field.

Taking the field: After you build your team, you get to start the game. The first thing you will notice is that the actual gameplay of All-Pro isn't much different then any other football game (no others really, I mean Madden) but there are some nice touches thrown into the game.

Blocking opens up legitimate holes; linebackers hold up running backs while waiting for a teammate to deliver a punishing blow or strip the ball; rarely can you just throw the ball into the air and hope in the passing game.

Much of the sense of realism is due to the stunning animations, which are top notch. There are some great subtleties in the animations, which is shown on an often basis.

You will see a Halfback being dragged to the ground, and receivers tiptoe around the sidelines as their speed propels them out of bounds. The impressive animations breathe a huge amount of life into the game.

All-Pro isn't perfect though, as the AI often feels lifeless. None of the teams play in a particular way, or have a distinct feel. There isn't an Air Coryell constantly going for long bombs or a nose-to-the-grind Bill Cowher.

The AI opponent makes very calculated and predictable decisions on offense and tends to leave holes in pass coverage on defense. Even if the difficulty is cranked up to the highest, your opponents don't seem to get any smarter.

The playcalling isn't any better, the coverage is only slightly tighter, but picks are more common and tackles are harder and more numerous on the defense. This unfortunate fact makes your games pathetically easy, allowing you to score upwards of forty points.

Arm tackles: As with the popular Madden series, All-Pro employs the use of the right analog stick for a small variety of movements. On offence, you will be able to use the right thumbstick for small jukes, and on defense allow you to try to bring the ball carrier down with an arm tackle.

If the ball carrier breaks away on a play, all you have to go is roll the stick over to attempt a last hope grab at him. Although the thumbstick tackles aren't often effective, they look tremendous bundled with the top-of-the-line animation system.

Stripped seasons: The biggest disappointment by far in All-Pro is the sorry excuse of a season mode that's supposed to hold your interest in single-player. The season mode is very basic -- It's 16 games, plus the playoffs. Once that single season is over, you have to go back and start off fresh.

There isn't a Pro Bowl, there isn't an off-season, there's no player progression, trades, or even unlockables. The most unrealistic aspect of the game though, are the very unfortunate injuries.

If you are so unlucky to let your star QB Joe Montana get injured, there is no option to replace him.

Rent vs. Buy: All-Pro Football 2K8 had a ton of potential, but the lack of a true franchise, and any off-season activities kill the lasting appeal. The moronic AI doesn't help either.

All-Pro could've been a heap load better, but the rookie mistakes that the game makes limits its enjoyability. The only truly solid aspect of 2K8 comes in the multiplayer, which still doesn't compare to the likes of Madden.

If you are looking for a game that MUST have HoF legends in it, then you can choose to look in All-Pro's direction, but even the earliest next-gen versions of Madden beat out All-Pro in overall...everything.

Report Card

All-Pro Football 2K8 had a ton of potential, but the lack of a true franchise, and any off-season activities kill the lasting appeal. If you are looking for a game that MUST have HoF legends in it, then you can choose to look in All-Pro's direction, but even the earliest next-gen versions of Madden beat out All-Pro in overall...everything. (Krakrabbit.com)


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