Also on: PSN
Developer: EA Canada
Medium: Digital Download
Players: 1 – 4
Much like Hollywood, it seems like EA is going back to the well for some ideas on franchises. SSX, NBA Jam, and now NFL Blitz have gotten the old “redo” touchup. Except unlike Hollywood, the stuff EA is doing is actually good so far. Which takes us to their latest effort in NFL Blitz as after a shaky and unnecessary Mature rated attempt in Blitz the League from Midway Games, EA has snagged up this license and has brought back all the basic fun and playability the series was known for. Oh, and did I mention the game is only 1200 points or 15 dollars? Toss in the fact that the game has more depth than EA’s previous Madden Arcade and you have a no brainer for any fan of the old versions or just for those who love football. To put it simply, NFL Blitz is just flat out fun.
NFL Blitz uses the same formula of gameplay used in the 90s, but now with an obvious boost in visual presentation. Offense is simple, you hike the ball, you move the stick to a highlighted open receiver, chuck it in the air and pray for that catch and yards after the big play. The running game, much like the original is almost nonexistent as you have no “running plays” available, but you can run the ball by choosing the screen or pitch back plays, or just sneaking with the QB. The goal of course is to score 3 or 6 points dependent on your touchdown or field goal choices, but where this differs from the real life pigskin classic is that first downs are obtained every 30 yards rather than the traditional 10. Of course the routes and over the top plays are designed to make this happen more frequently so that you don’t feel the impossibility of such a feat as if you were playing a game like Madden 12. Defense is just as fun as not only can you try to get that big sack without the worry off wimpy roughing calls, but unlike today’s NFL, well timed or interference hits are not only allowed, they are encouraged. This over the top style arcade mode is broken down into 2 min quarters makes for a fast paced and frantic good time that can be had by the diehard faithful or even the casual sports fan.
NFL Blitz doesn’t skimp on the modes either. You of course have your Play Now mode where you pick two teams and go at it. The Blitz Gauntlet mode allows you to pick your team, and take on a Mortal Kombat-style tower of challenges with a number of teams randomly chosen for you to defeat. Along the way you will encounter Boss Battles that will not only allow you to battle against fictional teams that have either robots, cowboys, or even zombies as your opponents, but the ability to unlock them upon defeating them. What’s more, while you play traditional Blitz mode against real NFL teams, in the Boss Battles, upgrades and cheats are spread all over the field for you to pick up and gain that advantage over your rival. This mode is an interesting substitute for a season or tournament mode, and is much more entertaining in the end. Lastly, you have two online modes that consist of Blitz Battles where you choose head to head challenges against regional opponents or friends and co-op team battles for you and a friend to take down unknowing online victims, all complete with their own leaderboards for stat tracking.
The biggest mode of the game is the Elite League that plays out much like the Madden Ultimate Team where you have a starter set of cards with scrub players, but along the way with wins and point generations you can buy new packs of cards to upgrade your team, sign new contracts, and even power ups and upgrades to really make a potent team that no one will want to face. Once you have your team set up, take them online against friends or random online opponents. You can even throw a little incentive called risk and reward where you can offer up a certain card to be won dependent on the outcome of the game, thus allowing you to gain that card you can’t find, buy, or unlock, or possibly lose that precious card if you opponent is better than you. Overall, for only 15 bucks, that is a lot of game for a bite sized price.
Sure the game has its hiccups like the aforementioned lack of running game, no roster updates, and no adjustment to the quarter lengths, but the game’s roster could be 10 years old and the game would still be fun as heck to play. If you want realism, stick to Madden, but if you want pure and out adrenaline, then download NFL Blitz on XBLA or PSN as it may be simple, but it still is extremely fun to play. Now only if EA would bring back Mutant League Football and Road Rash, the circle of great redo’s would be complete.