There have been so many attempts to recreate the success of the NFL (National Football League), but none have really succeeded. It wasn’t long ago we saw the XFL, which failed miserably within a year, and the AFL went away pretty quick as well. The Arena Football League (AFL) however has been around for over ten years, and although it hasn’t grabbed a massive national audience, it does have a following as being a very high scoring and fast paced football experience. EA tried out their luck with the league last year and had moderate success, can their second try in Arena Football: Road to Glory for the PS2 continue down the right path? Read our full review to find out!
There are some key differences that you need to understand that differentiates the game of football in the NFL to what you see in the AFL. First off, the AFL field is half the size of the NFL field, and has walls on all four sides making the sidelines enclosed, which by the way mean the walls do come into play. Nets also back the field; so on kick offs the ball can hit the net and be fair game. These two things are probably the two significant aspects that differ the AFL from the NFL, which in essence incorporate the much faster pace and the lack of a running game.
EA had some interesting choices made when they were creating an Arena Football game, and for the most part they decided to go for a Madden-clone with some arcade like elements. The game functions almost identical to what you see in both the Madden and NCAA Football franchises, however like Arena football it does move a bit quicker than most will be used to. Also the game does take on some more arcade qualities than a typical Madden experience with some crazy catches and bigger than normal hits.
The biggest problem that I and most people who pick up this game will have is that it lacks any sort of depth. The game has the standard modes, none of which have been upgraded all that much. In fact, one of the most ridiculous upgrades I think is the AF2 league, which is the minor league for the Arena Football League. Ok so if the AFL is the minor leagues for the NFL than what does that make the AF2? There are so many areas in which more time and detail could have been spent that would have far outweighed the benefit of having the AF2 teams in them. Heck, the average person will likely not know any of the AFL teams, why would they care about the AF2?
With that being said, the game does have this quality to it that comes from playing an Arena Football style game. For those who are offensive hungry like myself will love the deep play ball that this game is set up for. The running game in Road to Glory is all but forgotten, and the few runs that you will run are usually some sorts of trick play. The passing is the key component of the game and works just like Madden. The only difference is it seems that in Road to Glory you get many more catches that otherwise would be interceptions or incompletion in other games. The other big gameplay aspect to arena football are the walls, which EA has done a fantastic job of incorporating some great in the wall tackles that make the experience feel a bit more realistic.
The final product for Road to Glory finds itself getting off the wrong way, as much of this game had the potential to be fantastic but there wasn’t enough done to bring this game to the next level. The gameplay does feel a bit rough around the edges, the modes are lackluster, and the overall experience could use a lot of improvement.
What were they thinking? That is all I have to say about the visuals in Arena Football: Road to Glory, which has some of the ugliest menus and play calling screens I have seen since the SNES. I understand the need to make this game feel a bit more of an "arcade" experience, however the visuals of Road to Glory take that a step too far in the wrong direction. The animation in the game is also disappointing as it has some serious slowdown at times and unfortunately never seems to manage to stay all that consistent. The visuals for Road to Glory definitely don’t seem like they got a lot of attention in the off-season that is really a bit letdown.
Last year I played Arena Football and said that it had a lot of potential, and I come back to you this year and say once again that this game proves to have a lot of potential, unfortunately it was not tapped into very well in this game. The fact that EA has decided to use the AFL license to me seems like a brilliant move, because this could be the most entertaining game of football out there. Who doesn’t like throwing for 400 yards and 6 touchdowns and still lose the game? Road to Glory has all the right ideas, but not all of the them are executed well enough for it to be a compelling and entertaining game to play.
I think the first bad sign for Road to Glory was that it was made for the PS2, that showed to me that EA still wasn’t sold enough on this product to bring it to the next generation consoles. However this time next year I would think that if EA puts the time in that a true Arena Football game needs, then we could see fantastic results. Unfortunately, Road to Glory feels to much like last year’s game with the improvements only doing so much.
The owner and editor-in-chief of Darkstation.com. I've been apart of the website since 2002 and purchased the website in 2010. Owning and running Darkstation is a dream come true. I love video games and I love writing and talking about them even more.