NFL Blitz was the football game that made me love football games. I was never big in to the Madden series but loved the arcade feel to Blitz when I first played it back on the original Playstation. While the series remained strong for some time it kind of lost its luster by the time Blitz the League came out. When I heard that Blitz was getting a downloadable remake, all of that nostalgic feeling returned and I was excited for any new Blitz content that EA could throw at me. NFL Blitz was always my favorite football game. I loved it so much I bought the original Playstation version again so I could play it on my PS3. With EA going the downloadable route it seemed like a perfect idea as Blitz was never a content heavy game, and what they delivered was pretty much what anyone would have expected but that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth a look.
What makes this game so appealing compared to other football games is its simplicity. The game doesn’t require many buttons and is a fast paced arcade style football game. Also if anyone played the original Blitz games they may remember the hardcore tackles and the silly codes that gave you special character heads and abilities. Well all of that returns with some minor changes. The special character teams are now unlocked in a mode called Blitz gauntlet where you pick a team and take on a challenge ladder of other teams with boss battles made up of crazy teams such as clowns and cheese heads. After you beat the boss teams you unlock them and are able to use them any time.
If you are looking for any kind of season mode in NFL Blitz you will be disappointed as this game is really only arcade style play. The closest thing that you can get to a season mode is the Blitz gauntlet mode where you face the other NFL teams to unlock special comical teams. The only other games modes are the different online modes and a quick play option. This game actually seems like it is directed more towards and online or competitive audience as the multiplayer modes seem more fleshed out than the single player. If you don’t play online or with other friends on the same console than the single player content may not last very long as it is very thin and can just becoming boring or frustrating. The online modes are broken up into Blitz Battle or Elite League. Both modes are just different multiplayer modes with the Battle mode being you’re standard matchmaking and the Elite League being a more in depth roster selection and player management. One nice online option is the ability to play online co-op which can be rather entertaining with a friend.
The controls for Blitz are probably the simplest you will ever see in a football game and that’s what makes it so appealing. However the quickness of the matches is also its biggest downside. While the speed of the players and the plays keep the game interesting it also means that the games are that much quicker. One thing that the old Blitz games had that this one lacks is the option to make the quarters of the game longer to keep the game going but sadly that is lost in this XBLA version.
The whole control style of the old Blitz returns with quick and simple movements and passes that make the plays smooth and seamless but what also returns is the hard difficulty. NFL Blitz can be brutal when it comes to the skill of the AI teams. Playing on normal was almost too difficult as it felt the other team was constantly intercepting and making my players fumble the ball, but when I lowered the difficulty it became too easy and I never felt challenged leaving this feeling of unbalanced competition with no happy medium. Playing online or with a friend is probably more entertaining as you are possibly facing someone of your own skill level which could change the whole game for any player.
Bright colors and smooth animations make NFL Blitz very appealing to the eyes. The animations are great and watching the players pull of hilarious victory celebrations is always great to see. The frame rate is very smooth and even with the quick paced gameplay you never feel lost or have trouble seeing what’s happening. This game looks great for a downloadable title and even if you’re not playing can be entertaining just to watch. The character models are well done and the art style is suiting for the game given the arcade like style of the game. It looks and feels like you are playing a game that should be on an arcade cabinet.
Everything that was fun in the old Blitz games is still present here. The fast paced action and hard hitting and sometimes hilarious tackles are still satisfying every time. They have really added character to the announcers and listening to them you are often treated to comedic gold. However when playing solo the game can seem really thin and boring very quickly and it is almost a necessity to want to play this game online or with a friend. While the games can be really fun at first, when you have faced about four teams in the gauntlet it can start to feel a little repetitive. One of the best appeals for me to Blitz was the arcade formula to the game but because of this you are treated to short game times and a field that feels only ten feet long. While Blitz was a great game in its day the formula is starting to feel a little dated.
NFL Blitz is still one of the most interesting and ambitious football video game on the market today, however this style of sports game may be a little out of date. While it is fun for a while if you don’t extend your interest into the multiplayer or play with a friend you may never see your dollar amount from this. Fans of the original Blitz should get everything they want out of this game and new comers should definitely check it out but this title may only appeal to a certain nostalgic audience.