It was only a year ago that Electronic Arts acquired exclusive NFL License, much to the dismay of some fans wanting a little variety in their NFL sport games. But one advantage is that other developers are forced to innovate and be creative in coming up with their non-licensed NFL games. The first game out of the gate to do this comes from Midway Games and it is Blitz: The League. So can this high flying football series manage to compete? Read our full review to find out!
There may be those of you who may think the title Blitz may sound familiar. Well, that is because it is a very long lasting franchise that has featured arguably the best arcade NFL action out there. Basically you would play an eight-on-eight game, with thirty yard first downs, and have a great time. The series started to lose a lot of steam when they came on modern consoles, but now hopes to bring all that back with a game that tries to take totally fictional characters and bring them to life in their game Blitz: The League.
Since the NFL License is now exclusively held by EA, Midway decided they wanted to do some things different with their fading franchise. And the first thing they did was make an extremely mature title. They decided, similar to the old Playmakers show on ESPN, they wanted to make a "realistic" football story. Now what this means is that there are a whole lot of things that go on throughout this game that the NFL would never want you to see. So the game has a story mode, which basically takes you into the League, where you will see things that you really hope don’t happen in the NFL. The story of the game was actually written by one of the former Playmaker writers, and you can see with all of the suggestive and somewhat downright terrible things that are said throughout the campaign. I must say that like the TV Show, Blitz: The League takes things way too far with the story mode. Sure I can see why you would want to aim for a more mature audience, but in my opinion the game’s story was so over the top that I did not enjoy it at all.
So passing up the storyline in the game, the core gameplay remains faithful to the Blitz tradition, with huge hits, huge plays, and a whole lot of fun. The gameplay in Blitz: The League is still a constant hay day, where you drop back pass and kind of just hope the receiver catches it, and not really worrying about the defenders. However Blitz: The League definitely favors the offensive side of the ball, and this is apparent both when you are actually playing offense and when you go to the other side of the ball. With that being said, the Blitz games have never been about accuracy, but instead have always just wanted to bring a fun fast paced experience that didn’t really expect anything more than that.
The game does include online play, where you can take your team through the campaign mode and then see how they compare against other teams, which is probably some of the more memorable times I have had playing this game. The online play for the most part was without lag and seemed to hold up pretty well. There were quite a few people playing online, so it doesn’t seem like finding a game is going to be an issue.
When I see Blitz: The League, I see a game that took things a little too far. Sure I enjoyed being able to wager money before a game, or deciding on whether or not to juice a player after an injury. Those things were fine, because most of us know these sorts of things unfortunately happen. However to bring in half-naked cheerleaders that show their rear every time they kick their leg up is just a bad choice of judgment in my opinion. If you look at Blitz at its core, it is a solid football title. But in my opinion, all of this other garbage just seems to pile up and get in the way of what has made Blitz great in the past, and that is just high flying fast paced fun gameplay.
Visually Blitz: The League is a great step in the right direction for the series, which has never been one of the finer looking games on the market. I must say that I was very impressed with a lot of the graphical touches that the developers put into this game. First off, the thing that stands out in my mind are the tackling animations, which are truly bone crunching and of course bring you back to the good old days of Blitz style football. The way that the game shows injuries with the small quick cut scene was a neat idea that worked well for the game.
The actual animation in this game is not perfect, but for the most part gets the job done. I was impressed with the hit detection in Blitz: The League, which seems to work really well. The game itself sports some great looking stadiums and players, all of which have a great deal of detail and a nice use of color. Blitz: The League is really a solid looking football title that may not be in the Madden tier, but it still a great looking game nonetheless.
When I say this game is Mature, I mean this game is very mature so I would never let any young person play this game. In fact, while playing Blitz: The League, I can honestly say I felt wrong by playing this game. Sure I know that a lot of these things the game portrays happen in real life, but do we really need to relive it in a video game? Putting that aside, the actual gameplay is still the same old Blitz-style gameplay, just without the NFL players. The online mode is good and the campaigns, although filled with a lot of bad decisions, still has some good parts as well.
Blitz: The League could have been a great game had they not thrown in such mature and over the top material. I can honestly say that I personally would not recommend this game to anyone, but being an editor, I can see that there are a lot of potential buyers for this game. The gameplay is good, the graphics are solid, and in the end when you put all the mature stuff to the side, you still have an entertaining Blitz game.
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