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NFL Blitz Review

What is the concept? Much like Electronic Art’s 2010 reboot of NBA Jam, the recent revitalization of NFL Blitz preserves the majority of the classic title’s hyperkinetic action. Jettisoning any football tenet which might slow the game down, Blitz boils the sport down to its most basic elements, adjusting any rule to accommodate a frantic pace. From a streamlined playbook, tackles which catapult players high into the air, to securing a first down after earning thirty yards- the title is a far cry from the staunch simulation which drives EA’s Madden NFL series.

Extracting inspiration from the original seven-man teams of the coin-op and early console versions, (Blitz 2002 had eight athletes per side, while 2003’s NFL Blitz Pro and 2006’s Blitz: The League aped reality with eleven-man squads), shuns the grittiness which permeated later franchise entries. So while authentic NFL teams, logos, and players abound, the brutal bone-snapping x-rays, juicing, and prostitutes have all been excised, resulting in a laudable tradeoff.  For better or worse, passing is still the main method of securing yardage. While the sporadic quarterback run or handoff can catch a human opponent off-guard and produce a small gain, gunning the ball downfield consistently yields the best results. While faithful to its heritage, some players will undoubtedly bemoan the constraint to their offensive arsenal.

What are the game’s strengths?  Between the capably rendered athletes that flaunt an abundance of over-the-top animation routines and a nearly unblemished 60 frames-per-second delivery, NFL Blitz is certainly eye pleasing. Visual flourishes like gargantuan team names which drop into the endzone during team entrances and flashy transition graphics seamlessly complement the hyperbolic action. Although there are gaps between returning announcer Tim Kitzrow’s aural zingers, it’s comforting not having to hear the same remark incessantly through a game.

Although the game’s aesthetics are diverting, NFL Blitz’s array of play modes is the title’s most palpable virtue. Beyond exhibition matches, players can embark on the Blitz Gauntlet, which provides the intermittent fanciful rival between bouts with human contenders. Inexplicably, scoring a touchdown against a group of hot dogs, zombies, or robots is even more thrilling that trumping Bear, Lions, and Panthers, especially once players are rewarded with codes which can modify the main game with superfluities like big-head mode. Jumping online permits access to the Elite League, which grants players the ability to cultivate their own fantasy squad. Commencing with a starter pack, successive wins reward players with additional cards which offer additional players and field power-ups.

What are the game’s weaknesses? While players can customize their control options to say, change Blitz’s stick-based receiver selection to a contemporary Madden-style icon indicator, there are a scant number of selections to the game itself. As such, players are forced to compete in two minute quarters with obligatory seven man teams. Yet, the title’s adherence to legacy isn’t seamless- nostalgic players will surely notice the elimination of late hits from the game. Even if German suplexes and elbow drops rarely affected gameplay, these after-the-whistle shenanigans certainly contributed to Blitz’s mischievous vibe.

As well-conceived as NFL Blitz’s Elite League is, a few flaws exists. Since the in-game currency used to purchase cards in the Elite League mode is restricted to online play, gamers who normally eschew internet match-ups won’t have to chance to see the title’s most immersive element. Even those who venture on-line will be frustrated by the high-frequency of fourth-quarter quitters, as dropped connections pay no dividends.  Hopefully, EA can patch in some type of partial payment, as playing a twenty minute match for naught can sap Elite League of its vitality.

Would I enjoy the game? As anyone who played NBA Ballers: The Chosen One can corroborate, recreating treasured franchises can be tricky thing. Prudently, EA Tiburon went back to the series’ high-spirited roots to revitalize NFL Blitz, upholding the game’s gratifying elements while adding requisite high-def polish and online connectivity. Although solitary gamers might extract enough enjoyment from Blitz to warrant the title’s fifteen-dollar purchase price, players that are part of an active online community will want to rush XBLA or PSN with the determination of one of the game’s marauding defensemen.

About Robert Allen

With over 35 years of gaming experience, Robert ‘DesertEagle’ Allen is Tech-Gaming’s resident worrier/warrior who spends his days teaching at three colleges and his nights devoted to JRPGs.

26 comments

  1. Well, if EA has the NFL licenses they might as well be making Blitz games. Midways games lacked without real players.

  2. Beats the living shit out of Madden Arcade, IMO.

  3. Rosters are super-old, with SD the top team. I hope they patch that and bring it up to 2012.

  4. According to Gamesradar “there are no running plays”. You say there are handoffs and QB runs, which is it?

    http://www.gamesradar.com/nfl-blitz-review/

    • There are quite a few running plays! Did the Gamesradar not read the “Press L1/R1 to turn pages” window when you open the playbook? Does he think that there are only 9 plays in the entire game?

  5. Looks like the guys from Gears of War suited up. Maybe an unlockable team, the Locust-busters?!?

  6. “the title is a far cry from the staunch simulation which drives EA’s Madden NFL series.”

    Dude, Madden is pretty arcadey to me.

  7. I really wish I could play this but MS has my account locked up after I was hacked and points taken. Don’t know why they punish players.

    Oh well, maybe there will be a price drop by the time Toulouse and company get around to fixing things.

  8. Blitz brings back memories on HS friends, pizza, and life with no responsibilities. Damn you, Nostalgia.

  9. The cheerleader screen mentions co-op. How many people can play together?

  10. Whichever one said they they wanted a Mutant League Football revival hit the nail on the head. This is cool, but MLF would be sooo much better.

  11. The demo was good, but didn’t get me pumped enough to drop $15 on Blitz.

  12. Any Tebowing or Teabagging in the game?

  13. I always like the old Blitz game, but the rubber-band AI in SP drove me nuts. If you ever took the lead by more than 20 points, you could expect magic interceptions and fumbles all over the place. Please tell me that isn’t the case anymore.

  14. Good review. Did you see any differences between the 360 and PS3 versions?

  15. Any lag when online? Good review otherwise.

  16. Shoot, this game is great. No complaints at all. Probably will be one of the best digital downloads of 2012.

  17. CrotchRocketRick

    Bought it last night and gathered 5 friends around for an insane time.. We ended up playing until 3:00 am. I totally recommend Blitz.

  18. I didn’t think I’d like this because I didn’t think NBA Jam was all that. Played the demo twice and found myself hooked.