|System: Xbox 360, PS3|
|Dev: EA Tiburon|
|Pub: EA Sports|
|Release: January 10, 2012|
|Players: 1 - Multi|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p||Comic Mischief, Mild Language, Mild Suggestive Themes, Mild Violence|
by Patriel Manning
Originally published by Midway, the Blitz series once enjoyed a level of popularity that rivaled the Madden NFL series. Its arcade-style gameplay and over-the-top antics helped to secure the favor of gamers who normally wouldn't have normally bothered to play a sports title. Fast forward 16 years, out of the back of the Shakey's restaurant, and past a few hiccups, and we're finally able to get our hands on another entry in the franchise. While there are a few tweaks and changes the important thing is this: NFL Blitz is still stupid good fun.
It's probably safe to say that those expecting a faithful recreation of an NFL game day aren't going to get anything close in Blitz, but that doesn't mean they won't be entertained. It is still American Football, so some of the usual rules apply, but there are some tweaks and changes. Instead of a mere ten yards to obtain a first down, players will have to pick up thirty yards to avoid a turnover on downs. Whoever wrote up the rulebook for Blitz also forgot to add any protection for receivers, meaning any and all types of pass interference is completely acceptable.
There are a few other alterations to gameplay that help to streamline the experience. Unless you've chosen to punt the ball away (I'll risk turning the ball over on downs before I punt, even if it's fourth and 58) or kick a field goal, you'll never have to worry about any complicated controls for the kicker. Passing the ball is reduced from the usual multi-button control scheme EA football games are known for to a simple point-and-shoot mechanism: hike the ball with A, pass with B, rinse and repeat. There's almost nothing to get in the way of having a very simplified, fun, arcade-style experience from the moment you leave the menu screens behind.
The "Blitz Gauntlet" is a nice addition that adds a bit of longevity to the title. It has a progress column/totem not unlike fighting games like Mortal Kombat, complete with "bosses." The tongue-in-cheek presentation coupled with the fantasy characters that comprise the "boss" teams help to make sure the seriousness of any particular match is kept to a minimum. Bosses range from lions to men in hot dog suits to zombies, and all of them are unlockable for use in the game's various modes.
There are also a few modes that allow players to compete against each other or help each other through co-op play, both locally and online. The "Elite League" mode basically allows players to play a type of Blitz-style fantasy football. There's even a Blitz Store where players can go to purchase various items to customize their team.
The gameplay in all of the modes was tightly packaged and almost carefree. Instead of giving players a plethora of plays to choose from to form an offensive or defensive strategy, there are relatively very few. At any given moment, a player will be able to choose from eighteen offensive plays and nine defensive plays. While that may sound like a lot to someone who has never played a football simulator like Madden or the old NFL games from 2K, it's certainly not very many at all. It serves the keep the gameplay moving without bogging it down with needless clutter.
Any special options like punting, kicking a field goal, or setting the defense up for a punt return would appear in the menu if the circumstances called for it. Otherwise you never have to worry about getting lost in page after page of optional formations.
The only problem I had with the game came from the pre-game menus. It's a small gripe, but a gripe nonetheless: the help menus pop up at the beginning of every game whether it's the first time you've played the game or it's the 10,000th time. Again, this isn't all that troubling, really. The other, though, had to deal with saving after playing a match in the Blitz Gauntlet. Being asked if I'd like to save, then if I'd like to overwrite, and subsequently being asked if I was sure after every match could easily have been done differently with an autosave feature.