Arena Football Review / Preview for Xbox (XB)

Arena Football Review / Preview for Xbox (XB)

Because real football just isn’t tough enough… by Devin Dinardo

January 18, 2006 – Electronic Arts rules the videogame football kingdom with an iron fist, owning all rights to the official NFL license, it’s a wonder why other sports game developers never picked up on the hard-hitting, high scoring, utterly enjoyable Arena Football League. It is now little too late as EA destroys any future competition in the football arena, tackling their latest exclusive license: the Arena Football League.

For those unfamiliar with Arena Football (or any other Arena sport for that matter), it is really easy to imagine what the game is like. You take your favorite sport, in this case we are looking at American Football, dry out the ice of an ice rink, pack in all the players, coaches, yard lines, end zones and goal posts, and you have yourself Arena Football. Hits are and can be made along the boards, giant nets sit on either side of the goal posts allowing punts to bounce off and be caught for extra yardage.

For those in the know with the Madden series, we have watched Madden grow into an amalgamation of complex plays and position assignment, bogging down the actual gameplay experience in favor of a simulation experience. Arena Football, while intense, won’t offer the same complexity, which may be more appealing to a wider spectrum of gamers.

With the AFL playing on a smaller surface, the field is only about 50 yards long; so AFL coaches and players cannot run the same plays as NFL players do, simply because the field just doesn’t allow it. And with netting on the goal posts, different strategies for punts have been invented. This also means that playbooks in Arena Football will be much slimmer than Madden, and aimed more towards aerial plays. Since Arena Football takes place inside a hockey rink, it is obvious that the AFL field is not as wide as an NFL field, which will hinder your running game.

EA, and developers Tiburon, are looking to add some new spice to the football domain with a feature called Telemetry. Telemetry allows you run full body scans on your players that will give you some very pertinent information. You will be able to see an outline of your player, and see which parts of their bodies are fatigued. If you have a player with legs in the red zone, the player will obviously run slower. If your quarter back has an arm in the red zone, or your receiver has his hands in the red, throwing and catching will become inaccurate and failures more constant.

In addition to monitoring your player’s fatigue, Telemetry also allows you to see your success on the field. You can see what plays are working best for you, and what part of the field has the highest success rate. No need in throwing the ball to a cornerback who keeps intercepting your passes right?

EA’s Arena Football appears to be shaping up as the sports conglomerate’s arcade style gaming experience. If you’re the type of gamer that just wants to get into the game, with little to no learning curve and want to bust some heads, Arena Football should be the game for you. For the die-hard simulation football fans, Arena Football’s stripped down rules might be a bit too lackadaisical for you.

Regardless, there’s not a football that will be on the market made for everyone.


  • Feel the Rumble—Pulverize the competition and wreak havoc as you hand out huge hits that crush players into and over the walls!
  • High-Octane Gameplay—Fast-paced, high-scoring offenses dominate the league—light up the scoreboard with an allout aerial assault using playbooks created by actual Arena coaches.
  • All-New Telemetry—For the first time ever in sports gaming, instantly get real-time information about your opponent. An in-game telemetry system provides an immediate review of scoring history, passing tendencies, and player health allowing you to capitalize on your opponent’s weaknesses.
  • Ironman Football—This is old-school football … six of eight players are on both sides of the ball.
  • Use the telemetry system to identify and replace tired players before they give up a big play.
  • Experience the Excitement—The arena comes alive with fans, fireworks, and a rock-concert atmosphere.
  • Revolutionary Kicking Game—Split the uprights from any location on the Arena field with the all-new analog kicking controls that give you total command over every kick.
  • Become an Arena Great—Build an Arena powerhouse and take it to the promise land in Season mode or challenge the best players in the nation with head-to-head online play.
  • Personalize Your Game—Create a dominant player and a customized team then take the league by storm.

By Devin Dinardo
CCC Staff Writer

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