NFL Blitz Review for Xbox 360

NFL Blitz Review for Xbox 360

It’s On Fire!

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.

NFL Blitz Screenshot

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.

NFL Blitz Screenshot

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.

NFL Blitz Screenshot

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.

The graphics look bright and clean, sort of a throwback to the Blitz games of old, which is a good thing. All 32 NFL teams’ uniforms are reasonably recreated, as are the stadiums. The particle effects are also adequate and both the players and the ball react with somewhat realistic physics properties. The classic Blitz fire doesn’t look all that bad either. Players are obviously simplified versions of the real-life counterparts. Even so, the lively animations they carry out are just cartoonish enough to be believable, which always makes for some entertaining on-screen antics.

NFL Blitz Screenshot

My favorite aspect the presentation is the audio. Everything—from the sound of the tackles to the thud of the ball being kicked to the sound bites—evokes that sort of over the top “NFL Sunday” presentation the team must have been going for. The two-man team of commentators, Brian Haley and Tim Kitzrow, are legitimately funny. I found myself waiting to snap the ball just so I could hear what they were saying on more than one occasion.

The game’s longevity will inevitably depend on what each individual is willing to put into it. If you’re looking to take a few minutes at the end of the day and wind down with Blitz, the game has the perfect gameplay for you. If you’d like to delve in and create your own fantasy football team, you can do that too. Its closest competition comes from games in the Backbreaker franchise, specifically the first offering. In my opinion, Blitz has a slightly more “arcade” feel that gives it an edge over Backbreaker, if only a slight one.

NFL Blitz is a timely reminder of just how old I am, and how fun an unrealistic experience can be. It’s a reminder of a time when all the best games could be found at the arcade and when Tecmo Bowl was the basis of all the football knowledge I possessed. It certainly isn’t a game for everyone; if you’re looking for a more faithful recreation of the sport, look elsewhere. For the rest of us, though, NFL Blitz is exactly what it needs to be: stupid good fun. The only thing it’s missing is that old pizza parlor smell.

The graphics are adequate. The player animations are fairly realistic and the particle effects are good. 4.0 Control
Controls are tight, responsive, and not overly complicated. 3.7 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
The music is appropriate enough. The commentary is actually funny. 4.0 Play Value
There’s enough here to keep you coming back if you’re so inclined. You can get out of it what you wish. 3.6 Overall Rating – Good
Not an average. See Rating legend below for a final score breakdown.

Review Rating Legend
0.1 – 1.9 = Avoid 2.5 – 2.9 = Average 3.5 – 3.9 = Good 4.5 – 4.9 = Must Buy
2.0 – 2.4 = Poor 3.0 – 3.4 = Fair 4.0 – 4.4 = Great 5.0 = The Best

Game Features:

  • Classic Blitz Gameplay – Fast-paced football action at its best, featuring the 7-on-7 wide-open gameplay of the original arcade hit. Two minute quarters, 30 yards for a first down, no penalties, exciting tackles, and, of course, players ON FIRE!
  • Blitz in HD – For the first time in franchise history, Blitz hits the gridiron in high definition. Take to the field with top players from each of the 32 NFL teams, play in all 31 NFL stadiums and battle bosses from the Gauntlet at the Blitz Coliseum.
  • Ultra-Responsive Controls – Running at 60fps/60Hz, the pick-up-and-play controls perfectly replicate the twitch arcade experience. Disrupt the opposition with stiff arms, knock down receivers before a catch, dive to tackle ball carriers, and hurdle pass for the big play, all with the touch of a button.
  • Blitz Battles – Challenge the competition online in head-to-head matches or team up (on a single console or online) 2-on-2, ranking up local, regional, and national Battle Boards – all the way to the Blitz Hall of Fame.
  • Blitz Gauntlet – The ultimate single-player challenge! Battle through a multi-tiered Gauntlet, taking on NFL teams and exclusive fantasy character bosses in the Blitz Coliseum. Take down the fantasy character bosses to unlock them for use in all modes.
  • Elite League – Join the Elite League and strive to create the perfect squad of ultimate players. Purchase card packs using Blitz Bucks earned through online games to collect players to customize your lineup. Collect an entire NFL team of players to unlock powerful Pro and Ultimate players that give your team the competitive edge. Change the game in unique ways by acquiring and using Power Ups to further your advantage on the field. For the ultimate rush, risk one of your valuable players in a winner-takes-all Risk and Reward game. Online Co-op – Grab a teammate on the couch or join a friend online and crush the competition in classic Blitz 2-on-2 style. Track your records against friends to show who owns the Blitz gridiron.

  • To top