Published on July 2nd, 2011 | by G. Bargas, Managing Editor
Backbreaker Vengeance Review
Platform: Xbox 360 [Reviewed], PlayStation 3
Release Date: June 29, 2011
Price: 1200 MS Points
Backbreaker Vengeance is the Split/Second of football. The moves are over the top, the graphics are superb, and the in game animations are mutually realistic. The toughest part about creating a game with this style of gameplay is ensuring that authenticity is still kept in mind. Do not worry football fans all of the important aspects to professional football are represented. Mid-field layouts, blindsided collisions, and of course, showboating. While it may seem like a downgrade continuing on the Backbreaker tradition of generic teams, with the way things are going right now in the real world, it might not be too far off from the real thing.
Within the game itself, there are three separate areas to sharpen your skills. The first area in the menu to experience is Tackle Alley. This area lays the foundation to develop superb RB skills. Breaking ankles, swift dives, high-stepping and trucking an opponent are all of the necessary moves to make it to the end zone. These moves gain point value as they are combo’d together as well as adding in other moves like near misses and the use of practice pylons on the field. Showboating high steps, or spreading your arms like a kid pretending to be an airplane are all ways to keep your combo lasting on the way to score. Similar to something you might find in the arcade style of Split Second, the moves are highlighted on screen and declared with effects and a point value.
The second area where points and plastering occurs like sunshine is the defensive mode known as Vengeance. Similar moves are implied, but this time with defensive aspect in mind. Shaking a blocker, sliding under an offensive missile, or laying out a would-be lead blocker are all moves that must be mastered to crack that running back all the way to Hackensack.
The last area is Supremacy. This is where the show stopping moves of the offense are put on display against three other opponents in a race to the end zone. There is a mixture of offensive and defensive waves in these tournament style races.
The goal is still to combo moves, but this time around, you must push your player to finish first in the race. Take the number one seat with points and a swift move to the finish line. Let your opponent take an oncoming hit that was intended for you, or simply outperform them to finish in front.
The game had me hooked at first play. It was easy to continue on through each challenge and see where my score would land me on the monthly leaderboards. Each area has 20 challenges to play through, some of which can come with a higher grade of difficulty with narrowing out-of-bounds and split second decision making. These are things that will keep you on the righteous path of smash, or failing the course to only start the challenge over again.
The only really bad things that can be said about the title are things like closer animation radius. Tackling a person if they are behind you basically leaves you with no options. You either nail them on the first leap and hit, or it’s a big “sorry, no can do.” Similar instances can be found in the online mode with animations also becoming a brutal experience.
My connection at home is pretty darn good. It is very seldom that lag is caught due to everyone and their mother streaming movies and playing games. A few matches left me tripping over simple pylon hops, even after multiple button taps were pushed. This left me only to fall victim to a head-shot from a defensive player (thank you bad opponent connection). Hopefully a patch will be in the works soon, or better pairing for online matches will result.
The game might also seem limiting to those who were looking for a full-on whole-hearted football experience. The game itself emphasizes the main areas of offense and defense, but also drives the competitiveness that you would see in the sport. While it is lacking the big team rosters, a campaign, or jumping into the coach’s headset, it was enough though to keep me entertained and coming back to the Xbox LIVE multiplayer.
505 Games and NaturalMotion Games created a football gem. The game highlights the brutality and power of taking on a defensive player looking to do the same, but also creates a fluid translation of the arcade style players might be looking forward to in a more casual sense. Hardcore Madden fans might also find comfort in the control scheme, but will also enjoy the competitive notion of the online multiplayer. Backbreaker gave us a spoonful of variation to our pallet of football titles available, but it also gave their interpretation of how controls and gameplay should be. It was great seeing this in the original release, but also great seeing this translated into a digital title. If you are looking for a great summer game to hold you over until the real season starts, if it ever does, it would be a good idea to do some head-to-head and get laid out.
+/– Animation physics