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Published on February 16th, 2012 | by Chris Ramirez, Editor

NFL Blitz Review

Developer: EA Sports
Platform:  PlayStation 3 via PlayStation Network, Xbox 360 via Xbox LIVE Arcade [Reviewed]
MSRP: $14.99, 1200 MSP
Release Date: Feb. 6, 2012

With the NFL season over, there are not many places football fans can continue to get there pigskin fix. Luckily EA Sports has you covered. Fresh off the success of remaking HD versions of NBA Jam and recently NBA Jam: Full Throttle, EA Sports looked at the other arcade style sports game that had fans dropping quarters back in the late ’90s. The hard hitting, trash talking and extremely witty NFL Blitz. EA Sports brings NFL Blitz back to its arcade roots.

Midway’s NFL Blitz franchise was an arcade hit. However once the franchise lost the rights to include actual NFL players, the franchise went into the wrong direction. The franchise moved out of the over-the-top, fun, arcade style gameplay towards more violent side. EA Sports recognized the appeal of the original arcade and went back to that simple formula. However, there are some changes that do change the dynamic of the game.  These changes make this version of NFL Blitz a standout on its own.

EA Sports focused on achieving an arcade style football game that still felt strategic and competitive. With the original, the plays had very little to no significant. Offense and defense was stripped to its core and the original game was all about the crazy tackles.EA Sports’ NFL Blitz has the same offensive and defensive plays as the original game. What exactly is the difference with EA’s version and Midway’s version? The actual gameplay. EA Sports took out some of the more over the top tackles. Gone are the over-the-top wrestling style tackles. Also gone is the ability to tackle after the play. To many fans of the original game the elimination of these tackles can be quite upsetting.

To replace this lost, NFL Blitz now has a audible feature. Players have the ability to read the offense/defense and change the play on the fly to gain a better advantage. This is extremely helpful to gain yardage from a blitz by being able to switch to a longer passing play that puts your quarterback into the shotgun position. On the defensive side, the audible feature is help to stop your opponent from gaining yardage.

 

These minor changes focus the game away from being a “tackle-fest” to the game of football itself. Deciding plays seem to be more strategic and defense is stressed. Very few games will pass 70 points for a single team. However, this is due to the game settings as well. The game options are bare. The basic sounds, music, and reply settings are available. I big disadvantage, players do not have the ability to change the quarter lengths. Quarters are 2-minutes long to keep an up-tempo feel. The clock stops after every play, thus lengthening the quarters. Each game last about 20 to 30 minutes. Players do have the ability to change or completely eliminate the play timer. The decision of allowing the player to change the play timer but not the quarter time is odd. NFL Blitz manages the arcade feel of the original through the sights and sounds.

Fans will be thrilled to know EA Sports brought back the NFL licenses. Each team has their most popular players on the field. Every team and stadium is featured. The graphics are a HD update of the original NFL Blitz. The players have a cartoonish feel to match with the over-the-top player animations. The characters models slightly differ. The characters have the name and number of the players, but do not have the player’s likeness.

Once you start NFL Blitz from the XMB or XBLA and hear the announcer memories will start coming back of the original. EA Sports focused on keeping the game set up similar to the original. The announcer sounds like the same announcer, the load screens are similar showing tip and pictures of cheerleaders, to even the sound of metal doors slamming once you confirmed an option. The gameplay sounds are there as well.

The wittiness of the original NFL Blitz is an aspect of the game that made it unique. EA Sports realized that and kept the wittiness of the announcers. However, they took off player reactions. The players still limp, over exaggerate injuries after a hard fit, taunt, and celebrate crazy dances after a good play or touchdown but they do not have any dialogue. The dialogue from the players was a great complement for the announcer’s play-by-play/reactions in the original. If it was a playful expression of pain, taunt, or cartoonish scream of the player’s reaction added a great arcade feel to the game. To compensate for this lose, EA Sports gave the announcers a bigger role. In the original game, the announcers will do basic play-by-play and react to tackles. In EA Sports’ NFL Blitz, the announcers give you the play-by-play, reactions, and now witty dialogue. A play could trigger a witty dialogue/joke/conversation about the tackle, play, or gain/lose of yardage. The dialogue eliminates possible moments of the announcers getting repetitive. EA Sports also added some additional sounds to the gameplay. Time your stiff arm just right you will hear the bell form a KO in a boxing match as you watch your victim fall flat to the floor or muscling your way through a crowd will trigger the sound of bowling pins falling. This is a great addition to the game.

NFL Blitz has a number of game modes to offer. A number of these modes are geared to online play. You have Quick Play, Online Co-Op, Blitz Battles, Elite League and Blitz Gauntlet. Online Co-Op is two-on-two co-op mode. Blitz Battles is your basic head-on-head, one and one competition online multiplayer. Elite League allows you buy cards of players to build your own team. You can see if your team is better than your opponent or you can wager cards in your deck for other rare players with your opponent. EA Sports added a Blitz Store to the menu. Every time you play a game online, you will earn some Blitz Bucks. Use these Blitz Bucks at the Blitz Store to purchase cheats, game setting modifications, player cards/decks, team logos, etc. to better customize your NFL Blitz experience. Blitz Gauntlet is a Mortal Kombat type single player ladder. You defeat teams to work your way to boss battles. The boss battles are fantasy characters that range from a horse to a ninja. The ninja has characteristics similar to Mortal Kombat characters. This could be homage to the original game in which players can change the player’s heads to Mortal Kombat characters. Before every match, players still have the ability to input codes to unlock game modifications, a little fun addition to the game from the original.

Final Truth:

EA Sports kept NFL Blitz similar to the original game. With the added online game modes, NFL Blitz is a must have. The game is a simple and fun for gamers who hardly/never play football games. NFL Blitz might be too simple for those gamers who are used to the Madden series, but a great title for some arcade style football. This is how an arcade HD port should be. Despite the elimination of the wrestling style tackles and being able to tackle after the play, NFL Blitz still manages to maintain the arcade feel while focusing on offensive/defensive strategies. The Blitz Store gives players the incentive to play online and earn Blitz Bucks and or rare player cards. NFL Blitz offers hours of hard hitting, body flying, being thrown or flipped into the end zone for a touchdown football fun.

[xrr label=”Rating: 9.0/10″ rating=9.0/10]

+ Online Modes
+ Reply Value
+ Arcade Style
Options
Toned Down Tackles

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About the Author

HI! I am fanatic of all things gaming from cabinet, cartridge, disc, to digital distribution. I am the Editor with an emphasis on family and indie games. I collect toys, figures, and Pops! and enjoy taking photos of my collection and more. Visit my Instagram @CheckPointChris. Subscribe on my Facebook under Chris Ramirez, follow me on Twitter and Twitch @CheckpointChris.



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