NFL Blitz 20-02 Review (Xbox)
One of my favorite party games ever has come to the Xbox. What more could I ask for. Sometimes I get tired of the "Sim" aspect of Madden and NFL 2K and I want something over the top and more importantly, FUN. NFL Blitz 20-02 satisfies these hungers and then some. While it's not as fun single player as it is multiplayer, it sure is one hell of a good time.
The graphics are done quite nicely although you won't see lifelike representation of your favorite players. Instead you will see musclebound no necks with muscles coming out of every direction. So you think Adam Vinatieri is just a game winning field goal kicker?? Think again because he'll toss around Lavar Arrington like yesterday's newspaper.
The animations are done very well and without a hiccup. The graphics won't blow you away like Madden and Fever, but I think Midway did a fairly good job. Stadiums are rendered very lifelike and you won't see any framerate issues (or slowdown) like you do in the PS2 version.
Ever wanted to play a game of football with no rules? Well this is as close as you can get. For those of you familiar with the Blitz series, you know there are no pass interference calls, offsides, or even late hit personal fouls in this game. It's all about high scoring fun!! After a touchdown you get an automatic extra point or you can try for 2. To get in the endzone you have to work your way down field in 1st and 30 situations, instead of 1st and 10. Run, spin, dive, hurdle and stiffarm your way down field.
Passing is done by dropping your quarterback in the pocket and finding the open receiver. If you go left you will see your receiver streaking down the left side highlighted. Rollout to the right and the receiver to the right gets highlighted and becomes your target. Hit the pass button and it will go to your highlighted receiver. This approach leads to more sacks than completions. To make things a little easier, they have implemented icon passing, which is a lot easier for the Madden and NFL 2k fans out there. Either way works, you just have to find which one works for you. While there is a running game, you have to sort of pass the ball backwards to run it. There doesn't seem to be any "Run" plays, where the quarterback just hands the ball off. You have to drop back and throw a lateral to your running back or wide receiver, which turns into a run play, or you can just run your supercharged steroid loving quarterback. When you throw the lateral, your receiver can either run it or throw it to another receiver. It makes for some entertaining results and keeps the defense on its toes.
When it comes to playcalling, you have plenty to choose from. 4 pages to be exact. You have a mix of "Sandlot" plays, which are from the older Blitz games that most people will be familiar with. Then there are the "Professional" plays, that are straight out of the NFL playbooks. It would have been nice to see more team specific plays, but it's not like this game is realistic by any means, so we can overlook that.
A new addition to Blitz 20-02 is the "Impact Player". You can tell this player to sit back in zone, blitz the QB, help block on passing plays or be ready for a quick hitter. It's just another dimension to the game.
One thing I would like to see is more sideline interaction. It would be a blast to dive into the opposing coach and watch his headpiece fly off his dome or even piledrive a cheerleader on occasion. hehe...
There isn't anything earth shattering in the audio department as the 2 man booth gets old after a few chuckles. However, there is nothing like hearing the energized, adrenaline pumping announcers for the first time. Maybe Pat and John could get a few pointers. The sounds and taunts from the players add to the gameplay. It's so fun to absolutely plaster your friend going over the middle and have him get up only to spear him with your helmet one more time and talk trash about it. Sometimes the player will bounce back up and other times just lay there and moan in pain. It's really funny to see when you're playing multiplayer as it just adds to the fun. The sounds of bodies and helmets colliding and players being slammed to the turf are quite humourous. I can't get enough of the trash talking and maybe they'll have even more next year.
Overall it's the same Blitz game. But there is something about it that keeps me coming back for more. If you are looking for a party game, this is it. Even in single player it's quite fun, but you can't talk trash to the CPU. This is the perfect game to play when you have a buddy or two over and want to get in a quick 30 minute beatdown of them or if you just want to get pumped for the upcoming football season.