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OS Scores Explained NFL Blitz Overview (Xbox 360)
Pros
2 vs. 2 Modes; Classic Gameplay; Bring A Guest Online
Cons
"G-rated" Blitz; Online Lag; Boring Single Player
Bottom Line
The NFL's personal conduct policy strips Blitz of its style and swagger.
7
out of 10
NFL Blitz REVIEW

NFL Blitz Review (Xbox 360)

Read about how we complete our reviews. You can check out the review process here, and then you can scope out the scoring guidelines and scoring rubric.

How badly do you want an online version of Blitz? For anyone who's still got a dusty cart or CD copy of Midway's NFL Blitz lying around the house, that question is the answer to whether or not EA Sports' 2012 remake is worth your $15.

Developer EA Tiburon had to tone down the original game's brutality to get it licensed by today's politically correct NFL, so unless you're pumped to finally take Blitz online, there's little reason to pick up this censored version of Sal Divita's and Mark Turmell's 1997 arcade hit.

Gameplay

"Coverage sack" gets a new meaning in NFL Blitz, when all three receivers can be shoved to the turf before the quarterback has time to get the ball out of his hands.

With 30-yard first downs, easily beaten offensive lines and a complete lack of pass interference, offensive coordinators must string together laterals, flea flickers and zig-zag routes to find open passing lanes.

While it's easy to abuse AI teams with basic plays like "Da Bomb," Blitz becomes a much more strategic game against other humans. In the hands of skilled users, NFL Blitzplays a more defensively minded game than even EA Sports' Madden NFL series.

Get four human players together who know how to shove receivers and dive tackle, and matches of Blitz turn into defensive slugfests full of field goals, punts and safeties. Blocked kicks are not only possible, but common! Fumbles occur frequently; the wild, unpredictable gameplay is a part of NFL Blitz's legacy, just as much as the classic "on-fire" powerup and scrambling jump passes.




Unfortunately, some of the new powerups like "instant fire," are unbalanced. Walking over a randomly placed "fire" icon puts your team "on fire" until a sack or a first down is earned by the other team. Powerup icons regenerate about once per drive, making it far too easy to spend the majority of the game "on fire."

Unlike EA's other football titles, speed isn't the only attribute that matters in NFL Blitz. Track stars like Jacoby Ford or Mike Wallace are easily knocked off their routes and tend to drop balls following big hits. Stronger, more-skilled receivers like Antonio Gates or Larry Fitzgerald power through shoves during routes and hold onto the ball when hit, making them much more valuable than pure speedsters. 

On defense, a slower, more-skilled cornerback like Charles Woodson will get physical with his man and make aggressive plays on the ball, while a fast, low-skill corner like Antonio Cromartie struggles to cover routes and is easily fooled by laterals and special moves.

Presentation

NFL Blitz used to be one of the loudest machines in the arcade -- a bedlam of yelling, taunting and full-body impacts.

Commissioner Roger Goodell and his "No Fun League" have decided to ban much of the unnecessary roughness and unsportsmanlike conduct that's made the Blitz series famous. For the first time in video game history, having a league license actually hurts a sports game's fun factor.

Without trash talk during play, the fields sound oddly quiet. Late hits have been disabled, as players walk around peacefully after the whistle like they're trying to avoid getting fined. Pro wrestling moves like Diamond Dallas Page's "Diamond Cutter" and Hulk Hogan's "Leg Drop" have been replaced with tame, boring tackling animations. EA Sports' "G-rated" version of NFL Blitz sacrifices the violence and humor of the original titles for the sake of NFL logos and uniforms.
 


While Blitz's stadiums are colorful and detailed, teams cannot select their uniforms, creating kit clashes when two similarly-colored teams take the field. 

Despite the "high definition" makeover, NFL Blitz looks and sounds boring. With no rain or snow effects, the game lacks flair or graphical pop. 

Game Modes

Aside from "Play Now" exhibition games, "Blitz Gauntlet" is the only offline mode. Players select a fantasy squad of NFL superstars and progress through a ladder of NFL teams. The rosters used in this mode are severely outdated (San Diego is the highest-rated team), weakening some of its appeal. Boss battles against the cartoon "Hot Dog Team" or "Cheesehead Team" are mildly entertaining, but challenging the computer quickly becomes a bore. Running the "Gauntlet" solo just isn't much fun, especially when most of the mode's unlockables are easily purchased in the Blitz Store. 

Buying out the Store is harder than it should be, as "Blitz Bucks" can only be earned by completing online games. Since Blitz doesn't award a correct payout during online games with a dropped connection, it can be frustrating trying to earn coins when 90 percent of the online population quits before the final whistle. Gaming with friends is the best way to avoid quitters, but you'll still run into lots of sore losers during 2 vs. 2 cooperative play.

Aside from the standard online exhibition games, there's a "Blitz Battle" ranking board, which attempts to mimic a virtual arcade scene by dividing users into state, regional and national rankings. Starting at the bottom of your home-state pool, you must win games to gradually move up the rankings one division at a time. "Blitz Battles" can go both ways, so losing too much will result in a demotion to a lesser division. 

If you grow tired of the default NFL squads, Blitz's "Elite League" lets you build a fantasy team of NFL players. Each completed Elite League game pays out Blitz Bucks, with the amount determined by your team's on-field performance. Blitz Bucks can be used to buy card packs, which contain random NFL players and field powerups. 

Elite League remains fun until you reach the higher ranks, where virtually every team is using Michael Vick and Calvin Johnson. Some sort of salary cap would have made the Elite League more strategic. Instead, every team ends up using the same star players, killing all roster-building strategy.
 


Final Thoughts

EA Sports' slower, gentler, quieter Blitz lacks the razzle dazzle of the original games. Blitz's online experience is enjoyable, but it can't make up for the neutered hitting and zip-lipped players.

Blitz would likely sell less copies without the NFL license, but the fun factor would be much higher minus the NFL's content restrictions. There's good gameplay to be found here if players can tolerate the censorship, but friends are needed for most modes, as this Blitz is built for multiplayer gaming.

Visuals: Loading screens featuring half-naked cheerleader are OK with the NFL, but an elbow drop after the whistle is crossing the line of good taste? C'MON, MAN!

Audio: Even the commentary is toned down, with "Midway Sports announcer," Tim Kitzrow, delivering a subdued, mild-mannered script. Needs more BOOMSHAKALAKA!

Controls: Icon passing is a welcome option, but the lack of fully customizable controls means gamers are stuck with an awkward default button layout.

Online: Slight input delay affects most online matches. Lag isn't a game-killer, but it zaps some of the fun from the online experience.

Learning Curve: Series veterans will be lateralling and dive tackling with ease, but Blitz newcomers may have trouble adjusting to the exaggerated game rules. The in-game instruction manual won't help newer players understand advanced Blitz tactics.

Lasting Value: NFL Blitz continues its tradition as a boring single player experience. Thankfully, local or online friends can join together for four-player mayhem.

Score: 7.0 (Good)


NFL Blitz Videos
Member Comments
# 1 aimiami @ 01/07/12 11:47 AM
its definatley worth the 15 dollars. But i dont see what EA or the NFL is accomplishing by not letting it be dirty.
Trust me the NFL is gettting there message across by "protecting players"
 
# 2 Earl1963 @ 01/07/12 11:52 AM
game is still fun without the after the whistle crap.
 
# 3 TDenverFan @ 01/07/12 12:09 PM
Shame the NFL cracked down on the hard hitting fun...
 
# 4 newtonfb @ 01/07/12 12:35 PM
game is fine...i just wish there was a difference in players...Tom Brady and Tavaris Jackson....Both play the exact same.

Two things Id be real happy with game....
1. Player unique with ratings
2. Weather.....would love to play in snow and rain
 
# 5 Earl1963 @ 01/07/12 02:33 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by newtonfb
game is fine...i just wish there was a difference in players...Tom Brady and Tavaris Jackson....Both play the exact same.

Two things Id be real happy with game....
1. Player unique with ratings
2. Weather.....would love to play in snow and rain
Isn't there a code for weather?
 
# 6 jyoung @ 01/07/12 03:06 PM
There are three types of weather in the game:

Day
Twilight
Night

No rain or snow.
 
# 7 Earl1963 @ 01/07/12 03:23 PM
I want to play a night game, whats the code?
 
# 8 jyoung @ 01/07/12 03:49 PM
Codes for non-day games:

NFL, NFL, Yard Marker (Twilight)
NFL, Whistle, Yard Marker (Night)

You have to unlock them in the Blitz Store before you can use them.
 
# 9 Millennium @ 01/07/12 03:57 PM
How are unlockables in this games? As many as Jam?

Sent from my Galaxy Nexus using Tapatalk
 
# 10 jyoung @ 01/07/12 04:22 PM
There's definitely a ton of stuff to unlock.

Secret Codes
Player Cards (think Madden Ultimate Team)
Powerup Cards
Secret Teams (Hot Dog Team, Pirate Team, etc.)

I've been playing nonstop since Wednesday and still only have about 60% of the player cards.
 
# 11 Earl1963 @ 01/07/12 09:45 PM
I'm addicted to this game. Going to play some after the Lions game.
 
# 12 JeffMorris @ 01/09/12 02:41 PM
After reading this review, I'm not sure how you gave this game a rating of "7 of 10", or "Good" as it's subtitled. I have no issue with you calling this game a 7 of 10 (or any other number, it's all opinion) but your review is mostly negative and does not reflect the score you are issuing.

The core of your review is as follows: explaining the gameplay (neutral), complaining about the classic Blitz omissions due to the "No-Fun-League" (negative), lack of jersey selection (negative), boring offline modes (negative), boring tackle animations (negative), boring sounds (negative), boring graphics (negative), lack of weather effects (negative), frustrating Blitz Bucks (negative), frustrating online play due to quitters (not the game's fault, per se, but this potentially negates one of the few positives - online play - that you mention), and Elite League (positive, that is until you've played it for any significant amount of time... once again negating the promise of a core feature of the game). Your final thoughts fit this tone, too - toned down commentary, awkward controls, slight lag, difficult learning curve, poor in-game manual, boring single-player experience. Aside from stating that this game has detailed stadiums and makes for a decent online experience if lag isn't an issue and you have friends who won't quit, how can you say that this is a "good" game?
 
# 13 Earl1963 @ 01/09/12 06:22 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffMorris
After reading this review, I'm not sure how you gave this game a rating of "7 of 10", or "Good" as it's subtitled. I have no issue with you calling this game a 7 of 10 (or any other number, it's all opinion) but your review is mostly negative and does not reflect the score you are issuing.

The core of your review is as follows: explaining the gameplay (neutral), complaining about the classic Blitz omissions due to the "No-Fun-League" (negative), lack of jersey selection (negative), boring offline modes (negative), boring tackle animations (negative), boring sounds (negative), boring graphics (negative), lack of weather effects (negative), frustrating Blitz Bucks (negative), frustrating online play due to quitters (not the game's fault, per se, but this potentially negates one of the few positives - online play - that you mention), and Elite League (positive, that is until you've played it for any significant amount of time... once again negating the promise of a core feature of the game). Your final thoughts fit this tone, too - toned down commentary, awkward controls, slight lag, difficult learning curve, poor in-game manual, boring single-player experience. Aside from stating that this game has detailed stadiums and makes for a decent online experience if lag isn't an issue and you have friends who won't quit, how can you say that this is a "good" game?
I never understood OS reviews, so I never read them anymore. IGN is where I go for my gaming reviews because I usually agree with them over any other site. Anyways, all that matters is I love the game.
 
# 14 jyoung @ 01/09/12 07:02 PM
Great multiplayer and "Classic Gameplay" are the main reasons it still scored a 7, even with the presentation flaws.

Gameplay trumps all, and Blitz has great gameplay. It's also a blast to play with friends, both cooperatively and competitively.

Sure, it could've been much better, but it's still a good game.

I'm glad I picked it up for $15. I've probably played close to 100 games already and I'm still having lots of fun.
 

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