hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

NFL Blitz

Review: NFL Blitz

11:30 AM on 01.27.2012 // Samit Sarkar

The long-in-the-works high-definition revival of NFL Blitz has finally arrived, less than three months after EA officially announced it last fall. It’s an idea that gamers of all stripes could get behind; after all, you didn’t need to be a football fan to enjoy the original Blitz at the turn of the millennium.

Fans had just cause to be apprehensive, though. EA’s most recent downloadable arcade football game, 2009’s Madden NFL Arcade, was a mediocre offering that struggled to justify its $15 price tag. And the publisher’s previous arcade-classic revival, NBA Jam, didn’t exactly set the world on fire when it launched the following autumn. It’s difficult to recapture the magic of bygone years, but EA Tiburon might just have managed it this time.

1

NFL Blitz (PlayStation Network, Xbox Live Arcade [reviewed])
Developer: EA Tiburon
Publisher: EA Sports
Released: January 3, 2012 (PSN) / January 4, 2012 (XBLA)
MSRP: $14.99 (PSN) / 1200 Microsoft Points (XBLA)

In almost every respect, the game plays like NFL Blitz as you remember it, for better and (sometimes) worse. Yes, it’s a shame that the NFL’s recent focus on the dangers of concussions has forced EA to excise the original Blitz’s post-play antics. But while you can’t perform elbow drops after tackles anymore, anything goes until the whistle blows -- and it’s still funny, over a decade later, to see a linebacker deliver a powerbomb to a wideout. It’s also as frustrating as ever to dive at someone from behind, or grab him and spin him around, subsequently flinging him forward for a few extra yards.

Almost all the old animations have returned, which unfortunately means that players still have no sideline logic -- you can’t manually step out of bounds before enabling a cheat code, but CPU receivers never go out of their way to keep their feet in-bounds. And the game still endows defenders with superhuman speed, even without turbo, so they can catch up to receivers who might otherwise have scampered into the end zone on a long passing play. (Really, Vince Wilfork shouldn’t be able to outrun Hakeem Nicks.)

2

In fact, there’s not a whole lot of player differentiation to speak of. EA didn’t even account for left-handed quarterbacks, so Michael Vick and Tim Tebow are both righties as far as Blitz is concerned. And while teams’ home and away jerseys exist, users have no control over them, so games will sometimes feature both teams in their home colors or road whites. Players do actually have ratings in four areas, but the only place you can view them is within the Elite League mode. And I didn’t have more trouble defeating supposedly better teams, or less against worse teams. I’m guessing that’s a function of the designers’ desire to ensure that games ultimately come down to the skill of the players holding the controllers, not the ones on the virtual gridiron. Balance always had paramount importance in Midway’s arcade classics, and this game is no different.

One welcome concession to modern football games is the inclusion of an option for icon passing, so you can throw to receivers with the face buttons instead of having to switch between them with the left stick. Today’s gamers also expect more out of an arcade title than exhibition games, and NFL Blitz is no slouch in that department. For a $15 downloadable release, this game is packed with content. The single-player Blitz Gauntlet mode lets you customize a team for a three-tier ladder. Each tier includes games with three NFL teams and a boss battle -- with power-ups scattered on the field -- against a squad of fantasy characters, like horses, hot dogs, or zombies. There are twelve different characters, so you’ll have to complete the Gauntlet four times if you want to unlock them all.

The online package is even more impressive. EA has included a trading-card mode, Elite League, which resembles the Ultimate Team setups in simulation franchises like Madden and FIFA. Here, you create a team and are given a smattering of cards featuring decent players. Completing online games earns you Blitz Bucks, which you can spend on a wide variety of content, such as card packs to improve your team, or power-ups and cheats to help yourself out online. (Thankfully, you earn Bucks even when you play poorly and lose.) Elite League also offers Risk and Reward games, in which you can lay cards on the line and try to take some from your opponent.

3

NFL Blitz’s online co-op offerings are similarly robust. You can simply jump into a co-op game with up to three different friends, including a guest on the couch with you. For those who want a deeper experience, there’s the Blitz Teams mode, in which you create a team -- with a custom name, logo, and banner -- and invite a buddy, whether local guest or online friend, to be the co-owner. Then it’s up to the two of you to take your Blitz Team to the top of local, regional, and national leaderboards. None of the games I played were lag-free, but the latency wasn’t so bad as to be a hindrance. EA has gone the extra yard online, with a feature set that rivals full retail games.

But Blitz was always meant to be played with friends in the same room, and by bringing back all of the fast-paced thrills of the old games, EA has not only evoked nostalgia, but rekindled ancient rivalries and their attendant arcane rules. Back in the day, my high-school buddies and I played NFL Blitz 2000 all the time, with an important twist: “no wimps.” That is, we always had to go for it on 4th down, and we always had to go for two after a touchdown. I played NFL Blitz with some of the same friends last week, and once I reminded them of “no wimps,” it was as if nothing had changed in a dozen years.



THE VERDICT

8

NFL Blitz - Reviewed by Samit Sarkar
Charming - Not perfect, but it's easy to ignore the rough spots when faced with so many engaging design decisions and entertaining moments. A memorable game that's hard not to like and recommend to others.

See more reviews or the Destructoid score guide.

Samit Sarkar,
 Follow Blog + disclosure

This blog submitted to our editor via our Community Blogs, and then it made it to the home page! You can follow community members and vote up their blogs - support each other so we can promote a more diverse and deep content mix on our home page.



 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our moderators, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding *.disqus.com to your whitelists.

 Add your impressions

 Quickposts
Status updates from C-bloggers

Jed Whitaker avatarJed Whitaker
I have never farted. #TrueLies
From Must Git Gud avatarFrom Must Git Gud
Getting banned soon!
VIRGO avatarVIRGO
Here's to hoping Nintendo makes mobile games as compelling as Pac-Man 256...
ScreamAid avatarScreamAid
I hate when a new game comes out and D-toid gets flooded with stuff about a game I don't know anything about and I'm just stuck here, sitting with myself and my freeware games...
Dreggsao avatarDreggsao
It is the middle of the night and Yu-Gi-OH is on TV. Are children with insomnia so common these days?
SeymourDuncan17 avatarSeymourDuncan17
My hair's done did and my Teddie cosplay is officially ready for next weekend's Comic-Con! Do I impress you, Sensei? [img]http://i.imgur.com/ZNlOmMf.jpg[/img]
ShadeOfLight avatarShadeOfLight
Replaying Tales of Symphonia for the first time in years, I only just now realized how random the plot is. Our goals are decided at Lloyd's whimsy, while we get major revelations just 'whenever'. Still a good game, but I'm proud to be #TeamBatenKaitos.
Dr Mel avatarDr Mel
Question Time! What's YOUR MGSV Helicopter music?
GoofierBrute avatarGoofierBrute
Today at work, I made a reference to the DK Rap in one of my news pieces. Any day that I get to do that is a good day.
gajknight avatargajknight
Everyone's playing MGSV...and I've just arrived in Skellige in The Witcher 3. At this rate, I'll get 'round to MGSV when the PS7 arrives.
RadicalYoseph avatarRadicalYoseph
Currently learning Little Trinketry from Valiant Hearts: The Great War on piano. [youtube]http://youtu.be/40fulS_olU8[/youtube]
Retrofraction avatarRetrofraction
MGSV is literally the Skyrim of stealth. 15 hours 3%... #Sneaker'sdelight
ThinMatrix avatarThinMatrix
The Kickstarter campaign is now live for Socuwan – the quirky indie MMORPG created by the community, for the community! https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1465468930/socuwan-the-community-driven-indie-mmorpg
ScreamAid avatarScreamAid
Excellent video game OST's for the week (no particular order): 1) Super Stickman Golf 2 2) Lethal League 3) Crypt of the Necrodancer
DanteKinkade avatarDanteKinkade
Final season of Continuum is on tonight, featuring time traveling solders in power armor. I can't wait! https://carl9000.files.wordpress.com/2014/06/c15.jpg?w=842
Kallo avatarKallo
That moment when you look at your backlog of games...and it looks back and you and says "What the hell man? you have over 100 games on this list!". I feel guilty...
Steven Hansen avatarSteven Hansen
Idris Elba needs to be James Bond & heck to anyone who thinks otherwise
RadicalYoseph avatarRadicalYoseph
We need a Dtoid RPG that stars Mr Destructoid, Gardevoir, Macho Man Randy Savage, and MATT DAMON. The hub zone will be Nekro's dungeon.
Cynic without a Cause avatarCynic without a Cause
In the middle of discovering a bunch of Hirasawa Susumu's non-film related work. Currently listening to Planet Roll Call. Fantastic album!
Mike Wallace avatarMike Wallace
*Looks at Battle.net* League of Storm Heroes. Magic: The Hearthstone. Diablo. Starcraft. World of Warcraft. Oh, pay $10 to unlock Tychus. ...Guys, is Blizzard evil? I mean really, despicably, EA-level evil?
more quickposts


Contest!


destructoid's previous coverage:
NFL Blitz


View all:powered by:  MM.Elephant

Ads on destructoid may be purchased from:



Please contact Crave Online, thanks!



Seriously

Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme


Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo



Back to Top


We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -