Wednesday, February 29, 2012

DLC Domination Part 8: NFL Blitz 2012





To me, being a reviewer can be troublesome. You generally want to stick with games you specialize in and review games that are mostly easy to approach to the modern gamer. I usually want to review stuff like action games, platformers, and RPG’s, since I think those are easier to approach. I have however, been very biased toward a couple of genres like shooters and sport centric games, and this year I want to change all that. Like I said in my WWE All Stars review, I don’t hate them, but they come out in hordes year after year and it’s just really hard to find the gems among them. You can of course go with the always solid (depending on who you ask) Call of Duties and Battlefields if you want to find a shooter worth your time, but sport-centric games are a little tougher to sift through. The sports genre usually comes out every year, like Guitar Hero did, with just some minor tweaks and update player rosters. Not that seeing what we can do with technology and how realistic we can make everything isn’t amazing because it is, but they usually get shoved to the side and are the most common games you can find at any used game store. They usually take up an entire shelf and are probably sent to shooting ranges to replace clay pigeons. There are some truly great sports games, but they are usually because they add some zany over-the-top and flashy elements to them. Some of my favorites are the Mario Kart series for racing, Mario Tennis for tennis games, and for football, you can probably pick up Mutant League Football for the Genesis for cheap nowadays. What made games like Mutant League Football so fun was that it played like a sports game, but you could do stuff like beat the tar out of the opponent and if you didn’t like the ref, you could just waste him also. Or there is the ever so fan favorite, Tecmo Super Bowl that people still consider to be one of the greatest sports games of all time. Even Midway, before they got canned, in the past few years came out with the fan favorite and over-the-top NFL Blitz and NBA Jam series that were more arcade in style and were really fun. The series then had a bit of a downfall when Midway had some issues and weren’t in their stride. They weren’t the big and strong athletes that they ha been, and had become more like the awkward drunk person at the party. EA, being the football license gunners they are, took the NLF license and have in the past year or so tried to bring back the two sports series to their prime. This is where today’s review comes in, NLF Blitz 2012. Since I already made this opening paragraph longer than I should have, let’s get started with no witty remark or stupid pun. 

The gameplay is a more stylized football game that is easier to get into than say, the bigger budgeted Madden series. For a downloadable game, there are a huge number of modes that you can play through. The main mode is called Blitz Gauntlet where you face off against multiple football teams and then once in awhile face off against some “boss” team that looks like more hardcore football fans instead of um, an actual football team. There is a free play mode where you can play against an AI team or a human team with a two or more player mode. There is also online play where you can play against different people online, and yes, it’s that self-explanatory. There is also a “franchise mode”-like mode called Elite League where if you have played the franchise mode in the Madden games, it works just like that. It is basically where instead of every game you play resulting in the same like always, it is different every time, like someday your star player might be the best thing since peanut butter and jelly being put between slices of bread, or he might just suck, like Hollywood thinking we would need a film based off of the Three Stooges. I however, just like to play free play and Blitz League since I find those modes the best. If you are not a fan of all the tiny little multi-tasking assignments you had to do in the Madden series, you really don’t have to worry about that stuff here since again, it is more of akin to an arcade game, which I think is fun. The actual gameplay is pretty much the same, you choose a play, execute it, get to the goal line, make a touch down, and then defend against the other team and make sure they don’t score. I don’t really need to explain the football lingo and different plays that you can pull off since to be honest, I am not a huge fan of football and don’t closely follow all the strategic plays that go into the actual sport. 

Graphically, it looks fine. It could have used some of the detailed work that goes into the NBA games that have really detailed graphics and such. They are just a tiny bit dated by nowadays standards, but I bet EA didn’t want to give a downloadable title a huge budget. The music is not fully memorable, but it does get you pumped when you see both of the teams. I also like how you don’t have to worry about every single player’s situation, like salary caps, all the little stats that every player has, and all the little things that turns me off to the bigger Madden titles. The theme here with this game is “easy to get into”. It really is a game that everyone can get into and pick up without the knowledge of past games. Personally, I like that. I think a game should be able to be picked up by as wide of an audience as possible and not just some hardcore demographic. Even though EA probably does make a good amount of change with the Madden franchise, I don’t think it is as easy to pick up as say, Mario or Tetris. Don’t get me wrong, seeing how realistic we can make video games is amazing, but sometimes, we do not want that. Anyway, this kind of topic is for another day so let’s move on.

What could possibly be wrong with this game? Well, as arcade and over-the-top this game already is, I felt like EA played it safe. I mean, when I think over the top, I again think of Mutant League Football or Backbreaker. I remember playing NFL Blitz back in the day and being able to tackle players after the play, making your own character, and other things. This game does have some fun cheats like the usual “big head” mode, but I think they could have gone further and made it even more crazy, with super moves or other things that could have been implemented into the game. I remember making a really fat football player in the past games and the other team couldn’t knock him down and it was really funny to see them try to take him out. I also think there are some minor balance issues like when trying to do one kind of play, I got knocked down by the other team before I could throw the ball. It got annoying since the plays don’t even last that long in the first place. I also wish there was a tutorial mode or training mode since it took me a bit to know what the heck the controls were, and it seems like sports games don’t want to do that. It bugs me that certain game series can’t take the time to make a proper tutorial or training mode. That is pretty much it for complaints. 

At first, I was not a big fan of this game, I just downloaded it out of personal curiosity to see how good this game was. Due to there not being a tutorial mode, I just couldn’t get into the game. I then played for a few hours and started to finally get into it and had a lot of fun. I even played this game with my dad and he had never played a football video game, and almost beat me. I can highly recommend this downloadable title. 15 dollars might be a bit much for a downloadable football game, but trust me, you will have a lot of fun playing with friends in this game. For the first football title I have played in years, it was really fun. Maybe there is a future for more arcade-style sports games and I support this movement.

This game gets an 8 out of 10

No comments: