Reviews

Blitz: The League

Get ready for some smash-mouth football

We know a guy that plays Madden 07 to the exclusion of almost everything else. He plays it on Career mode, with himself cast as what is known as a 'quarterback'. He's quite content to sit there and watch all the plays that he's not involved in, which can often take some time. That's dedication right there; but what if, like us, you don't have the patience for that? What if you fancy a game of American football, but your only real point of contact with the sport is a late-night booze-up on Superbowl night? Well, then Blitz: The League is the game for you. Or maybe Blitz was the game for you; after all, it turned up on Xbox ages ago. And here's a list of worthwhile 360 additions that Midway have cooked up for us in that year: ... Erm, yes. Follow us to the next bit. We're sure we'll have thought something up by then.

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Nope. Can't do it. If you already own this game, you already own this game, if you see what we mean - there's no reason why you'd need to splash out again. It doesn't even look much better on 360. Hang on! This just in: apparently there's a few extra 'Clash' moves and a new commentator. Wow! It's t3h n3x7 g3n - n0w!!! You can practically feel that £50 levitating out of your wallet, can't you?

But, thing is, the original isn't backwards compatible, so if you don't own an Origi-Box, the laziness of the port won't matter to you - you'll just want to know if it's worth your time and money. The answer is yes - just.

LACES OUT
Only a rudimentary knowledge of American Football is needed. Blitz: The League cuts out all the nonsense and gives us what we want: an over-the-top, violent game of 'football'. While it's definitely worth your while sitting through the tutorials in order to get your bearings, once you've got a feel for it once, you'll never need to bother with them again - Blitz succeeds in turning American Football, an artificially complex and complicated sport, into a mindless arcade thump-'em-up.

Blitz regresses gridiron football to its very essence - a game where you've got to lob the ball up the field without getting slammed by your opponent. The teams on both side have been streamlined to eight on either side, giving you more room to manoeuvre. Of course, if a man with shoulder pads the size of Amarillo clatters into you, there's only one place you're going, and that's down, my friend. So that's where your Clash meter comes in. The Clash Meter is replenished by success in play - gaining yards when on offence, and 'sacking' the 'quarterbacks' when in defence, for example. Once you've got yourself some of that Clash Meter goodness, you can hold down l in play to briefly gain an advantage. On offence, this means you can slow the play down to bullet time, flicking the analogue stick in the direction of defensemen to skip past them, or inflicting a brutal hit on them with a press of a. In defence, on the other hand, it means you can inflict a dirty hit, a move which is hilariously over the top - on one occasion one of our defender's ripped an attacker's helmet clean off his head and then clunked him right over the bonce with it...

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EXTRA PADDING
In terms of gameplay strategy, that's more or less it - you can select from a number of plays, but even then you need never feel lost - a tap of the d-pad and the benefits of the run are explained to you. You get the feeling that Blitz is aimed at the redneck American who hollers at the TV but doesn't really understand the rules - and it's all the better for it.

Perhaps over here we're less affected by the loss of the NFL licence too - in fact, it's given Midway the freedom to run amok, allowing us to juice up our players with the old 'roids to avoid treatment room time, send prostitutes to opposing team's hotels (to wear them out before the game, naturally) and other such moral-dodging options.

It's just a shame that it's uneven like a carpet laid during an earthquake. Some offensive moves can be unstoppable under certain circumstances, and there's almost no skill required in punting home the button press-activated field goals - it's as simple as either it goes in or it doesn't go in, so don't be surprised if your life takes a Dan Marino in Ace Ventura-like twist after one close-up miss too many. And in single player, the rubber-band AI is constantly twanging itself right in your unamused face. But as blotchy as it is, it still remains as pure an arcade sports title as you can hope to find.

The verdict

Not just for fans of American Football - everyone can join in. If the sound of bone snapping makes you giggle, give it a go.

  • Aggressive, emotive and addictive
  • A lazy rehash of the Xbox game
  • Packed with too many cut-aways
7.7
Format
Xbox 360
Developer
Unknown
Publisher
Midway
Genre
Sports

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