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Platform

Playstation 2

 

Genre

Sports

 

Publisher

Electronic Arts

 

Developer

Budcat Creations

 

ESRB

E +10 (Everyone)

 

Released

February 20, 2007

 

 

- Satisfying rush of adrenaline on defense with hard-hitting action, especially over-the-wall jarring tackles

- Has both AFL and afl2 teams and their respective season modes

 

 

- Stripped down playbook doesn’t provide much chance for more than just rudimentary offensive and defensive strategies

- Doesn’t have the overall football spit and polish of the Madden franchise

- Offense isn’t as high-flying as the actual game of AFL football

 

 

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Arena Football: Road to Glory

Score: 7.5 / 10

 

It doesn’t seem to be a good sign for sustaining success in any sporting league when your team owners, from Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, to former Chicago Bears Super Bowl-winning coach Mike Ditka, to two-time Super Bowl champion quarterback John Elway to rock and roller Jon Bon Jovi to country crooner Tim McGraw, are more famous than the players that suit up on the field.

 

arena football road to glory          arena football road to glory

But here the Arena Football League is, celebrating its 20th season, a remarkable feat for a league that flies so low under the radar of the average sports fan in America. What’s not remarkable is the appearance of an AFL video game, courtesy of Electronic Arts. EA Sports, after all, has a game for practically every sport around the globe, including rugby and unbelievably even cricket. While Arena Football Road to Glory for the PS2 doesn’t bring the same level of overall immersion in the sport of arena football that Madden has in NFL football, it does deliver a good, solid game featuring the indoor version of football for that small niche market of AFL video-gamers.

 

Arena football is a much different style of football than the traditional National Football League variety. It takes place in the tiny confines of indoor arenas across 

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the U.S., on much shorter fields, with fewer players, and a slew of rules that favor a lot of scoring through high-soaring air attacks, practically abandoning the running aspect of football. Teams typically put up 50 or 60 points a game, which is sort of ironic, because it’s hard to score that many while playing Arena Football Road to Glory, a least until you really put in some time and effort learning the skills of a “favorite” team and its players (I put 

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“favorite” in quotes, because although there’s all 19 AFL teams to choose from and even the teams of the AFL’s “minor league” system, the afl2, there’s been so many AFL franchises over the 20 years of the league that have folded or moved to new cities and changed their name that it’s almost impossible to choose a “favorite” squad).

 

Those gamers unfamiliar with the rules of Arena Football would be wise to put in a few exhibition games to learn some of the unique dictating “laws” of the AFL, including the restrictive linebacker zone and wide receivers getting a “head start” before the ball is snapped. But if you’re a fan of the AFL, afl2 or just looking for a different brand of football gaming than what’s offered up in EA’s Madden franchise, Arena Football Road to Glory is a good title to huddle up with, although it’s slightly behind the times of football A.I. and visual superiority now brandished by the abovementioned Madden franchise.

 

A few years back, EA Sports introduced something into Madden similar the Arena Football Road to Glory’s Total Quarterback Control, giving the QB more realistic reactions, with the ability to better find passing lanes and run away from a pass rush. It’s not as evolved here, but it comes close to that Madden level of QB play. On defense, there’s too much of a reliance on the heavy-hitting tackling that deposits ball carriers on the other side of the wall that represents out of bounds. An overwhelming number of plays near the walls will result in these tackles being made, which can be satisfying in their violent effectiveness, but they eventually lose their adrenaline-flow-inducing ability due to their commonplace usage after playing through more than a few games.

 

arena football road to glory          arena football road to glory

 

Visually, Arena Football Road to Glory seems to have morphed from Madden 2004. It certainly can’t compare to the latest Madden in both overall graphics and animation (even considering some of the after-play animated player reactions), but again is sufficient for the AFL gamer.

 

My biggest disappointment came with the “Tecmo Bowl” playbook. Anybody that played the classic football title Tecmo Bowl will remember the small selection of plays available on both offense and defense. That’s basically the same sort of sparse playbook that’s accessible in Arena Football Road to Glory. There is simply a dearth of varied plays to select from.

 

A season mode is the best way to get the most from Arena Football Road to Glory, as you can play a full complement of a season for one of the 40 teams from both leagues. It’s definitely not as deep a season mode as you’ll get from Madden, and it lacks a dynasty mode, too, but for an AFL game, Arena Football Road to Glory provides enough with its season mode. There’s also a field goal kicking mini-game, although that’s not too exciting, because kicking isn’t that difficult at all. And online play is also a choice.

 

Arena Football Road to Glory certainly doesn’t bring the best visual performance to the virtual field, features a stripped-down, “Tecmo Bowl” playbook and has a surprisingly more difficult-to-crank-up offensive game than you might expect right out of the box (particularly considering the high-octane scoring that occurs in every single AFL contest). But Arena Football Road to Glory does truly capture, in true EA Sports form, the real essence of indoor football that will offer the average football gamer another choice to select from if they want a pigskin alternative to both of EA’s other more revered football franchises covering the NFL and college football.

 

- Lee Cieniawa

lcieniawa@armchjairempire.com

(May 21, 2007)

 

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