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Platform

Xbox 360

 

Genre

Sports

 

Publisher

Midway

 

Developer

Midway

 

ESRB

M (Mature)

 

Released

October 13, 2008

 

 

- Breaking bones provides big thrills
- Ability to ‘juice up’ players
- Story mode provides a lot of laughs

 

 

- Sorry excuse for football
- Terrible AI
- Poor graphics
- Lack of co-op story mode

 

 

Review: Madden NFL 08 (360)

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Blitz: The League II

Score: 5.0 / 10

 

The Blitz series has always been about doing everything big and their latest game is no exception. With over the top hits, big plays and bigger injuries, Blitz 2: The League is Madden meets Rollerball. Unfortunately, while beating up defenceless players to a pulp is fun, the lack of depth in game play and graphics prevents this game from ever getting onto the field with the big boys.

 

blitz the league ii          blitz the league ii

 

As the first two-way (offensive and defensive) player in the history of the league, your character has the chance to be something special. The top team has traded up to take him first in the draft, but in a shocking decision, Franchise spurns their

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advances and announces that he will only play for his hometown team. It turns out spitting in the Commissioner’s face makes your player some powerful enemies and the story takes off from there. Through a press conference mini-game, you pick your player’s positions and add-on some extra skill points to help define who he is as a player. Without revealing any details, Blitz 2 plays into so many stereotypes it’s

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impossible not to be engrossed as your player makes his way to primetime. Frank Caliendo and Jay Mohr do a good job at reprising their John Madden and Bob Sugar roles narrating throughout the game.

While the story may keep some players interested, it is impossible to overlook the fact that Blitz 2 is a poor football game. On offence there is a distinct dearth to the amount of plays to choose from in terms of number and variety and while playing I’ve had my character step out of bounds numerous times without any whistle blowing. On defence having only seven players on the field means that missing an open field tackle gives the AI a guaranteed touchdown. Also, sacking the quarterback is near impossible at the outset. Anytime you approach the quarterback the computer enters clash mode and instantly avoids the hit. Kickoff returns are also poorly done, simply flick back and forth on the control stick and watch the AI mirror your actions exactly with every single opposition player while you’re running upfield. Flick fast enough and it looks like an epileptic ballet.

It seems that everything that separates Blitz from a conventional football game is only ½ done and the slow motion ‘clash mode’ is at the top of the list. If a player is performing a stiff arm or a juke in clash mode, he cannot be tackled by anyone else in the meantime. Adding to the disaster is that the rest of the defence doesn’t pursue while this is going on, they simply stand around and watch the play until the animation is over – leaving the ball carrier five yards down the field and virtually untouchable until the end zone.

 

blitz the league ii          blitz the league ii

 

Before the game you have the option to ‘juice up’ your players, however the results are barely noticed and there are little to no consequences for putting your QB on a pill that has a labelled 72 hour erection as a side effect. The “girlfriends” screen that the game provides is merely a still shot of random characters that you have met. And with all of the great hits that the game provides, there are only two controls in replay, pause and restart. A lot of great ideas simply aren’t followed through; leaving the game bland and making players wonder if they are missing something.

Graphically, the same sad story continues. Character models are poorly designed and look awkward running. Every so often the screen gets invaded by a giant two dimensional blob when another player steps in front of the fixed framed camera. Look to the sidelines and you’ll see 50+ identical players kneeling down on the sidelines who don’t move for the entire game.


By far the best thing that Blitz has going for it is the injuries. The gruesome CSI-esque cut scenes when a player rips a muscle or breaks a bone are interesting and very pretty to see. Better yet the mini games that involve pumping an injured player full of stimulants or popping a bone back in place are fun and infrequent enough to never get old.

Although Blitz 2 can be played online, I see very little reason why you would want to. Also for any younger players, there is a family option that allows parents to tone down the violence and blood during game play. But since bloodshed and violence are the only reasons to play the game in the first place, why would you?

Beyond the storyline, there is not one thing that is truly well executed in this game. If Blitz tried to keep its original tone as an arcade sports game a lot of these faults could have been overlooked, but in trying to make a serious sports video game they made it impossible to do so. Add up all its faults and Blitz 2 feels like a game that was released about six months ahead of schedule. The graphics need refining; the AI needs a serious upgrade and the game play has to be tweaked in more than a few places. The cut scenes in story mode are the only reason to play this game, but once it’s over with, there’s no reason to continue.

- Karol Kudyba

(November 3, 2008)

 

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