NFL Blitz Pro

NFL Blitz Pro
Game: NFL Blitz Pro
Platform: Xbox
Studio: Midway
Rating: 7/10

The Game Company Description: NFL Blitz PRO is the exclusive, 11-on-11 licensed smash-mouth football videogame experience, delivering a new a sophisticated and online feature set combined with its proprietary blend of lightning-fast, adrenaline-style gameplay proving NFL Blitz PRO is updated, improved and in-depth football.

NFL Blitz has been reinvented, without leaving behind the edginess that has made Midway Sports the leader and only year-on-year successful publisher of extreme-style league licensed sports videogames. For the first time, NFL Blitz Pro will showcase authentic 11-on-11 gameplay with realistic rules, features and online play, while still providing its propriety blend of fast and furious adrenaline-style football action.

Look: The Xbox version is tighter looking. It has sharper edges and a better, more constant frame rate. The player models are smoother and the bodies don’t have the jaggies. The field still proves a task however with some areas showing up better than others. It’s still better on the Xbox if you are one who digs good graphics.

Most are hulking behemoths which fits Blitz Pro. Unfortunately these are the sorts of player models you’d think looked good a few years ago not today. Madden and ESPN Football has upped the anti on graphics and everyone else is eating their dust.

The cut scenes range from boring to hilarious. The player’s faces look poor the closer you get and the coach is either happy or mad it doesn’t seem to matter. The best is the cheerleaders who seem to be rubbing their breasts as the slowly slide their hands from their breasts to their waists. That’s new. During the cut scenes of on the field action there is some clipping and the lines on the field are extremely jagged.

Feel: Midway goes with the 11-on-11 style for the first time and the 10 yard first downs the whole pro shebang. Blitz Pro goes for the real NFL feel while going with the same wrestling atmosphere with or without the penalties.

There are many aspects of Blitz Pro that you don’t get in other sim games. There are an inordinate amount of shots you take that stop your progress. Even without penalties it’s hard to catch a pass, especially when the defense is taking it the other way for a touchdown. It got to the point where you can’t throw a pass without the defense hawking it. It doesn’t matter because the running game is where you win.

Don’t worry, even if the defense is stifling you their offense will more than likely make up for it with their mistakes. The AI is off base on many plays. Once when I was playing Tampa Bay they’d go for a fake punt on four down and twenty. It made absolutely no sense.

There are some good aspects. The new franchise mode is well done even though there are some big flaws. You can trade, manage your roster, sign free agents, go through a draft and create a player. What is best is how you earn money for your wins. This doesn’t sound intriguing until you create some amazing player and you can put him on your team or pay to upgrade player’s stats. I hope Sega takes a page from Midway’s book.

What I hate about Blitz Pro’s franchise mode is how you can’t dump players to pick up cash in your budget. It’s silly. You have a cap number no matter what and can’t do anything about it except win games. Also the cost of upgrading a player is beyond belief so don’t rely on this to make your team great. I couldn’t sign one free agent because of the ridiculous cost. Starting as the Buffalo Bills there was $30,000 to start with; who the heck am I going to sign with that? Nobody and its worse when you can’t dump some bums to open some cap room as in ESPN Football.

There are some interesting unlockables, but they hardly add to the game especially if you are a diehard football fan.

Hear: This is easily the worst commentary I’ve heard. The discussion is sparse and unfunny. One time they were pitching some fake product like rubber-bands and it was absurd if not annoying. The dialogue during the loading screen about the team names and who would be who (A titan versus a giant) is embarrassing.

Frankly: No one gets more excited than me when a football game gets to the office. I rip that cellophane off and I’m at it. I don’t even read the instructions, its play as you go. I’m practically foaming at the mouth. Unfortunately I quickly lost interest in NFL Blitz Pro. ESPN has revolutionized football sim games and NFL Blitz Pro tried to have it’s cake and eat it to. The arcade style is what attracted us and it seems they may have strayed to far from that formula. If you must have the game and you have two consoles grab the Xbox version if for nothing more than a graphical upgrade.

+ Ralphie Wright

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