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NFL Blitz – still ridiculous, still awesome

- February 8th, 2012

Tom Brady might be feeling a little blue following the Patriots’ Superbowl loss, but between his three Superbowl rings, millions of dollars, and fiercely supportive supermodel girlfriend, I’m guessing he’ll be ok. But where does that leave you?

What are you doing to fill that void, now that football is done for the year? One possible fix is NFL Blitz, which has recently been given an overhaul and ported to home consoles.

nflblitz7

You probably remember Blitz, or at the very least, recall it screaming at you from the back corner of your 7-11. The over-the-top, exaggerated and cartoonish late-nineties gridiron quarter eater from the makers of NBA Jam differentiated itself from simulation-style football games such as the Madden series, and succeeded for the same reason NBA Jam literally raked in a billion dollars worth of quarters—it was simple, fast-paced, and crap-tons of fun.

While some signature elements have sadly been removed from the console reboot (available for $15 on PSN and Xbox Live) Blitz still stands as one of the most addictive and satisfying downloadable sports games in recent memory, and now offers online play. And there’s still a ton of unlockable content including secret characters, and codes to power up your players and make things even more ridiculous (yes, there’s ‘big head’ mode) so rest assured the Blitz vibe is intact.

For the uninitiated: While basic-to-intermediate strategy elements exist in Blitz (you pick plays between downs, and may call audibles or set a receiver in motion before the snap, and learning receivers’ pass routes is essential), it is very much a stripped-down, juiced-up version of football. Only 7 players a side, 30 yards for a first down, no running plays, no penalties—just throwing bombs and bashing heads, and abusing your Turbo button. It’s fantastic.

This isn’t exactly the NFL Blitz of old, though. For starters, late hits, WWE-style leg drops and elbow smashes, and player trash talking have all been removed – from Blitz!! I know… These changes were mandated by the NFL, now increasingly concerned with player safety, and while their intentions are good, it means that the Blitz reboot unquestionably loses a little of the original’s obnoxious charm.

That said, it scratches the same itch. There are still dozens of tackle animations and bone-crunching sound effects and lots of genuinely funny play-by-play commentary (“The defender’s got to feed his man a little ‘elbow pie’ off the line to keep him honest, Tim”) and Blitz remains violent and theatrical as well as fast-paced and funny. It’s still solid arcade sports, best enjoyed with a friend in a crowd – you’ll just have to provide the trash talk this time.

4 out of 5

‘Side Mission Chris’ Vandergaag loves hearing from Canadian gamers, both the core and the casual. Find him on Twitter: @ButnoSeriously

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