NFL Blitz Review

NFL Blitz contains the same shallow fun and aggravating flaws that have existed in the franchise for more than 14 years.

'

More than a decade ago, when NFL Blitz first burst onto the scene, it represented a preposterous exaggeration of professional football. With the strobe-like flash of its overworked scoreboard, quarterbacks routinely throwing for 400 yards, and running backs relegated to pass blockers or short-legged receivers, it was a sharp contrast to sims.

Who could have foreseen that this arcade-style football game would be so prescient? NFL Blitz's wide-open offensive systems and comparatively small defensive impact have since been infused in the real sport. And though the latest NFL Blitz is virtually a mirror image of its forebearers, it lacks the savage spark that embodied the original games. It's not just the removal of late hits that's the problem. Aside from online play and a couple of new modes, NFL Blitz is identical to games released more than a decade ago, and the lack of modern ideas makes this feel like a dusty relic. NFL Blitz is showing its age, but the excitement inherent in a hard-fought competitive match still makes this exciting.

NFL football has a rule book hundreds of pages long that no mere mortal could dare hope to decipher. In NFL Blitz, the rules have been narrowed down considerably. Only seven players line up on each side of the ball, and though it takes a whopping 30 yards to gain a first down, frequent big plays ensure you score early and often. And penalties? Who needs 'em! The easiest way to force an incomplete pass is to knock down the receiver before the ball arrives. Turbo-fused hits, leaping throws, and spectacular catches are all represented in the same manner as in the earlier games, and even the playbook is nearly identical to what you remember. Like throwing the ball deep? Select Da Bomb so your receivers sprint down the field. Or maybe trickery is more to your liking. Split Back lets you toss to a player in the backfield who can then throw a pass of his own downfield. The pace is crazy and frantic, but you never feel out of the contest since points are so abundant

There's an undeniable pull on your nostalgic senses that makes NFL Blitz immediately welcoming. The players have been updated, and the visuals are now in high definition, but the surrounding elements are eerily similar. Firing up a contest is like returning home again. The high-flying, back-and-forth draw that made the original so endearing is well realized here. But like most reunions, this one isn't as rosy as you might remember. Quirks buried in your subconscious are unearthed in frustrating sequences. You yell in anger when your player drops the football like it's a wet seal. You gasp in horror as your forward pass is inexplicably ruled a fumble because your receiver was behind the line of scrimmage. You scream in frustration when your offensive line turns into a sieve at the worst possible time. And you shake your head with disappointment when your receiver walks out of bounds instead of turning upfield. Considering there are so few enhancements to the core of the game, it's a shame these foibles weren't ironed out in the many years since Blitz's inception.

The on-field action is as fun (though flawed) as ever, and a variety of modes give you plenty of different ways to take part in it. Blitz Gauntlet is as good of a place to start as any. Here, you compete in a tournament against progressively more difficult teams. Taking on the Redskins or Seahawks is certainly entertaining, but the main draw in this mode is the fantastical players you square off against. Teams composed entirely of robots, pirates, gladiators, and other non-football players serve as the boss fights, and though the action is mostly the same, the comedic impact cannot be denied. Yes, a pirate might not have the benefit of shoulder pads, but wouldn't a hook help in defensive matters? There's no clear answer, but it's certainly fun to ponder. Power-ups also litter the field in these boss battles. Freeze the clock or create an earthquake by nabbing an icon at an opportune time, and though these don’t have a huge impact on strategies, they do help mix things up from the norm.

Blitz Elite steers away from the cartoonish and veers into simulation territory. Here, you build your team by purchasing (with in-game money) playing cards. It's a concept borrowed from the Madden franchise, and it gives you something to strive for in the long term. You may have to purchase many packs before your favorite players are unlocked, and tweaking your roster so you're more competitive is appealing for a little while. The most thrilling application of this feature comes in the risk/reward matches against an online foe. The winner gets to choose any card from your pile and nab it as his own; the loser has to watch. Granted, unless you have an emotional connection to your players, it won't matter much when you lose someone, but don't expect your wounded pride to heal as quickly.

The last mode is Blitz Battle, which is the most engaging of the three. Collecting cards and battling bosses are entertaining for a little while, but Blitz is still at its best when you're squaring off in the classic competition. In Blitz Battles, you choose a state to represent and then take on players around the country in online matches. Perform well, and you move up a class to face even tougher competition. Struggle, and you get sent back to the minors. Moving from rookie to elite status is empowering, and as you move from state to regional and national competitions, you feel as if you're making tangible progress. You can start a game with an online friend if you like cooperative play, though it's much harder to find a match in this mode. Blitz is at its best in one-on-one action, and that's why Battle is the most exciting way to experience this downloadable game.

Ranking up in Battle, unlocking cards in Elite, and fighting bosses in Gauntlet give Blitz a surprising amount of longevity. You could spend hours in each mode trying to gain access to everything, so there's plenty of content here for 1,200 Microsoft points ($15). But even though it's still fun to unleash lunging tackles and 70-yard touchdowns, the whole experience feels antiquated. You can pile on all the extra modes you want, but if the core action is unchanged, it's hard to shake the feeling that you've done this all before. Don't expect NFL Blitz to have the same impact it did so many years ago, but this is still a satisfying way to rekindle a nostalgic flame.

'
The Good
Bone-crushing action is still fun
Lots of unlockable content
Online play is smooth and engaging
The Bad
Little has changed since original Blitz games
Fluky quirks lead to frustration
7
Good
About GameSpot's Reviews

About the Author

Discussion

25 comments
SolidTy
SolidTy

This game came out on PSN first, yet he reviewed the 360 version. Strange.

 

I like the game, I'm a fan of the old games. I got this game free from PS+.

The-Apostle
The-Apostle

Not sure what everyone's talking about. I'm enjoying it.

rarson
rarson

"NFL Blitz contains the same shallow fun and aggravating flaws that have existed in the franchise for more than 14 years." No, it really doesn't! It doesn't have the same impact because the game has been ruined by EA. I played Blitz 2002 back-to-back with the new one. It doesn't even come close.

DbzJohno
DbzJohno

I know I'm a dork for not playing sports game but blitz is the only sports game that I like to play. Glad to see the original blitz back in action:)

Cheekz77
Cheekz77

The minor changes brought this game wayyy down! midway was known for announcers, no rules... including late hits, double hits to power bombs pile drivers n leg drops, team fire, inputting codes for turbo n such!? madden is madden cuz its an authentic, genuine football game where midways was supposed deliver arcade style. If it aint broke dont fix it...but they broke it. i played it, its still fun but if ur playing cuz of the old name ull be disappointed...

RU31
RU31

Someone want to tell me how EA can just take over a franchise popularized by the exceedingly more brilliant Midway? I realize Midway filed for bankruptcy, but I can't stand that it's EA who has taken over their sports games.

KBFloYd
KBFloYd

i dont like the artsyle/graphics....looks boring vanilla.. maybe if they used madden arcade artstyle this would have been much better....lack of late hits is also a dissapointment..

Kabals
Kabals

What would drive me crazy about the original was the AI's knack for keeping the game close. You could not blow out your opponent. I remember having my QB simply not throw the ball (despite mashing the button) if I had a 2 TD lead, always leading to a sack.

SkamArtist
SkamArtist

Although it's a little bit disappointing that late hits were removed, it's something I can live with. The game is still fun without the late hits. People are acting like late hits was the game. Madden used to have late hits (even though you got a penalty) and everyone moved on. Blitz is just as fun now as it was then.

grim0187
grim0187

All the crybabies whining about late hits. Get over it! Late hits were NOT that big of a deal, just some stupid concept to appease to your 13 year old selves. Blitz is all about Nostalfgia. Of course its not gunna innovate much, its freaking football, how much can you do with it? Madden has released the same game for 10 freakin years and they constantly get high scores.

aahov
aahov

i bought it as a huge fan.. (well....i bought '02 on ps2 for $2 at gamestop back in the day and got plentyyyyy of replay value with my friends..). the fact that there was no 'late hits' was really a huge deal to me as well. i found myself pressing tackle multiple times even after realizing that it wouldnt do anything, JUST incase it finally worked. i kept calling myself dumb (which i was) but the stupidity was coming from hope that a random patch added in late hits. other than that, i give it a great review. my two favorite plays, turmoil and da bomb, are in full effect and i think its more challenging than 02 was. so i DO recommend this as a buy. i havent played blitz in at least 5 years so i think $15 is an okay donation (yeah i consider it a donation) to ea for a great remake. the voiceovers are really funny and i still enjoy the gamplay. anyways i gave it an 8.5 if youre a fan. and i have yet to do much with the game. feel free to disagree but i really didnt expect much more than what they did with this game so cant say im disappointed at all. theres even a 'blitz coop' mode that i have yet to do with my best bud so were gunna start that mode soon! (long comment eh?)

garyperson
garyperson

Madden Arcade looks better than this, I think I'm going to pass.

Neo_Sarevok
Neo_Sarevok

Does anyone know why they took out late hits? Is this some kind of scheme from the NFL bigwigs to send a statement about the hazards of player safety? If so, this game shouldn't have released to begin with.

singhellotaku
singhellotaku

I've had a lot of fun with it, but I agree wholeheartedly with their complaints, I also can't find my favorite old play "Quick Dish"

valdarez
valdarez

Think Tom was more than fair in his review. Game had a LOT of flash, but I was disappointed that it hadn't progressed from what it was 10+ years ago, and that passing only took ONE button (ugghhhh!). Now that this is out, I can easily say that I preferred the Blitz the League series over this new all flash and no substance NFL Blitz game.

THA-TODD-BEAST
THA-TODD-BEAST

No Late Hits is definitely a huge bummer for me. I know that on paper it sounds like a tiny issue, but to any NFL Blitz fan who's been playing the games since the very beginning, it's a huge deal. That was part of the fun was playing with a friend, sacking his quarterback, then absolutely destroying him the moment he hopped back up just to rub it in his face.

BlueRaptor7
BlueRaptor7

No late hits. No Blitz. Not gonna buy.

Superzone
Superzone

I downloaded this game the week it came out and it's pretty dang fun. The lack of late hits is a bummer, but I got over it. There's a surprising amount of content in it.

bizuit
bizuit

I owned this game on the 64 and if this was the game on the 64....I would of never have owned it

daabulls23
daabulls23

It feels so wrong just having guys stand around after a play.

supersackboy23
supersackboy23

I'm sorry but its not blitz if it doesn't have late hits.

slayer1090
slayer1090

NFL Street II still remains my favorite football game of all time, so many good memories of that game, especially frustrating CPU tactics.

megakick
megakick

EA really did a good job of capturing Blitz even the same 1997 graphics :D

ChadFromCanada
ChadFromCanada

So lame that they removed hits after the play, but I guess that was the directive of the NFL. Still fun before the whistle, but this omission will piss off and disappoint a lot of fans.

DaWarthog
DaWarthog

This game is trash its more like NFL Street or NFL tour then Blitz. EA sucks!!!!!!!!!

NFL Blitz (2012) More Info

Follow
  • First Released
    • PS3
    • Xbox 360
    NFL Blitz is back and better than ever in an all-new HD format for the first time.
    7
    Average User RatingOut of 60 User Ratings
    Please Sign In to rate NFL Blitz (2012)
    Developed by:
    EA Tiburon
    Published by:
    Electronic Arts
    Genres:
    Team-Based, Football (American), Sports, Arcade
    Content is generally suitable for ages 10 and up. May contain more cartoon, fantasy or mild violence, mild language and/or minimal suggestive themes.
    Everyone 10+
    All Platforms
    Comic Mischief, Mild Language, Mild Suggestive Themes, Mild Violence