NFL Blitz Pro Review (PS2)

Think you know NFL Blitz? Think again.

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-styled gameplay, proving NFL Blitz PRO is updated, improved and now, 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 proprietary blend of fast and furious adrenaline-styled football action.

Or so Midway says...

If you have played any of the “Slugfest” games you will be familiar with the Blitz setup. There are two commentators telling funny stories as the game loads. There’s also snappy humor during the game, but with the limited commentary you will hear those same jokes frequently during a game. The rest of the sounds come off pretty much like the previous versions of Blitz, cheerleaders included.

The game looks the same as last year’s version, and the detail of the stadia are far and away the weakest of the football games. According to Midway, Texas Stadium is a completely covered dome - which gives you an idea what to expect right away. You have the same fireworks going off in the end zone, and the same over-the-top player models. Field textures are still some of the best around, however, and you can see little details like clouds of dirt after a big tackle. One thing they still haven’t had is field degradation throughout the course of the game. Not much has been changed graphically in this game during this generation of consoles and, as a result, “Blitz” is starting to show its age.

I played this same game last year - only with fewer players on the field. Game play is closer to anything you would find in any previous incarnation of “Blitz” then you would one of the simulations of the sport like “Madden” or “ESPN”. Simply put, not much has been changed. You still have the WWE-style, over-the-top tackles, and after a play you can run over other players to your heart’s content. Playbooks and play calling are setup like last years; with a few extra linemen added to block. You can opt to stick with the time limit to choose a play or turn it off. With quite a few plays to sort through, I recommend turning this off to begin with. Returning from last year is the “impact player” - you can change what that player is supposed to do before the snap. There is one “impact player” on offense and on defense. On offense, you can have him stay in a protect, block in a certain direction, get open, or go deep. On defense they can blitz, play deep, zone cover, or cover man to man.

The biggest change in this game is that you now have 10 yards to get a first down. However, there are some extra modes in the game where you can revert back to 30 yards, or no first downs at all. There are many extras like these, along with other stadiums and game modes. It just wouldn’t be a “Blitz” game without having a team made up of animals that can be unlocked by obtaining points during the games...

Oddly enough, there is a “Classic Blitz” mode that you can unlock. After playing it, though – you’ll realize what little has changed in the game. However, with more players on the field and a shorter distance for a first down, some of the old strategies won’t work as well. In previous “Blitz” games, a sweep with the turbo cranked was a good way to pick up yards. This year, the defense plays the run a little tougher. Yards can still be gained on the ground, but don't expect any run to be a “money play”. Of course, when you do start tearing it up on offense or defense your players can still catch "on fire". For those trying to create a sim-like existence; this can be turned off in the settings. Of course, we can’t forget special teams - although previous versions of “Blitz” seemed to. Turnovers have been toned down, and interceptions and fumbles are tuned to a more realistic style of play - but when your player is pile-driven to the ground or clothesline tackled every other play, that sense of realism goes out the window. Speaking of realism; this year, Midway finally lets you kick the ball. That’s the good news, but the bad news is there is only one meter that it determines the kick’s strength, so in it's simplicity, they still snub their nose at punters and kickers.

This year’s version has a create-a-player mode, so if you have always wanted to play the role of an “impact player” or simply want someone with your name on the back to run amuck after the whistle; the option is available. You can play in an exhibition game, as well as a season, and there is a franchise mode. The franchise mode is fairly detailed and gives you the ability to manage the team, hire free agents, and use money gained by winning toward improving your players’ attributes.

It was like playing a toned down version of last year’s “Blitz” game with 11 players and 10 yards for a first down. Same playbooks, same style of play, same moves and a turbo button…
Oh, and I can't forget the ability to run over people after the play and having players light on fire… This game seems to have no idea what it wants to be, so until they figure it out, I’d suggest avoiding this game. Playing someone online (PS2 only) would help in the value of the game, but I’d still have to get past the yawn factor.

NFL Blitz Pro Score
out of 10