Video games are no stranger to nostalgia, and the disappointment of discovering that something isn't as good as you remember is most bountiful when revisiting classic titles. Often times when we revisit an older game we've always cherished, we find it just doesn't hold up. NFL Blitz is EA's successful attempt to prove that the classic arcade football experience originally created by Midway is as fun today as it was back in 1997.
While it's technically a brand new title, NFL Blitz stands firm in its commitment to yesteryear, changing practically nothing from the arcade original's gameplay. The general rules of football apply: sometimes you run with the ball; sometimes you pass the ball; bringing the ball into the end zone gets you points. First downs are every 30 yards as opposed to every 10, and the game is primarily played with only three buttons.
The biggest alteration from the original arcade titles -- or, more accurately, omission -- is the lack of post-play interactions. No elbow drops, no leg drops, and no clothes-lining anybody in sight before the next play. For fans of the franchise's roots, it seems like a big deal but in reality it doesn't change the fundamental experience at all. The game still plays the same as it did in the past, it's just that you can't gang attack a fallen opponent for laughs at the end of the play anymore.
That's not to say that the rest of NFL Blitz is simply a repackaged version of the original. There are plenty of new features that extend the experience in meaningful ways. There's a ladder-type Gauntlet mode that pits players against NFL and fantasy teams, the latter of which are unlocked when defeated. There's also a collectible card meta game at work, in which you can construct your own uber-team from top players around the league, wager them on matches and manage their contracts.
It's those spectacular moments that sports fans live for, that happen so few and far between in real life, distilled into a 15-minute frenzy of awe. Each game has no shortage of big hits, ridiculous passes and outrageous scores -- and it's this over-the-top exaggeration that makes the whole thing so lighthearted and fun.
Even if the idea of vehemently tossing around oblong objects sickens you, give NFL Blitz a whirl. It's a digestible version of football that even the biggest sports cynic can enjoy. And, in the unlikely event you don't have a good time, the typical game only lasts around 15 minutes, so your stint in hell is at least guaranteed to be brief. Assuming you're a crazy person who doesn't like having fun, of course.
This review is based on a the Xbox 360 version of NFL Blitz provided by EA.
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