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Blitz: The League 2

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Blitz: The League 2

Midway

Xbox 360

$59.99

I’m going to expose myself as the low-brow gore geek I truly am right up front by admitting that I enjoy this year’s Blitz a hell of a lot more than this year’s Madden. Where the Madden series has grown staler with each year of its exclusive NFL-licensing deal, offering just enough new features and improved graphics to avoid being accused of simply repackaging last year’s model, Blitz celebrates the lack of league authorization, offering us exactly the sort of id-driven football we wish we could see on TV. Featuring juiced-up players, bonuses for dirty hits, and no referees or penalties, Blitz closes the gap between the modern arena and the Roman Coliseum.

The controls should be fairly familiar, but Madden pros opting for a quick game right out of the box will be shocked. Not just because of the mature-rated content, but because without playing through the game’s tutorials, those used to Madden will be getting their asses handed to them. Blitz is a faster-moving, unsubtle game, requiring mastery of trick plays and turbo usage. Much of the game play — the eight-man teams, the 30-yard downs, the pro-wrestling tackle maneuvers, the ridiculous celebrations — is recognizable from early Blitz games (dating back to 1997), but new this year is a campaign mode that allows you to create a player and manage the team he plays on: buying equipment, training players, and deciding what illegal performance-enhancing drugs to give them. (See what you an do without a licensing deal?)

The implementation of turbo speed, which the game calls “clash,” is much better integrated than in the previous version, and, therefore — assuming you play through the brief tutorial mode — the learning curve seems more shallow, allowing you to pull of some pretty outrageous maneuvers on both sides of the ball. The graphics still aren’t to Madden level, but the grainier, cartoonish look suits the game better than shiny expensive high-res ever could. And, trust me, you wouldn’t want the gratuitous CSI style shots of muscles, bones, and internal organs getting popped and shredded in the horrific and (nearly constant) injuries, to be any more realistic looking than they already are. Purists will dismiss the game as exploitive, immature, ridiculous trash but the rest of us will be busy pointing at all the blood, guts, and physical impossibilities, gleefully hollering “Holy shit, dude, look at that"


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