Blitz: The League II Review

Blitz: The League II is the second in Midway’s anti-NFL football franchise, designed to highlight and glamorize the less wholesome aspects of the game. With no NFL license the developers have gone the extra mile to keep things interesting via plenty of rough play, injuries, drugs, and nightlife. This is no simulation.

The “official” game of football is almost of secondary concern in Blitz. The storyline sets The League up as an alternative association to the NFL, which is exactly the stance that Midway has taken against the likes of Madden and EA’s exclusive NFL rights deal. In Blitz, there are fewer men on the field, and the point is simply to play hard, score points, and hurt your opponents.

In fact, injuries play an important role in any Blitz match-up. After delivering a devastating hit and getting an internal close-up of the anatomical destruction wrought, treating the injury on the sidelines is a big factor in determining how quickly a player is able to return. It’s completely off-the-wall, of course, with a shot of “juice” magically getting a player with broken ribs back into the game a few plays later, but gamers are expected to suspend their disbelief and simply have fun.

Administering the brutal crunch of bone-on-bone contact is made easy by the game’s “clash” system. As plays are made, a meter fills up and serves as a feul reserve for big plays. Pulling the left trigger activates clash and drains the meter, allowing players to slow down the action and perform special offensive and defensive maneuvers in a bullet-time type of environment. These range from big catches and killer jukes to the game’s precision-aim tackles meant to debilitate specific body parts of opponent players.

To get right into the action, quick play mode consists of choosing teams and a stadium, and immediately hitting the gridiron. A short lesson on the clash system and special high-powered moves precedes each game in order to level the playing field, but players can skip this if they so desire. It’s then on to the truncated, loosely regulated version of football that Blitz specializes in, where late hits, pass interference, unnecessary roughness, and the like are all applauded rather than punished.

The real meat of Blitz, however, is its campaign mode, which follows the career of a star athlete from his initial signing with the league. At the start of the campaign, offensive and defensive positions are determined by answering questions at a post-signing press conference. Additional questions add bonuses to different attributes, depending on the answers given. If the superstar says he got in trouble with the law as a kid, for example, he will earn a speed bonus. If he worked on a farm, he will be given a strength bonus.

During the campaign, the new team captain acts as a player/coach, and is responible for playing games, managing the team roster, training players, purchasing equipment, and even doing some public relations work. On top of that, one can participate in the less wholesome aspects of the business, like gambling on games and juicing players with illicit substances. Blitz uses this part of the game as an opportunity to take shots at the NFL, mimicking various real-life scandals within the game’s storyline.

If the hard-hitting and over-the-top version of football that “normal” Blitz brings to the table isn’t enough, bonus modes offer six completely new ways to play the game, like fast-paced prison ball or a game with “winners ball” rules. Other variations reward points for hard hits and injuries or reduce touchdown value as the number of plays in the drive increases, among others. These house rules games can quickly dial up the intensity (and chaos) on the virtual field.

Players can also participate in a 16-team single-elimination tournament and battle it out until a champion is crowned. The cpu fills in any empty brackets to make a complete tournament. The game automatically saves tournament progress, so a group of friends could potentially draw out a tournament over many weeks and form their own Blitz league.

Training camp is where players can run drills in the five categories of rushing, passing, receiving, defense, and triage to hone their skills before taking it to the field. What better place to use those skills than in competitive matches on Xbox Live? Unfortunately, the online options are few; the Live experience consists of only quick, custom, and hosted matches with the default Blitz rules.

Blitz: The League II is the type of title that is different and fun for gamers who seek an alternative to the typical football videogame experience. When that novelty wears away, however, what gamers are left with is a relatively shallow experience waiting to be replaced by the next new thing.


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Author: Eddie Inzauto View all posts by
Eddie has been writing about games on the interwebz for over ten years. You can find him Editor-in-Chiefing around these parts, or talking nonsense on Twitter @eddieinzauto.

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