STAFF REVIEW of NFL Blitz 2002 (Xbox)

Tuesday, May 7, 2002.
by Underdog

NFL Blitz 2002 Box art Keeping true to their hertitage of sports titles Midway brings their famous arcade style football series to the Xbox in the form of Blitz 2002. Before going on, I had some problems writng this review because I had gotten spoiled to playing NFL Fever 2002 and it was hard for me to get out of that frame of mind that these games are total different. "One is a sim and the other is arcade." So after repeating that over and over in my head I finally found peace with myself and sat down to play Blitz 2002.

The rules for Blitz 2002 have remained the same throughout the series. As in all Blitz games there are no penalties, so it's no problem blind siding a reciever right before he catches the ball, which in the real world of football would definately result in a penalty. To get a first down you must move the ball 30 yrds in 4 downs instead of the traditional 10 with only 8 men on the field, 3 shy from the NFL style football. Midway did add something new that no Blitz game has had before which is an "impact player." With the impact player you have the ablity to program him to handle different situations depending on what play you called. For example, if you were on offense there are many different commands you could have him to do such as, go deep, try to get open, block left or right and so on. While on defense, you could have him rush or work man to man defense.

Blitz has a play book of pages upon pages of plays, which are broken down into different sets. The plays I used most happens to be the default set, known to us old-timers as old school, which are the ones we grew up using in the earlier versions of the series. The newer plays are nice, but a lot of them have trick routes that for me got a little confusing at times. Plays still can be flipped, to keep your opponent guessing.

It wouldn't be a Midway sports title without the ability to set a player "on fire". On fire meaning that when a player on offense does certain plays with the same character X amount of times, the character then becomes engulfed in flames (that would be the visual cue) and becomes faster, powerful, and greater at skills such as catching the ball. On the defense side, your team can become on fire by sacking the ball carrier behind the line of scrimmage. This feature makes playing catch-up a bit easier if falling behind.

The one thing that did get on my nerves were the tackle animations. When being tackled, the ball carrier is moved forward which counted as positive yardage. But tackles that knock a player back didn't give them negative yardage, instead the game marks the line of scrimmage at the place where the tackle started. You have no idea how many times I helped my opponents out by hitting them into the end zone for a touchdown.

The usual gameplay modes are available in Blitz such as exhibition, season, tournament and quickplay. Game settings are adjustable for time of day, weather, skill level, quarter length as well as a host of other options. The controller can also be configured to your liking, though the default controls felt comfortable and worked well.

Midway did an amazing job in this department. The graphics in Blitz 2002 are truely a masterpiece, with the help of RenderWare graphics platform, the players look like they are jacked up on steroids and have the tempers to prove it. To give any example as to how much the graphics are pumped up in this version, the amount of polygons in one arm of a 2002 Blitz player is about the same as the entire body of a player in a earlier version. The players' faces are the most realistics that I've have seen in a football game to date. It was fun going through a replay slowly, and being amazed at all the incredible detail that went into this game. All the stadiums are made very nicely, particularly the turf that is in them.

The audio wasn't bad. I mean, the sounds of pads clashing together, screams of pain, trash talking from the players, and your standard crowd sounds are all there but after you play a whole game you've heard everything. The trash talking lines, while some were amusing, there are only a few and you soon begin to hear the same thing over and over. The two man commentary is funny as well but, as with all sports games, it can get old fast. Blitz is the only football title that has a soundtrack to it. The score includes some general rock music that plays in the background, thankfully Midway gave the option of turning it off for those who choose not to listen while playing.

Please go back to the old way when tackling, simply marked the line where the tackle started, not where the tackle animation moved the player. I did like the behind the scene footage on how you made the game.

Overall: 7.0 / 10
Gameplay: 8.0 / 10
Visuals: 10.0 / 10
Sound: 6.0 / 10


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