I received Blitz: The League for Xbox and PS2 today. The disc says “Preview” and therefore may or may not be close to final. There was no embargo or known issues in the package, and until I’m told otherwise I’m going to write things up here as I go through the game.
Tonight I started a campaign mode. First you are given the storyline: your team has been relegated to Division 3, right after your QB’s thumb was broken after a defender snapped it off his helmet (the thumb was caught in the helmet). Pretty! Anyway, you are then shown a video of the owner cleaning house and talking to the mayor. The deal is: win the championship and get the bonding issue passed. Lose and the mayor gets money in her re-election campaign.
After the video, you are then asked the city/location that you wish to play. I chose New England (duh). Although the location isn’t editable, the team name is. You then choose a logo and that is from a set of logos. You can edit the colors, etc of the logo. You then edit your players uniforms, helmets, socks and so forth.
You choose one of 3 stadiums to play in. You then choose a coach, an offensive coordinator, a defensive coordinator, a doctor and cheerleaders(!). Each position gives you 3 choices.
You then pick your players. You then select what to train those players on. Not everyone can use the same machines, so train wisely. You then decide whether to get the players on performance enhancing drugs. Of course, the more potent the drug, the more it costs and the more susceptible to injury the player is.
Once you’ve done all that, you then play your game. You find out what the spread is for the game and then you make your wager. You are shown an intro movie going over the team you’re playing’s strengths and weaknesses. As the game loads you’ll have various screens of information — league history — helpful gameplay tips, etc…just like Blitz of yore..
Lots of swearing in the game (more realistic of course). Graphics are very smooth and most camera work is at ground level although you can customize the cameras. This is one game where ‘gamebreaker’ should be used — but it’s not called that. You fill that meter up and then it really gets violent. As you play the game, and the hits get rougher, you can start up a fight. If you win the fight, you get extra dirty play tokens…
The game isn’t all about fighting and it’s more football that WWE title. I will say, having played Blitz in some way since 1998, it’s a little odd to use actual football strategy in the game (ie calling time outs, going for field goals, punting). Playing 2 minute quarters I lose 38-34. Ugh.
The game play was fast. You have to make decisions quickly — especially with the camera lower than in say Madden. Right thumbstick does ‘evasive’ actions like juke. A button gives you a stiff arm if need be.
I saw quite a few fumbles and INTs in my first game, but my team in week 1 are a bunch of losers and that’s to be expected. It didnt’ feel like it was NFL Blitz Cheat in full effect — it felt like I fumbled becuase my guy sucked. The ‘clash’ mode (aka bullet time) is a very interesting feature. You don’t play the whole game with it (you are limited) but when it’s on, you can see running holes much better and evade leaping defenders.
There seem to be quite a few options in the game. you still have ‘messages’ from your coaches and owner, but instead of the Madden like crap you actually get information, such as “we’ve found a new drug available to give our players”
The kickoffs are made using a game of simon says — instead of using a kick meter you’ll have to hit buttons as they show up on screen — so you’ll see “X” and you have a limited amount of time to press X. If you do press X, you fill up the meter a little way. If you don’t press x, your kick won’t travel as far. The bar is usually 4-5 button presses. It’s a unique way to do the meter. So far, I’ve always hit 100%. I’ve hit FGs around 40 yards. I haven’t tired a Blitz 60+ yarder yet.
Again these are HUGELY early impressions of the game. So far it is fun, challenging and there seems to be a decent story intertwined. Apparently you have to be signed into Xbox Live in order to save your team (you can play as your custom team online) but in the beta mode, I cannot test this (there is no Xbox live on beta — it’s called something else, and my experience is that it’s not like XBL anyway).
I’ll keep playing. If you have any specific Q’s put them in the forum. Please note I will not answer OpSports like questions (ie: Can you write down the name of every city, roster name and whether or not they are black or white or hispanic and if they have the shoulder pads that they use with the Dallas team. Nor will I answer is East ButtFuck, Montana in the game because I did it with a girl there. Finally I will not answer Can you give me the dislocation rating for Quentin Stront, the imaginary linebacker for the ShreveportStorm?)