Over the middle and through the QB.
Every football game you see on TV can be placed in one of three categories: The
Blow Out (in which one team completely demolishes the competition), The Hard-Fought
Battle (in which the game is decided in the last seconds), and The Root Canal
(in which both teams are guilty of numerous penalties, and the final score is
something like 3 to 6).
Applying these categories to football video game publishers, I would say that
EA and Sega's games are the hard-fought battles (both within each game, and
with each other), 989 Studios is like going to the dentist, and Midway's games
are the glorious, if redundant, blow-outs.
there's no denying the inherent drama of a close football game, sometimes you
just want your team to win extravagantly. As a Dallas Cowboys fan and a Cal
Bears fan, I can attest to the value of a blowout. I thought last Sunday I was
going to see the Cowboys demolish the Houston Texans, but what teeth I thought
my team had were apparently replaced with marshmallows. Watching the Cal Bears
beat Baylor's football team 70-22, when I thought I was about to watch my team
get its jaw-wired shut, made one of the finest afternoons of the year.
Midway's new NFL Blitz 20-03 is a game with a lot of bite. Unfortunately,
every bite is the same, making for a meal that grows stale awfully quickly.
Not only does the gameplay become repetitive in and of itself, but Blitz
20-03 is very similar to Blitz 20-02, making
for a generally redundant if still enjoyable series.
Blitz bears a striking resemblance to NFL Gameday
2003 in terms of modes; everything you'd expect and nothing more. There
are Quick games, Exhibitions, Seasons, Tournaments, and a fairly standard Create-a-Player
option. The modes are sparse, but since Blitz is at its best when played with
friends, limited single-player options don't really hurt the game dramatically.
Blitz 20-03 is pretty much Blitz as you've always known it to
be. Big offensive or defensive plays set your defense on fire, giving your players
unlimited turbo. The hits are over-the-top and go on well after the action stops.
Even though said hits get a little repetitive, they make the down time between
plays pass a lot faster and are a kick to watch, especially if you manage to
get your entire team in on the action.
Even though the plays are similar for each team, there's a good selection
(including some running plays), and nearly all of them are potentially effective
against the right defense. While Blitz is hardly considered a 'deep'
football game, I've never found myself enjoying mis-directions and flea-flickers
more. In fact, it seems like Blitz gives the player a degree of control
lacking in supposedly superior games like EA's Madden series.
For example, any play can instantly become a flea-flicker, as any player can
pass the ball as long as they're behind the line of scrimmage. This gives the
player lots of choices on offense and keeps the gameplay fresh. And even though
Blitz is easy to pick up and play, a good range of offensive jukes, stiff arms
and hurdles make Blitz a game enjoyable for rookies and pros alike.
competition in Blitz is heightened by the best defensive scheme out there.
The ability to do basically anything to any offensive player at any time makes
defense effective and fun. Instead of waiting for a play to develop and then
trying to stop it, in Blitz you act first by either blitzing or taking out your
What makes Blitz's defense/offense dynamic so balanced is the ability
to set 'Impact Options' while picking plays. These options dictate the tendencies
of the team after the snap. For example, if you notice your opponent sending
an extra blitzer every play, you'll need to put your offense in a blocking frame
of mind, allowing you more time to get the ball to an open receiver.
The graphics in Blitz are standard. The fire effects aren't very impressive
and the players all look the same with only a few body types. However, the animation
is usually good when it needs to be (hits and jukes) and only really bad when
it doesn't matter (players catching a ball that has been kicked to them don't
move or respond at all).
Aurally, Blitz has good commentary with the announcers slamming botched
plays, and thumping sound effects that add violence to the big hits.
Even though Blitz is great for mindless fun, it also has mechanics
that make for one of the most rewarding football experiences out there. Unfortunately,
this has been the case for a couple years, and not much has changed. This review
could essentially be for Blitz 20-02, as the games are only superficially
different. So if you're looking for a new and improved Blitz, you may
want to try looking for a new football title altogether. If you don't own a
Blitz game, then you're missing out on a very fun, if somewhat shallow,