Review by eaglesfan026
"Too much of a gimmick"
When I heard about an Arena Football game coming out, I was pretty excited. I thought it was a neat idea and that it would be a new and fun experience, for my tastes. It was... at first. Then, I started disliking it more and more as I started to play. There is a lack of features and it isn't too in-depth. Sure, they incorporated the AFL rules into this and the walls add a new variable to the game of football and you play indoors on a 50-yard field. And yes, the rosters are accurate and all teh teams are in here (including the new Kansas City Brigade), but that's all there is.
When you first start this game up and they throw you into the menu screens, it's like "Who the heck designed the menus?" What it consists of is 3 or 4 options in white capital letters, with something that looks like a football field wallpaper in the background. No players, no screenshots, just a green background with white lines (representing yard lines) and numbers. It's ugly and they should of left it like they do in Madden and NCAA Football, where the presentation is excellent. In game, the score and time appear as if they cut out a piece of the scoreboard and pasted it on to the top of your screen. It's big, bulky, and overall just not pleasing to look at, plus it sticks out. On a better note, player names and icons look like they do in Madden.
At least they got this right. In my opinion, they incorporated the AFL rules into this game very well. On offense, they've added a feature that lets you control the wide receiver during the play. It works very well in this game and it's easy (and fun) to make a user catch using this new feature. All you do is change to a WR before the snap, run a route (user route, or follow the original play route; it's up to you) and call for the pass by pressing the button over your head. It's that simple. On defense, tackles are still easy to do and with the walls, it's a little extreme. It kind of gets a 'Blitz' edge to it, with over-the-top tackles and after-play scuffles/illegal hits. Some say it shouldn't be included, while others like it. Running, in the AFL, isn't used much, so there isn't much to worry about with regards to that. Kickoffs are fun, although they can be bothersome and tedious if you can't catch the ball off the net. Majority of the time (if this happens), the other team will recover. It makes for an aggravating game experience.
The graphics are ok, kind of resembling Madden 2005. The animations, on the other hand, are fantastic. Tackling animations are smooth and realistic, especially around the boards (although there are limited animations for over-the-wall tackles). Passing animations are good as well, although you won't really take any notice to them. Broken tackles are done well too, and you don't get choppy animations like in Maddens past. Overall, I think this game has average graphics and above average animations. Nothing ground-breaking (do you really expect that in a sports game?), but it's passable and sometimes even cool to look at the unique tackles.
Lasting appeal: 4/10
Here's the reason for such the game's low score overall. In that bleak, aforementioned main menu screen, you have 4 (yes, 4!) options. There's the traditional 'Play Now', there's 'Game Modes', and then there's 'Options' and finally 'Features'. Exciting huh? Well, you're probably wondering "What's under 'Game Modes'?" In this screen, you get 3 more options (that's right, 3 again). There's a Franchise, Tutorial, and Online Mode. That's it. In Franchise Mode, there are no after season awards, nor is there a draft. You can resign players, sign Free Agents, and that's about it. Once you re-order your rosters, you repeat the process. It's not that fun. One saving grace is the fact that there are a plethora of teams that can be unlocked, so if you wish you can get all those by getting achievements during games and completing the training.
Although the price point is only $30 for a new copy, this game doesn't have much to offer other then it's ingenuity. Check this one out if you wish, but hopefully next year's (if there will be a game next year) rendition will be a little more finished and have some more pizazz, not to mention a broader list of game modes and an extended franchise mode.
Reviewer's Score: 6/10 | Originally Posted: 03/20/06
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