Review by mello matt

"Pads, pigskin, and profanity"

When I buy a video game, I expect something fun and enjoyable. By all means, I want a challenge so that I get my 50 clams out of it. That said, I really don't like this game. Game store clerks will pitch it to you as a next-gen NFL Blitz infused with style. You can believe the people trying to sell you the product and get their commission, or you can listen to a person that actually shelled out the dough for it and came away disappointed.
Gameplay: 6
This is where some of the Blitz comparisons were drawn. It is a faster-paced, arcade-style football game where the object is to taunt your opponent in order to score style points. By gaining enough of these points, you get a special move(more on that later). The AI in a football game totally determines how fun the game is. Here is the game's biggest flaw. AI starts at a middle of the road difficulty, but if you jump ahead in the score, it suddenly cranks up. The computer becomes a god, forcing turnovers and fumbles much more frequently than it should. This ''rubber-band logic'' is a big turn-off. When the computer grabs victory from the cold jaws of hard-won defeat, you will probably have a few choice words for the opposing team and the game in general. Back to the facts, you have several modes, NFL Challenge, Quick Game, Pick-up Game, and Online Play. That's right, no Season Mode. In the first, you build your own rag-tag team by completing certain challenges(score a defensive TD, get 3 sacks, etc.), which net you points to improve your player. The next lets you pick a team and play. Pick-up lets you take turns with your opponent picking players from a randomized roster. This is a bit more fun because it is more even (the NFL players in Challenge will own you for a while).
Music: 3
Let me clear this up...I am white as white can be, and I hate rap. If you like rap, then add 5 or 6 points. I thought that I could overlook it when I bought it, but there is nothing passable about the soundtrack.
Graphics: 7
The graphics are cartoonish in a non-cel shaded way. It's sort of cool to see video game caricatures of NFL players, and the graphics fit the game, but they do leave a bit to be desired. Jaggies are a bit of a problem. Celebration animations are few, so you will see the same ones over and over. Your created characters in Challenge mode are plain coyote ugly. Interestingly, slowdown isn't really a problem.
Play Mechanics: 6
The meat and bones of a football game is how it plays on the field. Here, the game is lacking. The passing game is decent at best. It is extremely unreliable because the computer can pick the ball whenever it wants to, and does when you get ahead. This game concentrates on running, which takes away a bit of depth. Play selection is very limited, even after you unlock the all of the plays from Challenge Mode. You will wind up calling the same few plays on offense and defense. Defense is a joke. It is practically impossible to defend if the AI starts lagging behind. It will break tackles, pull insane moves, rarely fumble, and catch wild passes with few exceptions. You simply pick a play and hope for a fumble or interception.
I can't, in good conscience, recommend this game. It is infuriating to no end on normal and pathetic on easy. I promise, even the most level-headed gamers out there will be ranting at the screen. It can only be called fun on rare instances when the game does not make the game artificially harder by playing unfairly. On the plus side, building a unique squad from scratch can be rewarding, but it is nothing that other games haven't done. Online play is included if you want to take your game out of your living room. My advice? Pick up an old Blitz game for $10, pretend that the graphics don't suck, and actually have a good time.

Reviewer's Rating:   3.0 - Fair

Originally Posted: 03/06/04

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