E3 2003: NFL Blitz Pro Hands-on Impressions
NFL Blitz has been bringing football fans a different kind of football game for several years now. Those who find Madden or the latest NFL 2K game to be too slow can find faster paced and more frantic football action in the Blitz series. However, when I checked out the game today, I was surprised by some of the changes they have incorporated into the series.
The first big departure was the fact that there are now 11 men per team, as opposed to just 5 in previous installments. I was wondering if this change would result in a more sedate version of the Blitz we’ve all come to know, but I found that it just gave me more opportunity to enjoy the signature attitude of the game. The same gameplay elements are all back, such as being able to beat some ass after the end of the play without fear of penalty. My OB’s arm would light on fire if I hit enough passes. There was more simulation in the game, such as more complete and diversified play calling. Running the ball is now a big part of the game, and although it was a lot harder to run in the game than it should have been, at least I had the option. Also, the ability to turn off the flame effects for when your players are ‘on fire’ is also going to be included, to give those wanting more of a simulation type experience just that.
Overall, the gameplay was pretty damn solid for the game being only 60% done. There were a few plays that just plain didn’t work, because they never developed early enough, but most were running plays, which is new territory for the Blitz series. There were also a few times when the tackling animations were a bit off. My halfback would get hit from the front, but flip in a way that resembled someone tagging him from the side, or something. All in all, the glitches were undoubtedly there, but I spent a good deal of talking with one of the Midway representatives working on the title, and he assured me that they were very aware of what needed to be done, and that all the things I noticed were in the process of being fixed or improved. We sat and talked for awhile, about what they were trying to do with the Blitz series this year, and I was told that the goal was to create the same kind of attitude and blend it with more simulation based gameplay. From the half of football that I played, I came away thinking that was exactly what they had done. Make sure to check out more information on NFL Blitz Pro when it becomes available.
5/15/2003 Ryan Hartmann