NFL Blitz 2002 Review
There's a good chance that most of you reading this are quite familiar with Midway's NFL Blitz franchise. Most of you have played the game, at one time or another. The over-the-top arcade series has always drawn quarters from casual arcade goers. While the first two were great on both the arcade and console, it needs to noted that the second is arguably one of the worst looking Playstation games, not to mention Midway's poorest extreme sports title. It's been over a year since NFL Blitz 2001, and up until November, Midway never even dropped a single screen to reveal the follow up. The public knew the game existed, as Midway made numerous announcements, but not until late 2001 did they actually disclose a shred of visual evidence. The game has now seen the light of day, NFL Blitz returns to the home console turf, and to say the least this is a welcome with arms wide open.
In comparison to NFL 2K2 and Madden NFL 2002, despite what you may have heard, Blitz does not hold its own. Where as NFL 2K2 and Madden 2002 are simulation titles, NFL Blitz 2002 is arcade, therefore the athletes are mutant-esque versions of their actual NFL counterparts. They aren't as greatly exaggerated, but nevertheless the exaggeration is still there. Overly done muscle complexions are the thing that give it a way. The athletes are composed of some healthy polygonal counts. Zooming up close to their faces, you will notice that Midway has taken a few extra steps in facial detail, including expressions. The animations are half recycled, half new. Veterans will of course know which is which, so that's that. The animation quality and transaction from one to another is very smooth. Very few jitters or jerks occur between two different animations, a capitol and unexpected job, considering this an extreme sports title. The game looks clean; nothing is out of place or looks wretched. Just take a look at the screenshots, and see for yourself.
It seems awkward describing the gameplay of NFL Blitz 2002. I feel like every thing I'll state will be greeted with a "no s**t Sherlock" comment. Anyways, here goes. Of course we are all familiar with the stylings of Midway's sports games. Teams are cut down as only half of the athletes on a team play on the field, in contrast to regulation counts. Blitz is no different; Only 8 players are on field per team, but the field is also noticeably narrower, in comparison to an actual stadium or one in a sim game. That said, the play mechanics are pretty simple, it shouldn't take anybody more than 5 minutes to get fully adjusted to this game. The playbook has also been beefed up as offensive strategies can now be scrolled through 5 different pages, representing 5 different formations. The rosters are of course fully up to date as are the stats. The play modes are typical, exhibition, season, tournament, and etc; nothing to boast about, but nothing at all to pout over. The game still plays a like a dream. It's always fun just to pick this bad boy up and play a quick game. What's even more fun is playing the game against 3 other people in a 4-player showdown. This is a game that every multi-player fanatic must own. With all of that, keep in mind this is Blitz at its prime and finest. I really enjoyed playing this game, as it is the first arcade football game to land on the PS2. Great first effort.
Much of the sound seemed to be too recycled for me to care. If truth be told, Midway's extreme sports announcer, who seems to appear in practically every Midway sports title, is getting on my nerves. It's not so much him as it is his voice being over killed. His voice has pierced my ears and entered my deepest thoughts, and whenever I try to think of something important, at times I begin hearing "He could. Go. All. The way. TOUCHDOWN"! Or "Get that shot outta' here". Surely, somebody feels my pain. The commentary is quick and precise, not complex but complexity is not a target of Midway's. The sounds are average, nothing bold and outstanding. And lastly, in the background you can hear a faint sound of a BMG tune.
The controls in NFL Blitz 2002 are sharp. You have a choice of point and shoot passing, or icon passing. I prefer the icon passing, as it is far more reliable than point and shoot. The game features great support of the analog sticks, which is once again my preferred option while playing a sports game, as the level of precision is unparalleled. With a gut wrenching title such as Blitz, Midway has also made great use of the Dual Shock 2's vibration. Getting used to the controls should take very little time, 5-10 minutes at the most. For the most part, expect to just pick up and go.
Surprisingly enough, NFL Blitz 2002 came out to be a polished and very enjoyable product with superb extras and enhancements that separates the game from its far more simplistic predecessors, as the game features a pretty good play book. Mark Turmell and the guys have done a nice job at releasing the very first arcade football title on the PS2. NFL Blitz 2002 looks, plays, and controls well. Not to mention the replay value can be dangerously high with 3 friends and the tournament mode.
3/15/2002 Arnold Katayev