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NFL Blitz Pro Review

Developer: Midway Sports Publisher: Midway Sports
Release Date: October 27, 2003 Also On: GCN, PS2 and Xbox

Midways Sports has long been described as an arcade-style sports studio. That changed this year when all of their long running series’ went “Pro�, ditching their over-the-top theme for a more sim-like approach. Their hockey franchise, NHL Hitz Pro hit the spot in its latest outing, killing the competition to become the best hockey game of the year. Can Midway’s football franchise do the same?

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The first thing that you will notice once you open the box is the new 11-on-11 authentic NFL game play. Anyway, it is nearly a fact that everyone has played the Blitz franchise, at least those who consider themselves gamers. NFL Blitz Pro isn’t a gimmick; Midway is for real when they say that this isn’t a Blitz game like any before it. In fact, I could barely notice that it was a Blitz game; it had lost its fun. The result of a sim/arcade hybrid isn’t good, but it isn’t catastrophic either.

Game modes (excluding the ones that you can purchase) include quick play, exhibition, season, franchise, and tournament. The other features available are of course the Blitz shop, create-a-player, and Blitz Theater, where you can watch various movies, including a football game where the developers play each other and Terrell Owens is the all-time quarterback. Unfortunately, I was more entertained watching some of the movies than actually playing the game. The Blitz Shop is what keeps this game going. You can buy a huge variety of things, such as teams (e.g. lions, tigers, horses, fat boys, cheddar heads, robots, penguins, etc.), stadiums (e.g. arctic station, central park, oil rig, etc.), and game modes. Game modes include all or nothing (no first downs), Blitz classic, butterfingaz (no out of bounds and every hit counts as a fumble), along with more.

You could easily mistaken this for Madden, if you are a sports game novice. The graphics are decent, with a low variety of coaches and cheerleaders. A new control system has been executed that allows you to select specific players. Button icons will appear above a player indicating who you can pass it to. This is generic football, not NFL Blitz, which is supposed to be all action, all the time. In previous installments, you moved the analog stick left or right, highlighting the player that you want to pass it to. This was simple to grasp, even for my father who doesn’t play video games. In previous installments, my father could easily compete, but due to the complexity of the new system, novice gamers will have a difficult time, which takes away from what the Blitz franchise is all about.

The next major overhaul is the way that you select your plays. This is where the game feels like both the Madden and 2K series; A, X, and Y are used to select plays within each set. You first choose a set (e.g. nickel, dime, pro set, special, etc.) and once that is selected, you gain access to a series of plays. You move the left analog stick up or down to change play lists. The screen has a total of three play lists, the center play list is the one which you must press A, X, or Y to select it with. Red highlighted plays are rushing and blue highlighted plays are passing. Computer opponents are harder than ever before. You can’t expect to gain 50 yards off of a kickoff anymore. The right trigger is used for turbo, which is still intact from previous incarnations of the game. B is used to spin, which isn’t as affective as it was in earlier versions of the Blitz series.

NFL Blitz Pro isn’t the Blitz series that I have grown to love. If there was a sim/arcade football genre, Blitz would fit perfectly, but in the plain old football genre, Blitz Pro is a disappointment. Going the way of simulators, Blitz Pro can’t compete with the likes of EA or Sega. Midway once held the crown for arcade sports titles, but that will soon be given away to EA in the form of NFL Street. While NFL Blitz Pro is pretty good, it would probably be in third in line for my picks of a football title, Blitz Pro just doesn’t make the cut.

Graphics: 7
Sound: 5
Gameplay: 7.5
Creativity: 7
Replay Value/Game Length: 8.5
Final: 7
Written by Kyle Review Guide