Jeff Markiewicz On November 28, 2008 at 7:28 am

Welcome to Blitz: The League II the sequel to the original on Xbox and Playstation 2. The whole franchise is actually a spiritual extension of the NFL Blitz titles before Electronic Arts gobbled up exclusive rights. The NFL Blitz franchise actually goes all the way back to 1999 on the Nintendo 64 with NFL Blitz 2000. Unfortunately as the years went by, this franchises charm started to dwindle and has continued into Blitz: The League. Now that the franchise has entered the new generation, did it make the touchdown or follow the dismal trend?

You play the game as a character nicknamed the “Franchise.” He is so good, he plays two positions. In a meeting between you, your agent, and the commissioner you make a stand that you will only play for your home team. You open up to a press conference where you actually design the stats and positions your character will play, which is awesome. You answer nine questions that will dictate which offensive and defensive positions you will play and certain stats that you wish to be attributed to you. From there you are off to create your home team. The amounts of options are amazing. You first select your city, which there are tons to choose from. Then you input your desired team name. Unfortunately the virtual keyboard is absolutely horrible because moving the cursor is delayed and it will just annoy the hell out of you. This also extends to picking plays and since that is such a large part of the game, its becomes frustrating. Well after you decide on you your team name, it’s time to pick a logo and your colors. Once again, you have plenty of options and all the colors of the rainbow. Then you move in to designing your team uniform, all the way down to the type of font for the numbers and type of socks you want to wear. It is really cool; the wealth of options and depth truly makes your team special and unique. Then you step out onto the field.

Weirdly there is no coin-toss in Blitz: The League II, you head straight into the game and randomly get chosen to receive or kickoff. To kickoff you have to do a quick-time event and the amount you get right determines how well you kicked. The game is based around arcade-style football and crazy injuries, which you get to help fix with an okay minigames. Unfortunately you never become attached enough to any players, other than your own, to actually care if they are out of the game. When a player becomes injured, a full screen video will play. If this was always at the end of a play it would be okay but about half of the time it interrupts a play in progress and destroys the flow you had going. These videos also become very frequent and very repetitive. Luckily they do not last very long. Some of the rules are obviously different from normal football but the most predominant is you have to go 30 yards for a first down instead of 10. You can also get away with delayed hits and even start beating people up at times. Selecting from the minuscule selection of plays is frustrating because, just like the text input, the controls feel very nonresponsive. One of the cool additions to the game is the clash mode. Doing good plays, pulling off certain maneuvers, and scoring will up your clash meter which allows you to enter the mode. The mode is basically bullet-time for football and allows you to more easily see receivers, dodge tackles, and knock people over. Once you power it up to the end, you earn an unleash power that is devastating but sometimes breaks the flow of gameplay because it will change the camera. Since this is an arcade game, sometimes the AI will be able to pull off ridiculous moves by using the clash meter that will feel cheap. On the other hand you’ll be pulling off cheap moves too and it seems like every time someone has the ball they will score, fumble, or have an interception. Punting is very rare in this game. If you score without getting tackled first, you’ll have the option to input a four button code to do a celebratory dance. Overall the game feels like it favors the offensive side immensely because of the easy difficulty. It also feels old from having to constantly do quick time events to do kicks and button codes for touchdown dances. You can take the show on the road online and choose from a myriad of teams and even your own. The experience translates seamlessly online with not a hair of lag. After each game you’ll be able to train players by assigning points to various categories. If you don’t want to delve into these every time, the computer can automatically assign them for you. You’ll also be able to bet on games which make you meet certain criteria like win by more than 5 points. Other ways to make money is doing unleashes, scoring touchdowns, and tackles. All this money can be put toward buying new equipment which will overall up a particular statistic. You’ll also have the option for sponsorship if you meet certain criteria at points in the story. You’ll also be able to juice up players which will temporarily up certain statistics for a game. Once again, you have tons of options off the field which is then marred by the lackluster football gameplay.

From the very beginning of the game, you just get an old school feeling. The models are okay and they do get dirty as the game goes on but no matter what, they have the plastic sheen that was predominant last generation. Plus they are not particularly detailed nor the animations that great. When you make your own custom uniform it never looks that great.  The injury videos are CGI and look pretty cool, similar to how they show things on House M.D. but more ridiculous, which is good. The football field looks dull and flat. The snow turf looks decent but one second it will be completely covered with snow and the next second there are foot prints all over it, making it obvious it’s just a global texture change. The stadiums look pretty dull and lack detail. Overall, the game looks outdated and dull.

A big component of a football game is the atmosphere. If done right, you feel like thousands of fans are cheering for you and it’s up to you to make that big play for the win. It also makes you cringe when you hear those bone-breaking hits. Well here you do get to hear the bones actually break or muscles get bruised which sound pretty decent. Players will hit hard and it sounds good. Unfortunately, when players graze each other after a play, that will also sound like a crazy bone-crunching hit. Almost like tapping boxes in early physics games. There are times where the mediocre sound crowd will get super loud, just like at regular football games, but here it sounds worse than the Outback Steakhouse commercial. When a ball gets knocked up in the air, it will go boing like in 1950 comedy shows which is ridiculous and break from the overall sound theme. For the story mode, the characters are well voiced except for your manager which will occasionally throw out generic repetitive comments during the game. There is also suppose to be an announcer for the games but they do not say much and when they do, it’s very repetitive. Kind of neat that one of the announcers purposely sounds like John Madden but since you hear so little of him, they didn’t capitalize on that asset. Overall, below average sounds drag down the game. The story mode voiceovers are decent but unfortunately the quality doesn’t carry over into the actual game.

The downward trend continues for this franchise. It’s a cool idea with a lot of appeal but it never gets fully realized. The wealth of options and customization is simply fantastic and gives you a nice sense of progression. The clash mode adds some nice depth to the football aspect but the game feels cheap. Touchdowns are far too easy, fumbles are far too frequent, and injuries sometimes break the flow of a play. The story is a nice addition but it forces you to win games eventually for the sake of the story and the game makes seems to tweak itself to allow you to win even easier. The graphics look straight out of last generation and lack much artistic direction which makes them look dull and uninspiring. The sound effects are quite mediocre with a couple that are really bad. The announcers during the game are nearly nonexistent and get repetitive quick. The nice voice acting during the story cut scenes are actually pretty good. Overall Blitz: The League II has nice ideas that are generally poorly executed. If this was released last generation, it’d actually be pretty good but some archaic design choices hold it back. Overall this is a pass, it might be fun as a rental to play with a couple drinking buddies or someone who enjoys beating the crap out of people but this is nothing special.


Nice to see a story in a football game but sometimes it breaks the game because you have to win games. The press conference and create-a-team options are deep and impressive. The actual football game is barebones, as evident by the miniscule amount of plays. Injury movies disrupt game. The unresponsive controls when entering text and picking plays are horrible.


Looks like a decent looking last-gen game. Player models are average and get dirty but still look like plastic. Animations are okay. The arenas look dull and boring. The CGI movies that push the story along are adequate but nothing special. No matter how much love and care you take creating your uniform it never looks that good.


Voiceovers are decent and give somewhat of a personality to the characters. Announcers are nearly nonexistent and become repetitive really quick. Sound effects are pretty bad, even if characters graze past each other you’d think it was a super hard hit and when a ball bounces off a person, it goes boing. I don’t need to say anymore.


Dances around being good. The amount of options you have off the field are awesome but is not backed up by the gameplay on the field. The story is pretty good but the graphics are last-generation and the sound effects are quite bad. The tough boy arcade gameplay comes off as old and poorly implemented. The couple of good design decisions don’t save this one from the sea of mediocrity. Might be fun for a rental with friends but you don’t need to take it any further.

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