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Gaming Evolution
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Gaming Evolution
Gaming Evolution
Published By: Midway Games
Developed By: Midway Games
Genre: Sports
Players: 1-2
Rated: M (Mature)
Release Date: October 13, 2008
Screenshots:a Link
Amazon: Buy Now!
Written By: Matthew Prunty

For every positive, there is a negative. This bolds true for practically any genre of videogames. While those who like a more realistic presentation when it comes to football, they will look towards NCAA Football and Madden NFL football titles. For those who want a more action0based experience, they would look towards Midway Games and their Blitz franchise to fill that gap. For years, the Blitz series took the basic fundamentals of football and made the experience more enjoyable for everyone. However, due to Electronic Arts nabbing the NFL licensing, many wondered what would happen with the Blitz franchise. In comes the Blitz: The League series, a more physical, violent version of football, where there aren’t any rules, but score and inflict massive damage on your opponents.

With the first installment well received, Midway Games decided to bring back the action, but crank it up another level in their latest installment, Blitz: the League II. With the help of former Playmakers scribe Peter Egan, Blitz: The League II action on the field and off is blown way out proportion, making it very entertaining and action-packed. Unlike your everyday sports titles, The League II actually has a plot, which doesn’t really do much to help the overall presentation of the title. Your character is a “hot” rookie who decides to forgo a phat contract to play in his hometown, for an opportunity to shine within a football league full of miscreants. To help with the plot, Lawrence Taylor reprises his role as the evil New York Linebacker, while Jay Mohr plays the role of your agent.

The biggest draw to this game comes from being able deliver hospitalizing hits on your opponents. Violent hits were present in the first Blitz: The League, but this time things are ramped up dramatically. Upon delivering a serious injury to your opponent, the game cuts to a pre-rendered cutscene which showcases the insides of the particular player (like a M.R.I.). During this cutscene, depending on the hit, you can see bones cracking/breaking, spleens being ruptured, etc. Under normal circumstances, a player would be in the hospital, or paralyzed but such devastating hits, however in The League II, a simple steroid injection or resetting of the bone can solve any, if not all your problems. An interesting aspect to this feature is that if you do it correctly, your player can return in the next series of plays. But if you mess up, they can be out several players. While this feature does come in handy when playing against some tough opponents, it can be tiresome to see utilized so much due to players breaking/hurting some part of the body almost all the time.

Another feature that makes its return in Blitz: The League II is the Late hits. Upon delivering a devastating blow to your opponent, the words “Late Hit” will appear on the screen, allowing you to deliver even more punishment to the downed player. Depending on where you are standing by the player, you can start whopping their but with their own helmet, mounting them and punching the daylights out of them, stumping them with your cleats… ending with blood splatter on the screen. I have to admit, I never had so much fun beating my opponent to a bloody pulp.

If you were to compare Madden NFL to Blitz: The League II, the visual would follow close behind. While the player models aren't perfectly presented as in Madden, the models are rather smooth and life-like. One thing that will stand out is the lack of in-depth character animations, allowing their movements to look more realistic, as oppose to stiff. The vivid cutscenes showcasing bones breaking and organs bursting is highly detailed, specially when playing on a HD television. The game boasts a solid framerate of 30fps, rarely showing any signs of slowdown.

While Lawrence Taylor and Jay Mohr add some character to the storyline, I still felt that their performance, as well as Frank Caliendo’s, could have been much better. Frank Caliendo adds flavor and color when given commentary on what’s transpiring on the field, however due to short list of phrases recorded for the game, there will be a lot of repetition of the same lines, which can get bothersome after awhile. The sound effects are actually pretty good since they mimic the cringing sound an actually bone would make it if cracked, broke, or if a player gets hit really hard.

Though I didn't invest a lot of time in the online modes, I have to admit I rather enjoyed the experience over playing the computer. I experienced little to no lag while playing online. Choosing your opponents and syncing up to compete online is rather simple and effortless. Overall the experience is rather pleasant.

Blitz: The League II has a few high notes, but one too many low notes. Ramping of the violence was a nice touch, but baring witness to a bone cracking or breaking almost every other play, it takes the entertainment value out of the feature and tosses it aside. The visuals were pretty solid, and considering Midway Games wasn’t going for a realistic simulation like Madden football titles, they work rather well for the title. All in all, it was a nice attempt to take Blitz: The League and ramp the action up 10 fold.


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