Against odds longer than those of the Arizona Cardinals winning a Super Bowl, Arena Football has somehow survived despite a hyper-crowded sports and entertainment landscape. In fact, it’s more popular than ever, as proven by a big fat television contract (now called by ESPN’s popular Mike and Mike in the Morning crew) and Electronic Arts’ exclusive AFL video game license. While still a blip on the radar in the grand scheme of things, its frenetic pace and over-the-top style has earned a spot in the sports conversation; all of which proves, of course, that Americans plum love their football.
You’d think that indoor gridiron exploits would translate perfectly to a video game. Alas, EA’s second title in the Arena Football series, Road to Glory, is searingly mediocre. Borrowing heavily from the Madden engine for gameplay and last year’s Arena Football debut for everything else, it will be instantly familiar and accessible to folks who’ve spent any time with either franchise. Passing, running, and playing defense all make use of the tried-and-true Madden control scheme, down to calling hot routes, audibles, spins, and jukes. Unless you’ve been under a sports game rock these past ten years or so, you’ll be able to jump right in.