Back in the day, Blitz rocked the local arcades. We spent countless hours and quarters tearing up the fields with NFL teams and players in bigger-than-life footballmageddon-style rampages, some of which bore a small resemblance to an actual gridiron game. Years later, it migrated to consoles, only to suffer an untimely demise when EA secured the sacred license to be the sole producer of any NFL videogame properties. Midway could have taken their ball and gone home, but has instead resurrected the franchise with a fictional league backdrop as a nastier, meaner and decidedly more politically incorrect game than they could've ever gotten away with before.
Stripping away any semblance of morality or sportsmanship, Blitz: The League will have you pumping your players full of ‘roids while purposefully breaking their opponents' bones, spleens and other internal organs. The single-player campaign will introduce all manner of nefarious antics - sex, gambling, performance enhancing drugs and political corruption are all on display within the first couple of hours. Take that, NFL!
On the field, the action is frenetically true to the old-school Blitz vibe - everything moves at light speed. Madden fanatics may thumb their nose at seven-player teams, 30 yards for first downs and no more than a couple of dozen play options, but it's a hallmark of the series and frankly easy to pick up and play. The running game should be an afterthought unless your halfback is a superstud - this is a pass-happy game all the way. As in the past, playing defense successfully is generally based on random lucky breaks, although pass interference is never penalized (and highly recommended).
There's something sickly satisfying when you're able to produce a grotesque injury with a vicious tackle using the "Clash" super slo-mo feature, including some godawful disturbing images of snapped ligaments and cracked fibulas. On the other hand, we really miss the signature hypercharged announcer who used to call the games with a zeitgeist sadly lacking here. In fact, his somnambulant replacement seems barely interested in the goings on, no matter how heated the action gets.
Unfortunately, there's no doubt that the visuals and audio are decidedly antiquated (the cutscenes are laughably ugly), to the point that we can barely tell the difference between our 360 title and the versions released last year on the older consoles. This can't really pawn itself off as a real next-generation kind of game, save for inclusion of Achievements.