In video games, licensing is a double-edged sword. Using actual properties like sports franchises (Madden ‘09), car manufacturers (Need for Speed: Undercover) and even arms dealers (any Tom Clancy game) allows for a realistic and branded gaming experience. On the other hand, the companies whose products are being featured have a fair amount of say on how their product is represented, and as such, there are certain restrictions as it pertains to use (Grand Theft Auto IV).
Which is why Midway’s second installment in their football of frenzy series, Blitz II: The League, is so much fun to play – but only if you can look past some hurdles. While most licensed football video games skip the gruesome theatrics of players enduring a crushed collarbone or a busted spine, Blitz II makes delivering and receiving injuries the crux of its gameplay.
A taking on the role of an All-Star worthy player, Blitz II puts you in world where nothing is off limits. At the start of the game you’ll run through the usual treats that major league athletes enjoy – being courted by an agent, big deal signing, seductive winks from future ex-girlfriends. These anecdotes are a running theme throughout the game, they’re often executed merely as a humorous gag rather than compelling addition to the story line, rendering them almost obsolete.
Thankfully, Blitz II‘s bone shattering gameplay makes up for what it lacks in the narrative. Whether you’re fresh off the bench or a seasoned pro at playing football games, the easy to navigate control scheme will have you field ready in very little time. During a game, you’ll be able to injure your opponents with moves that would get any real player benched in an instant. Isolate your opponent’s body part and inflict damage to make sure that he’s not going to be a problem on the field later on.
But while Blitz II excels in flat out fun football, it drops the ball when it comes to visuals. Characters are rendered very stiffly, resulting in an unnatural and unrealistic look for a game where the players should be able to bend a move freely.
In short, Blitz II is for the die-hard football gaming fan who thinks that Madden is too soft and want some more gore in their game. If you can look past the awkward animation and lackluster storyline, then Blitz II: The League is the title for you. If not, you can always hope that they’re will eventually be a Mortal Kombat football themed game.
Blitz II: The League is available now for PlayStation 3 and XBOX 360.