Players: 1 to 4 Player Game | Release Date: 03/18/02 | Genre: Sports
I remember the day I was introduced to NFL Blitz. Countless hours were spent with me and a friend as we scored Touchdown after Touchdown. With no refs and no rules, we sunk every quarter we got our hands on into our local arcade Blitz machine. As the next few incarnations of Blitz came out, we continued to play and have fun. However, nothing could prepare me for what Midway had planned for gamers in Blitz 20-02.
Being the first Blitz game on the next-generation consoles, Midway took full advantage of the Playstation 2 hardware by providing very realistic and detailed players. No longer are players subjected to poor polygonal images that barely resembled football players--everything is now completely redone in high-resolution graphics with complex shadow effects too! While updating the graphical engine, Midway also got rid of all slowdown problems.
Controlling Blitz 20-02 is very similar to past titles in the series. Gamers can choose to control their players with either the D-Pad or analog control stick. In the past, I always found it difficult to control the home versions of Blitz with a control pad. I am not sure if this was caused by poor programming. However, for the first time in the series, I can now use the analog control stick with more precision than the D-Pad. While this may not sound like a very "big deal," it is about time that Midway updated the control system to allow this.
This year, Blitz also adds icon passing. To utilize this, players snap the ball and then hold down the L2 button. An icon will then appear above their receivers and they can hit the button next to the corresponding receiver. This definitely improves the gameplay as gamers can no longer use the excuse "I meant to throw it to THAT guy" after throwing a bad pass to the wrong receiver.
Another nice feature Blitz 20-02 brings to the table is the season and playoff modes. When you find that a second, third, or fourth player isn't available for a game, now you can be entertained by yourself against the PC. However, be warned--the computer finds a way to always keep their score close to yours or a few points ahead. You can call this good AI, but I just like to refer it as "cheap AI." Nevertheless, when you are alone, it does make the game a little bit more enjoyable and if you can end up going all the way to the Super Bowl, you know you have this game mastered and are ready to take on all your buds in a multiplayer game.
Overall, this is the best Blitz ever made. With slightly deeper gameplay and all the fun from the earlier titles in the series, this is one must have game in you library. I highly recommend Blitz 20-02.