|a game by||Ideaworks Game Studio|
|Platforms:||XBox 360, Playstation 3|
|Editor Rating:||5/10, based on 1 review|
|User Rating:||8.0/10 - 18 votes|
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|See also:||Football Video Games, Download Sport Games|
For a long time, football fans have considered Madden games to be the only way to play American football from the comfort of their home. There’s one game, however, that dared to defy Madden’s monopoly, and that’s Backbreaker.
With its impressive array of fancy physics and immersive camera angles, Backbreaker is a game that looks and feels like no other sports game, let alone a football game. Sadly, the game never reaches its full potential due to its barebones presentation and lack of meaningful content. Let’s take a look at what made Backbreaker so different from the rest of the yearly football games.
Feel every tackle
Unlike other sports videogames that use canned animations, Backbreaker uses an advanced ragdoll physics engine on each player in the field. Developer NaturalMotion is perhaps better known for their work on the euphoria physics engine, the same one used in games like Grand Theft Auto IV and Star Wars: The Force Unleashed.
With Euphoria, every tackle and every fall is simulated on the fly, meaning that every move you see happening in the game is unique and hard to reproduce. This gives the game a more natural feeling than what we’ve seen in past football games, including the popular Madden games.
Of course, you need a great camera angle to capture all of the physics-based shenanigans happening on the field, and Backbreaker delivers that in spades. The only problem is that there’s only one camera angle: you can’t change the view, not even in the replays. In such a physics-heavy game as this, it’s baffling that developers didn’t consider that players would like to see the action play out from different angles, although it might have something to do with the limitations of seventh-gen consoles.
Not the NFL you know
If you’re looking for a game to quench your NFL needs that doesn’t include “Madden” in the title, you won’t find it in Backbreaker. If there’s one thing that we have to consider is that NFL licenses are not cheap, so it’s really no surprise that NaturaMotion couldn’t get the license to any of the NFL teams.
Instead, players will have to compete using custom teams and rosters. Although this might sound appealing at first, the simplicity of the system is a huge letdown. Almost every player feels the same, making the whole game feel like it’s just a tech demo for what Euphoria is capable of in a sports game.
Oh, and don’t try to create characters that are named like real NFL players: the game blocks you from doing so. No matter how much you try to recreate the NFL in backbreaker, it simply cannot be done, for better or for worse.
Style over substance
Backbreaker might be a flashy game, but its two main gameplay modes betray its simplistic nature. You get to choose between Season and ‘Road to Backbreaker’ modes for singleplayer. The first mode, Season, plays like a normal American football season, with a pool of 32 teams. Meanwhile, Road to Backbreaker feels more like a soccer league, with players competing in a multi-tiered league.
All things considered, Backbreaker feels like a game that could be so much more, but that had many things against it. The lack of NFL licensing could’ve been ignored if the player customization features were a bit more robust, while some much-needed gameplay modes would’ve made the game feel less like a demo.
At the very least, Backbreaker tried its best to prove that sports games could be more than they were, including top-notch graphics engines and fun gameplay. It’s a shame that the game bit a little more than it could chew.
- Amazing physics
- Immersive camera
- Solid controls
- Severe lack of content
- Archaic customization features
- No way to change the camera angle
- You can’t share your players or teams online