Kurt Warner's Arena Football Unleashed
|Editor Rating:||6.5/10, based on 1 review|
|User Rating:||8.0/10 - 1 vote|
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Wow, another "X-treme" sports game. Excuse me if my excitement in these titles has waned a bit since NBA Jam back in the early '90s, but now I like my extreme games to be based on actual extreme sports, like skateboarding (Tony Hawk), motocross (Excitebike), etc. Arena football is only extreme in the sense that players are encouraged to run into cement walls. Other than that, it's football on a small field with less talented players. Whatever it is, Midway's betting that there are enough fans out there to warrant a video game version of the sport. The only problem is that Midway has already done one and it's called NFL Blitz. If you like Blitz, then chances are you'll like Arena Football. The gameplay is carbon-copied from Blitz, which is a positive statement. The only differences between the games occur due to specific Arena football rules, which include 20 yards for a first down, being able to return missed field goals, etc. The game also comes replete with usual Midway-isms such as after-the-play violence, secret codes galore, an over-the-top announcer and so on. There's also a play editor and a ton of different play modes. The game would be impressive if it hadn't already been done a million times. If you haven't tried Blitz yet, and don't care about NFL players, maybe this one's worth a rental. If you're a football junkie who's looking for something different, then Arena ball could be the answer.
As you know, making and selling games is a business. So why shouldn't a company recycle a good game engine? There's nothing wrong with that. But sadly Arena Football is a step down in quality from NFL Blitz. There's polygon clipping all over the place. Al players will, at times, shake violently--and no, they're not supposed to do that. Plus there's some jerky animation. It's not a total loss by any means. There are several new and unique moves and taunts that we haven't seen previously in Blitz. And Arena football fans just might get a kick out of it. The Al is decent, keeping games relatively close in that come-from-behind Blitz style. Arena fans give it a rent.
If you like Arena League football, and you loved NFL Blitz, then you'll want this niche game of a niche sport. Otherwise, it's an obviously gratuitous Kurt Warner license slapped onto a repackaged Blitz that plays pretty well. The fatal flaw of most subpar sports games is that the action is too slow or choppy. In this game, that's not a problem. In fact, the game may actually be too fast. Like Blitz, it's easy to pick up but difficult to master (against human players anyway). I beat the Al team the first time I played it and I'm not a Blitz freak. I wonder about the merit in licensing a league where the only recognizable star doesn't even play in it any more.