Midway's not wasting any time when it comes to Blitz: The League II. After announcing it at a press event a few months ago, all remained quiet until last week, when Brad and I took a trip into the big city to see a playable version of the game. With around a month of development left to go, the game already looks like it's pretty much done, and Midway's over-the-top sports series has undergone some enhancements that should make it an even crazier game of football than it was last year.
That crazy seems to primarily come from the game's rebalanced clash meter. Clash, in case you were one of the billions of people who didn't play the previous game, is the game's version of turbo. You can hold the clash button on offense to drop everything into slow-motion, making it easier to toss and catch passes. On defense, clash acts as a modifier, letting you bust out more damaging hits. The developers found that people weren't using clash so much in the previous game, and since they don't want people to feel like they have to save up the meter that enables every single thing that makes the game more interesting than the average football sim, they went ahead and made it last around three times as long. Clash tokens, which you earn for pulling off fly maneuvers on the field, are also much easier to earn, which in turn makes the Unleashed super moves more prevalent.
The way injuries are shown and handled in the game has also been revamped. Dirty hits lead to more injuries, and now you're able to quickly select which body part you want to injure when you're delivering a crushing tackle. This then shifts into an injury animation, which shows an X-ray view of tendons being ripped, spines being contused, and testicles being ruptured. We didn't get to see that last one, which is fine by me.
In the previous game, if you had an injured player, all you were able to do was choose to wait out the injury or juice the player up, which got him back in the game faster but was ultimately more risky. Now, juicing the players up comes with a minigame, where you might have to line up the needle and inject at just the right spot, or snap dislocated bones back into place. The game also has late hits, which let you do some damage to a downed player, but these can be countered with a well-timed button press. Really, the whole game feels like it's been revamped with a greater focus on risk vs. reward.
The game will also have a new storyline that puts you in the role of a two-way player--meaning you'll have a guy on both offense and defense. You'll choose your positions by answering questions at a press conference at the start of the mode, and then you'll be on your way. An intro movie clash with the league's commissioner starts you out on his bad side, though, so expect to play football inside a prison before the story is complete. Obviously, that's where you'll encounter former star quarterback Mike "Ron Would Be Too Obvious" Mexico.
Chicago-based rapper GLC will be providing the voice of the main character, who is immediately nicknamed Franchise at the start of the story mode. His agent will be voiced by Jay Mohr, and color commentary during the game will be provided by Frank TV's own Frank Caliendo. He basically does his totally ridiculous Madden impersonation throughout, which seems like it could be really funny in the game.
Will all this stuff add up to a game that the typical football fan can get excited about? Heck, I don't know. But it definitely seems like a more approachable game than your average football sim, so maybe the folks out there who are totally disillusioned by Madden will find a home in Blitz: The League II. We'll find out for sure when the game comes out on PS3 and 360 this fall.