; with a slash of Blitz
." Thatís the only way to truly describe EA Sports' Arena Football
. Graphically, and in the presentation, the game does takes a lot from its big brother at Electronic Arts. It also takes even more, however, from the gameplay of Madden
. Nearly everything youíve learned in the NFL brethren returns in Arena Football
, whether it be the style of play, play-calling, gameplay, or even the button layout (for the most part). The unfortunate side of a new game is that there are also many elements that can further be tweaked, but especially that catching passes near the wall always counts you as out of bounds if your player happens to flop over the top, even when the catch appeared to be legit.
If you havenít yet watched the Arena Football League (AFL) on television before, you may not be that interested in the video game version. But if you are a fan of the AFL, or just love to play offense in football games, then Arena Football is definitely for you. Just like in real life, playing through a season of Arena Football is all about scoring points. Most of those points will come from passing, as running is a bit difficult on such a small field. Defense is doable, but the limited number of players on the gridiron make for an extremely offensive endeavor. Playing defense is very tricky, in fact, because the fast-paced nature of the game doesnít allow for much time to put up a stand.
And if you are new to the AFL, youíll have a small learning curve to overcome in the way of the rules. First off, the field is fully enclosed by walls that are still considered in play. The only way to go out of bounds is by falling, or being hit, over the wallís top. This is where the splash of NFL Blitz comes into play. Some of the hits in Arena Football are slightly over the top, defying the laws of physics, but also adding to some of the excitement and energetic nature of the game. In addition, your defense has restrictions to further promote offensive production. It should also be noted that in the AFL, players are true iron men, playing both sides of the ball, which also typically stifles the defensive side of the ball.
The game modes of Arena Football are quite limited too, unfortunately. Youíll basically be able to practice, play exhibition games, or play through a full sixteen-game season. Youíll also be able to take your favorite team online and challenge other turf-loving gamers from around the country. Itís quite disappointing, however, to not have any available challenge modes or skill sessions of any kind. In the AFL, you can use the walls and/or net to keep the ball in play, and it would have made for some very entertaining mini-games. Thereís always hope for next year.