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Video Game Vintage Title Blitz: The League

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Blitz: The League

Blitz: The League

Blitz: The League is an American football game by Midway as an unlicensed extension of their NFL Blitz series. Released after the NFL signed an exclusive licensing deal with Electronic Arts, it was released in October 2005 for the PlayStation 2 and Xbox. This game is the first in the Blitz series to receive an "M" rating by the ESRB due to the graphic violence, explicit language, and drug use depicted. Lawrence Taylor, who provides voice acting for the game, serves as its official spokesman. In 2006, a second version of the game was released on the Xbox 360 in October. In December 2006, a portable version was released on the PlayStation Portable . These versions included the voicework and likeness of former pro linebacker Bill Romanowski. The game was originally intended to be a Wii launch title, but the Wii-version was delayed and eventually canceled.

On 22 January 2007, the game was refused classification by the Office of Film and Literature Classification in Australia, effectively banning the game there. The game was banned as the use of drugs was related to incentives and rewards.

Blitz: The League Gameplay

Blitz: The League is very similar to previous installments in the Blitz series, as it depicts an aggressive and violent version of gridiron football. Like previous games in the series, first downs are awarded at 30 yards, not 10; there are eight men to a side (similar to arena football, not 11 as in American football); penalties and referees do not exist (although players are somehow prohibited from going offsides); and overly vicious tackles and blocking are the norm. On gaining yards, making tackles for a loss, scoring, or forcing turnovers, players are rewarded with an increased "Clash" meter. When the "Clash" meter is charged up, players may perform "dirty" stiff-arms, dodges, rush avoidance (for quarterbacks), or, most importantly, "dirty hits" on defense. Performing a "dirty" hit or stiff-arm causes opposing players to lose stamina (in essence, reducing their effectiveness) and occasionally become injured (An image of an x-ray would zoom into a specific bone and show it snap, show a ligament tearing, or depict a different brutal injury). After successfully performing a number of "Clash" moves (or forcing turnovers and scoring touchdowns), players can perform "Unleash" moves which are nearly unstoppable.

When an injury occurs, the player may choose to "treat" the injury normally, or "juice" the injury (inject an athlete with steroids). "Juicing" causes an injury to be ignored, but increases the risk of more severe injuries. However some injuries are so serious (kneecap fracture, torn ACL, wrist fracture, ruptured Achilles), that juicing is not a possible option.

Critical reception for Blitz: The League was mostly positive. Gamerankings.com gives the PlayStation 2 release a score of 76% and the Xbox release a score of 78%.

The most common critical complaints with Blitz revolved around allegations of "rubberband AI"; that is, in single-player mode, the computer opponent becomes nearly unbeatable late in games with the human player leading. However, many critics also pointed out that "rubberband AI" is also an undocumented feature of more "legitimate" football titles such as the Madden NFL series.

Blitz: The League's Lead Designer, Kraig Kujawa, said on website operationsports.com that there was actually no "rubberband AI" and that it was just people's perception based on past Blitz games that had it.

The PlayStation 2 and PlayStation Portable releases of Blitz have also been criticized for their very long delays and load times. This does not apply to the PlayStation 2 Slim.

As reported by GamePolitics.com, the government of Australia has officially banned the game due to steroid use. The game is region free so the NTSC version of the game can be played on Australian PAL Xbox 360 consoles.

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