Tuesday, October 10, 2023

Early Game Review: 'Wild Card Football'

Picking up where "NFL Blitz" left off, "Wild Card Football" -- released today -- delivers a playground-style, 7-on-7 football sim. The game is filled with over-the-top hits, ample powerups and fast-paced action that emphasizes arcade thrills over realism.

With customizable teams and logos, the game also takes cues from the "Super Mega Baseball" franchise. To ground things a bit, as well as add personality that will make the game relatablet o NFL fans, there are several licensed players, including, oddly, Colin Kaepernick.

There is plenty of current star power included, with the likes of Patrick Mahomes, Kyler Murray, Jalen Hurts, Aaron Donald, Justin Jefferson and T.J. Watt. Teams are named after quarterbacks, and you can play through season modes, online showdowns with crossplay, as well as couch multiplayer.

As a player who always preferred "NFL Blitz" and "Tecmo Bowl" to "Madden," firing up "Wild Card Football" felt like coming home. And as a beleaguered Arizona Cardinals fan, it was also a pleasure to see that Murray was joined by the likes of teammates James Conner and Budda Baker. 

I found the powerups distracting and irritating rather than enhancements to the gameplay, breaking up the smooth, exciting on-field action that was every bit as thrilling as "NFL Blitz" at its finest.

A full player roster and NFL license would have benefitted the game greatly. Because there are so many genuine players in the game, it makes you notice those who are missing. Then again, the lack of an official NFL tie allows developers to get away with antics that the league may not have approved of.

Here's hoping "Wild Card Football" sells enough to warrant annual, or at least periodic, sequels, or at least roster update DLC.

I had fun with "Wild Card Football," and appreciated the occasional interjections of Chris Berman, whose boomingly iconic voice is an apt fit for the zany on-field action. 

Publisher provided review code.

No comments: