Friday, May 21, 2010

Backbreaker Football

Ok, I've played the Demo for 15 minutes. I spent about five minutes doing the tutorials, which went by really fast. Great tutorials, showing you how to play the game and how to get the Madden controls out of your system. No absurd loading times in between each tutorial, it all went by fast.

Backbreaker is the new football game by 505 Games, and if the demo is any indication, they NAILED IT on their first time out. Madden and EA Sports had a 5 year head start on the Xbox 360 / PS3, and their game immediately feels old, outdated, ancient, etc. Backbreaker uses the Euphoria physics engine and a company called Natural Motion has been working on this for four years now (or perfecting it for four years now) and it's finally ready. This is the first game I've played that was truly worth the wait. I've been watching this thing go through development for about two years now through YouTube and IGN Interviews and June 1st is when it finally is released. The Demo is available now for XBox Live Gold users, and in another day or two for the rest of the XBox Live users.

No, there are no NFL teams in this game, and this will be this game's only downfall. The actual football gameplay is incredible. Everything is physics based. In Madden, everything is animation based. So if two players get near each other in Madden, they have to lock up. In this game, they act as if they would really act on a football field.

This is tough to explain without videos, but imagine you're running straight ahead with the ball. There's a defender at your 12:00 running straight for you. There's a defender at your 3:00 with no chance at all of tackling you. But he's the guy who your fullback is supposed to block. The fullback will go out of his way to block the guy, leaving you wide open to get crushed by the defender running straight at you. This was one of the first things I tested in Backbreaker. Simple runs up the middle. Not once did the fullback do anything stupid. My Offensive Lineman double teamed the defensive lineman. None of the guards ran around in circles while a blitzing linebacker ran right by them and sacked me. Everything felt like it made sense.

After a couple four and outs from my offense (passing was a little different than what I was used to, and really, who Punts in a game demo?) I felt like I had the hang of the passing game. In this one, you have to select your receiver by moving the right stick, then flick the stick up for a bullet pass, or pull back, then flick the stick for a lob. This took some getting used to, but like I said, after a few tries I had it down.

People are saying "Arcade Football games are doomed to fail." They are. This one is NOT an Arcade Football game. This is NOT NFL Blitz all over again. This is as close to a simulation as you can get. This is what Madden wishes it was. The only thing that can possibly make this game fail is the lack of NFL players and teams (which can easily be created manually, and hopefully downloaded.) because after only a lunchbreak with the game, it plays phenomenally.

Here's another guy praising it. This guy has been criticizing football games, dying for an honest game that's true to the real game of football. 505 Games is definitely onto something here, and hopefully the NFL sees this and ends their exclusive deal with EA Sports. This demo is probably the only thing I'll play on my Xbox now until the full game comes out.


  1. Don't worry. EA will buy the rights to Natural Motion and take this over as well.

  2. I am worried if EA buys the rights to Natural Motion, those guys can turn a brick of gold into a pile of poo. EA is no different than some of those aging movie companies, they fear change. A change to format or gameplay to these people is as scary a proposition as asking someone to jump out of an airplane without a parachute. They know what has sold in the past and they will cling to it until that ship sinks for they are aware of the diehard fan base. I love the idea of this game and what it appears to bring to the table in the world of sports games, I think this combined with Natal for the 360 coming up would make for one of the most prolific gaming experiences in recent years.