I should preface this by saying I love NFL Blitz. I dumped tons of quarters into the original arcade machine and when it came to N64, I was the guy going to the arcade with his memory card. Those were good times.
Now I know Blitz: The League and its follow-up left a bad taste in your mouth, but EA's NFL Blitz is exactly what you've been waiting for -- well, it's what I've been waiting for, anyway. The only difference in gameplay from the original is that there are no longer any post-play interactions. I'll admit I was sad to hear about the game's entire lack of elbow drops, but it's such a small thing when you consider how much EA has put into this $15 package.
A couple of new single-player modes offer hours of content outside of simply throwing down in a game. There's a ladder campaign mode where you take on a series of made-up teams (which you can unlock) and an Elite League mode which I'm sure will hold players' attentions for a fairly long time. There's just so much stuff to unlock.
So here's how it works: you pick a team and as you play, you earn credits that you can use in NFL Blitz's store. You buy card packs, which give you player cards for each team. As you level up and get more cards, you can gamble them against opponents online (think: racing for pink slips). But each team has more than player cards -- there are ultimate player cards and ultimate team cards you can unlock (and lose) as well.
All of the modes in the world don't matter if the game doesn't feel good to play, obviously. And, thankfully, NFL Blitz feels as tight and accessible as series veterans hope. The offensive playbook includes selected plays from previous Blitz games, and a team-specific play exclusive to each club is also available. It's quick (each game takes about 15 minutes) and, most importantly, it's super fun. Just don't expect to be able to create your own plays.
NFL Blitz is slated to hit the gridiron sometime in January 2012 on Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network. It'll be offered as a $15 download.