Avaliado nos Estados Unidos em 11 de dezembro de 2018
I'm a huge fan of the original Mutant League game for the Genesis, so I was pretty excited to see the series make a comeback. Unfortunately, this particular attempt misses the mark, brought down by some awkward mechanics and dubious production quality.
Like the original, the premise is simple enough: it's Madden football, of a sort, except through the deranged prism of a haunted house in a post-nuclear wasteland. Many of the human players are replaced by fantasy and science fiction beasts, and the violence is cranked up to 11, up to and including casual homicides. Imagine a play where the running back bursts through the defense because he's literally set himself on fire, only to be stopped because he stepped on a land mine down field, and you've got the idea.
On paper, that's freakin' awesome. Unfortunately, the execution (no pun intended) is lacking. The controls feel a bit sluggish, and the awkward animations don't help matters. I didn't feel like I had the immediate responsiveness that I expect from a sports simulation, even those involving orcs at linebacker. The game was clearly made on the cheap, and it looks and feels like it, making it feel underdeveloped even for a game with a $30 price point.
With that said, the violence and humor have to carry the day to make up for the so-so football. Alas, they don't pull it off.
Seeing a giant sand worm burst out of the field to eat a receiver should be epic; here, it just looks rather drab. Injuries and deaths are listed after every play with the enthusiasm of an Excel spreadsheet, and they have to be, because many of them will occur well away from the actual gameplay, unseen by you or anyone else. Call me old-fashioned, but when my star safety gets decapitated, I'd like the game to show me a highlight of it. I couldn't help but compare the game to the Blitz: The League series, where gruesome injuries were shown up close in the most brutal and darkly humorous fashion you can imagine.
The infamous dirty plays are also a mixed bag. They're not especially well-balanced - some are god-like and others hardly register - but there's no denying they're fun. That said, the ol' Bribe The Ref move is back from the original, and it's a bit of a drag, honestly. If the referee is bribed, they'll inevitably call a penalty on the other team for any major play (big gain, touchdown, turnover, etc.), bringing it back. This also essentially forces the victimized team to call the Kill The Ref play on the next turn, which leads to ANOTHER penalty. It casts a shadow over the game, sucking the fun out of big plays from the paranoia that they'll just be overturned AND you'll have multiple penalties to deal with. It leads to a weird meta where I intentionally ran out of bounds on the 1 or 2 yard line rather than score, so in case they did bribe the referee, I'd have the best starting position possible after the penalty avalanche. While it does shake up the traditional feel of a football simulation, I'm not sure it works as a game mechanic.
Comedy, of course, is more subjective, and some of the announcing did make me chuckle. Many of the teams and players have parody names of real NFL players, which is kind of funny at first, but gets old rather fast. After seeing the 713th player with a name that's some variation of Vomit McSkinCondition, you'll be flat-out exhausted, and wishing someone in this universe had simply named their kid Steve Jones.
Things might have been salvaged by the Dynasty Mode, the obligatory single-player offering most sports games have. Unfortunately, this too wasn't especially well-implemented. The premise is that you take over a struggling franchise and try to eventually take them to the big game - fair enough; makes sense to me. The problem is that your entire team starts with the minimum score in every statistical category. Yes, the entire team. Even if you use free agency to acquire a handful of studs, your team will be non-competitive at nearly every position. Players do upgrade over time by earning experience, although it's hard to earn said experience when your players are too unskilled to accomplish much. I managed to plow ahead for a bit anyhow by exploiting a hole in the A.I., by simply doing sweeping run plays or short dunk passes to the running back and then using the speed burst move to steal 5-10 yards before the ball carrier was inevitably run down by the much faster defense. This got old rather fast and I felt like it wasn't worth my time to wait until my team finally achieved mediocrity to play some football
I still think this premise can work - it has before - but it just didn't work this time. A bigger budget and some gameplay refinement would go a long way if they try again.
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