As the popularity of the Arena Football League grows, so does Electronic Art’s representation of the league on home video gaming systems. To follow up last year’s fresh entry into sports video gaming, EA is hitting the Playstation 2 with Arena Football: Road to Glory.
Unfortunately for pigskin fanatics looking for a huge follow up to last year’s effort, sadly, if you took away the menus and put Arena Football and Arena Football: Road to Glory side-by-side, very few people would be able to pinpoint which game is which. Hopping in for one last go at the previous generation of systems, the title adds a new chunk of features that makes Road to Glory more appealing than its predecessor but those features are hardly new to the sports game genre.
As an off-season alternative to the NFL, AFL steps in to provide a more action-oriented take on the classic sport. With teams of eight players taking both offensive and defensive roles on a 50-yard field as well as walls on the sidelines, games are high-scoring, long-passing, smash mouth affairs.
On the whole, EA captures the heart of the AFL fairly well in the presentation of its video game adaptation.
The menus are clean and easy to navigate, the character models are up to par with the Madden and NCAA levels and the animations are less canned than in past sports games. While the main visual focus of the game is spot on, however, the environments are far less appealing. The stadiums are generic at best and the crowds look incredibly washed out. That being said, as long as the game is motion and distracts a gamer’s eye from the surroundings, Road to Glory features a number of well-done collision animations to stimulate a sports fan’s enjoyment.
On the other spectrum of presentation, Road to Glory fails to please with its recycled sound and lack of play-by-play and color commentary. While the title’s sound effects are spot-on with what is happening on-screen, the generic public announcement post-play dictation fails to impress in a field of sports games that emulate the commentary of actual television events. As much as wicked tackles and wall hits are pleasing to the ears, what players do not hear in the field of commentary is the title’s most glaring weakness.