Reviewer: GTL Admin
Release Date: 2010-06-01
Developer: 505 Games
Publisher: 505 Games
Sat 12 Jun 10
Backbreaker is a football game like no other, completely separating itself from other football games such as Madden. This game is not about arcade graphics and sounds and sub-par commentary from a run of the mill commentator - it’s about playing the game itself. The graphics, physics and sounds are so well put together that you feel every hit and bone crushing tackle.
The graphics in Backbreaker are definitely worth mentioning, with even the texture just as accurate as real life. The graphics not only stuck out from other football games but, in fact, there has never been another sports game with these kinds of graphics. The precise elements and objects shine when they need to, the colors are correct and even the stadiums themselves look real, almost as if you could touch them. It’s also good to see multiple body types on the players although the developers didn’t go overboard on the variety as the focus was realistic gameplay.
The gameplay is flawless and the best thing is that Backbreaker puts you right into the game, as if you are the player, something not many sports games have achieved well enough. If you’ve never played a football game before there’s Arcade Mode with an intuitive pick-up-and-play control scheme and a comprehensive set of tutorials. For more seasoned players can go head-to-head in the game’s demanding Pro Mode that turns off AI and visual assists. Arcade Mode and Pro Mode have nothing to do with difficulty differences – is simply that Arcade Mode has “training wheels.” Once you’re more familiar with the controls and the play environment, you can move into Pro Mode although you can still turn the assists on and off in Custom Mode.
One of the biggest impacts about this game is the physics; everything works incredibly, and the engine sustains the game just fine. The engine is created by NaturalMotion, the company behind the groundbreaking euphoria animation technology featured in Grand Theft Auto IV and Star Wars: The Force Unleashed. NaturalMotion is the first company to create 3D character animation software based on Dynamic Motion Synthesis (DMS), a technology that utilizes adaptive behaviors and artificial intelligence to simulate the human nervous system. The ball leaves the hand when it needs to and not a second too soon or late, if two people come in contact, they collide and stumble in the proper direction, no phasing was noticed at all. Not many current sports games feature such physics and even if it does, it can be noticed that at times it’s quite unrealistic, but Backbreaker retains that realism along with all that fun.
The sounds in the game are authentic in every way, from being hit, to the ball flying through the air, you can even hear the grunts and the shouts of the players whenever they are tackled. The sounds at times are so realistic that you almost feel the pain of these virtual players, like you are actually there playing with them. Given that you’re actually on the field, one thing that you’ll notice is that there isn’t any color commentary. What you do hear is the various instructions and comments from your fellow players.
With a sports game one of the most important aspects is the control system and setup. A lot of control schemes are confusing and intimidating but the developers of Backbreaker have made the choices intuitive and easy with a logical control method. For instance, flicking up on the joystick to pass is an instinctive move and these are the types of thought process that have been included in the game.
Along with this Backbreaker’s camera system has been designed to complement the controls with a first person angle using dynamic fields of view, shaky cameras and play zooms. This makes for the most realistic simulation of being a quarterback to date with real life challenges, forcing you to think ahead. The camera system gives you the feeling of being in control of the player, feel the intensity of the tackles and brings you right down into the middle of the play on the field. The flexibility allows you to zoom back behind the quarterback to get a better view of the field, zoom into the receiver and then go into aggressive mode as you juke, spin, hurdle and even showboat your way into the endzone.
There’s a full league system complete with great in-game customization tools. You can tweak an existing team or create a new one entirely from scratch using the myriad of colors, shapes, letters, cutters and blockers found in the customization kit. Making your own team with the toolkit is very in depth ranging from uniform and helmet design with flexible team logo creation down to the .player statistics. The limits are truly only restricted by the confines of your imagination. There are 60 pre-loaded teams but you won’t recognize any of their names or team elements as belonging to the NFL. You will recognize, however, the completely modeled stadiums of the NFL, in full detail.
Backbreaker has plenty of league type and modes to keep you engrossed. In Road To Backbreaker you create a custom team, start them out in an 8 team league and promote them up based on their wins and losses, eventually competing in the Backbreaker Bowl. As with a real football franchises there is plenty of drama in between the games creating a feeling like you’re really managing the team.
Backbreaker will constantly keep you on your toes and at times it will make you jump from your seat from excitement or dismay. It blends the playability of an arcade game with the fluid motion and realism of a simulation. If this game became anymore realistic, you might as well be playing real football.