It’s that time of the year again, and Coca Cola themselves couldn’t be any happier. NCAA Football 10 was released at midnight launches everywhere this year to very eager football fans and we can finally kick off the 2009 football season with the very first official American football game to hit the market. Was it worth the wait? Read on for the full review.
With all of the talk about EA Sports’ titles not getting big enough overhauls to warrant a $60 purchase each year to play everyone’s favorite sport virtually, EA manages to introduce key features and gameplay tweaks that throws any of that right out of the window. NCAA Football is not an exception to this rule as EA Tiburon has set out to change the way we customize our own experiences.
Touching on the way the game plays (perhaps the most important aspect for not only football games, but sports games overall), NCAA Football 10 is rock solid. The 1000 new animations included in this year’s game really shines and serves its purpose of making the game feel more realistic and fluid. This is especially evident in plays such as running and play action plays, where sliding and gliding is now a thing of the past. Dropping back for a long past looks and feels great as your quarterback has to take each and every step to get into position, and new catching and tackling animations all go toward a game that feels almost entirely new. It’s not all perfect, though. I’m disappointed to see that AI runners can still zigzag as if we were engulfed into the world of Tron. Not to mention break-tackling which, although tweaked to give you a better sense of actually breaking tackles, still seems to put the defense at a huge disadvantage.
I think one of the smallest additions technically (but bigger in providing a better experience) is the rush notification while passing. If your quarterback has a decent awareness rating, your controller will vibrate as he feels the rush coming on. This has saved me on numerous occassions, as we all know we can’t possibly go through our progressions and keep our focus on the trenches at the same time. It also makes you feel as if you’re in the game as the vibration will change your train of thought as you figure out how to make the best out of a soon-to-be devastating situation. Other key additons such as auto-passing (which allows you to leave the pass completely up to the AI if you don’t touch the controller after hiking the ball) and procedural awareness (which is supposed to allow your receivers and defensive backs to follow the ball as it soars through the air) were introduced to help create a better passing game but, unfortunately, I have not been able to notice this as well as the tech demos we saw earlier showed it.
Problems aside, though, it still plays fantastic and the game is better than it’s ever been. I would’ve been ecstatic to see the changes to the presentation as we’re seeing will be included into this year’s version of Madden NFL (made by the same studio), but NCAA Football remains visually static in comparison to 2009’s version. A lot of other things haven’t really changed much, either, with the Road to Glory mode being last year’s Campus Legend mode with Erin Andrews and a better dorm room to walk around in and, online dynasty, while great, still doesn’t provide us with a web-based interface used to help manage our team’s rosters and view schedules.
If there is one big reason to own this year’s NCAA Football, though, it’s TeamBuilder. We’ve seen create-a-school before, but never to the extent that it’s been done here. Anything and everything about your school is customizable. Upload your own custom logos, use your own colors, design your stadium from the bottom up, design your marching band squad and cheerleaders’ outfits, and way too much more. For the hardcore football gamers, the creative gamers, and the gamers who like extreme customization alike, this is the mode that we’ve all been waiting for in ANY sports title.
Overall, the game is worth a buy if you’re a fan of college football, a customization nut, and have not played much or any of the previous offerings. I would be cautious in approaching the style of play coming from NFL-style football: small differences can make for even the most indesirable experience (as many have already expressed). This is as good as college football will get, but if you’re just looking for football period, you might be well-advised to wait for Madden NFL 10 releasing very soon.
AnalogHype Rating: 8.5/10
Buy Rent Demo Rating: Buy