Tiburon
EA Sports
Sports
1-4
07.12.04

NCAA Football 2005


"EA Sports, It's in the game!" I can concur to EA's motto after their current production of sports games. EA Sports continues their ongoing ability to develop top notch, high quality, "A" rated graphics with NCAA Football 2005. This football title sustains the necessary elements every football game should contain. Like any game, this game is going to take a few days to get used to due to many of the newly added features and upgraded graphics & gameplay. But being that you are reading this review, it proves that you are a true gamer. NCAA Football 2005 is for true gamers and Herculean football addicts. I myself wasn't pumped for this game to come out. Now that it's out, I'm extremely impressed with it and I cannot stop playing it. For any of you Madden fans out there, get NCAA Football 2005. It is the college version of Madden's NFL Football 2005, which is due out August 12.

During my visit to the E3 show, as many of you know from my Madden preview, I couldn't leave the Madden setup. Therefore, I had the joy of playing Madden and NCAA football. In a comparison, the gameplay is quite similar. It is a great stepping stone to prepare you for the upcoming Madden 2005. Dig into your pockets, get out your credit cards, or ask your parents for some loot! I promise you that this game isn't a disappointment. If your not convinced to buy it now then I can assure you will be by the end of this review.

Graphics

By far, the graphics of this game have improved tremendously. EA Sports has once again made me an enthusiast to the nonstop gameplay of NCAA college football. This is due to the uttermost intense graphics that make me feel as if I were out on the field participating in the game. After mastering the gameplay, the graphics stood out a significant amount more. Every play in my dynasty is intense and nerve-wrecking. More player functions and movements have been added to this eminent game to give it a look and feel as if it were an actual nationally televised college football game. I've concluded from the defensive pass rush, the offensive option, and an airborne field goal kick that NCAA football now holds the best graphics amongst all football games. ESPN football is another great football game just recently released. As for the realism in graphics, a comparison of the two games in my opinion, NCAA takes the gold! What more can I say about the graphics? The stadiums look great, mascots are funny, cheerleaders look good, and the players look real.

Gameplay

Running the ball is somewhat difficult at first. As you play, you will come to find it is essential to have a running game. It gets easier with practice. Another excellent feature Iíve noticed to NCAA, is that when running there are better holes created by lineman. So, use them to your advantage. Also when running, I found the game to be fun and accentuated because it's easier to break the first tackle upon contact of the defender. As for the passing game, it's a nail biting experience and more intriguing. It's all about the home team advantage. There is no greater feeling then being the visiting team to come into town and shut the home team's crowd up with a victory. The fans in this game back you 110%! When being the home team in this game, it's an experience. One major reason this game is so great is because virtually everyone at the football game is involved. You have your crowd going crazy, your cheerleaders jumping around, your band playing music, and your players psyching one another up from the start until the very end of the last play in the game. This game is awesome. Once you start playing, your not going to want to put down the controller. This is probably the first time that I will ever say that the announcers aren't annoying and they fit the game very well.

As for more features to the game, there are once again hot routes. The newly added hot routes to this college football game are the slant patterns. These can be performed by pressing the Y button to bring up the hot route menu and then select whichever receiver you want to throw to (either A, B, X, Y, L, or R). Then you use either white button for slant left, or black button for slant right. There are an abundant amount of option plays added as well. There are single, double, and triple options. You can run an option pass or an option reverse. Once you master the option, there is no stopping you from picking apart the defense. I can sit here and babble on about tons of plays, real clips, and "little significant details," but there's only one way to really understand how heightened this game is. Go out and buy it! When I referred to "little significant details," one example would be on offense. As I said earlier, the crowd backs the offensive home team tremendously. Well, when being a visitor on offense you will find it difficult to call plays and audibles at the line of scrimmage. When snapping the ball, by pushing the white button instead of the A button, the QB will use his feet instead of cadence so that the center will know when to snap the ball (note: only to be used with shotgun formation). For a games' graphics to be that detailed, I say it's pretty damn intense. Another major addition to the graphics that will get you are the celebrations of big plays. These can be performed manually two different ways. Firstly, you can hold down the L and R triggers together, then push either X, B, or Y. The X is player celebration, the B is for fans, and the Y is for mascots. Secondly, you can perform a mild celebration by holding the L trigger down or a more intense celebration by holding down the R trigger.

There are a ton of new features added to make the game hot! To start, there is a "Big Hit" feature added. This is performed by using the white button. By using the big hit feature, it increases the chances of a fumble, dropped pass, or on a bad side it can lead to a missed tackle. There is improved run blocking. There are new run animations and holes by the offense are opened bigger. There isn't much of the running back getting stuck behind blockers anymore. As I mentioned before, home field advantage is an awesome feature added to the game, and maybe even the best! The louder the crowd the greater the impact against the offense. Obviously the bigger the stadium, the louder the crowd. Visiting teams have to play against crowd strength. When playing as the home team, you can pump the crowd up so high that the screen will actually shake and make audible play calling nearly impossible for the offense to call. There are interactive timeouts which basically means you can choose which group in the huddle you want to concentrate on for the very next play after calling a timeout. It will directly address the composure levels and ratings depending on those of your team captains. You can also "freeze" the punter or kicker, and call as many simultaneous timeouts as you want. So, if there are 2 seconds left on the clock at the end of the game, and you have all three timeouts, you can use all three timeouts and build up your running backs composure three times for a sure score. Using the match-up stick is based upon an individuals ability to handle pressure in the game. Pre-snap, the composure and mismatches can be checked.

There is a "custom fans" option where you can choose from many silly options, use a variety of accessories and appearances, and create a fan. As I said before there are custom celebrations. There are more "user stats" kept in the option menu record book. In addition to the many improvements, a good chunk of these added features are in the dynasty mode. The roster was expanded to 70 as opposed to 55. You can name whomever you want to be offensive and defensive captains. You can lose players to transfers and other players may choose to seek your school. There is a "top 25 stadium tracking" which means you can build upon home field advantage if needed. Another interesting feature is the program integrity. You get to keep an eye on players that suffer from academic issues, break curfew, aren't dieting right, and other sorts of team violations. It is recommended that when given the chance to discipline them, you do it wisely and use your points conservatively. Players can lose post season play, TV exposure, or scholarships if your program isn't being ran properly. When recruiting, you can build your own demeanors outside your region. You can unlock prospect attributes before any scholarships are offered. There are accurate conference schedule rotations. The play calling, simulation, and recruiting by offensive and defensive coaching staffs have vastly improved. You can now recruit athletes based upon ability and switch their position around to watch them better progress. Throughout the season there is more improved Sports Illustrated coverage. There are more trophies (28 bowl trophies, 49 rivalry trophies), including the Remington and Doak Walker support. In addition to the Dynasty having many new features, this is the first Xbox Live supported title from EA. There is an even team mode which means there is an even playing field regardless of the true strengths and weaknesses. Online tournaments have been built into the gameplay. There are new scouting reports where you can check any players tendencies. Probably the best new feature is that you can look at how much an opponent calls hot routes, no huddles, calls audibles, etc. So you can look at their favorite playbook and formations. Pretty cool, huh?

Replay Value

The replay value of this game is going to be good all depending on who you are and how much you enjoy college football. Obviously if you're an NFL fan, then your going to go back and play either ESPN or Madden over and over. But if you enjoy college football and understand the rules, then your replay value for this game is going to be pretty high. I finished a Dynasty and I'm still playing because I appreciate college football. If you buy this game, you will play it again years from now because it will be one of those classics such as the one and only "Tecmo Bowl!"

Sound

The game is loud! Put the volume up on your TV and sink into the game. There isn't any need to play custom tracks in a college football game. As you know, all teams have their own bands blowing their trumpets and tubas. I gave extra points to sound in this game for two reasons. Firstly, when playing this game you feel as if your really part of the school of the team your playing with. Secondly, the developer took the time to exemplify every school's own song, which is great! You can go to one of the menu's and listen to every schools own custom theme. School themes are always played at major events with integrity.

Bottom Line:

You don't have to be a college football fan to enjoy this game. If your in high school, then take the time to make your own high school team. Battle through some of the top notch college football teams to make your school the best. You can even pick a college and change all the players on the team by editing them. As far as the bottom line, go out and purchase this game. It's worth every penny. Although I am now finished with this review, I will continue to take my team (Tennessee) to win another bowl and build a stronger program. I have to review lots of games, but NCAA Football 2005 is a game I will find time for in my schedule and you should too! After closely observing every little detail to this game, it leads me to follow it up with an overall 9.3 rating!

Related Links:

Official NCAA Football 2005 Website

-Bobby Bernauer




9.3
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8.3
9.3