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NCAA Football 11 Review

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On 07/27/2010 at 07:04 AM by Rob DiMola

NCAA Football is back and better than ever.

For football fans.

After a number of iterations, NCAA Football finally feels like it has distinguished itself from the Madden series. The gameplay and the look are totally different, which are what really make it feel like something unique. Though not as big, there are a number of little touches that also separate the two games. With two different styles, buying NCAA or Madden won’t just come down to which league of football you like better.

NCAA Football 11 also has a few new game modes that fill the game with plenty of extra hours of fun. There is an all new online dynasty mode which allows players to take their team online and even access them through the PC. This allows you to recruit players along with receiving emails from other dynasty owners and it even allows you to write articles to appear on the dynasty as a headline. All of these features can also be used on the iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. I prefer using the PC for this feature because it is much quicker and easier to use, but still, it’s a nice feature because it gives players who don't have access to a PC the ability to access their information. Being able to control a team to this magnitude has never appeared in any sports game on the market today, which makes the mode very enticing and set NCAA Football apart from the crowd.

The Road to Glory and regular Dynasty modes are identical to last year’s game, regardless, they are still very enjoyable. There are a few minor differences in the menu, music, and video gameplay, but these changes pale in comparison to the gameplay improvements made to the engine.

The computer’s AI has been made specifically better when it comes to linemen blocking. When you are playing the game you will notice that linemen move into better locations to create blocking like never before. This allows for more time for the quarterback to throw the ball, if say the defense throws out an all-out blitz. Another improvement to the gameplay is the passing. The quarterback finally releases the ball quickly, which was a huge problem in prior games because it often meant getting sacked. As you might expect, this makes the game feel much quicker and more fun.

There are a few minor bugs and glitches but only one worth mentioning because most do not affect the gameplay itself. The only major problem I encountered was when I had a PA pass set on offense. The quarterback ran back and pretended to hand off the ball to the running back and decided to keep running back holding the ball out without my control. This caused a 40 yard loss when I was at the 10 yard line in scoring position. I ultimately recovered from this loss and scored a touchdown, but this could be an issue at times late in games with the game on the line. This glitch seems to happen very infrequently, and will likely be fixed in a future patch, so it’s not that big of a deal.

In addition to a thin issue list, my complaints are also quite minimal. Exhibition mode doesn’t provide player name, just their number. This is frustrating if you can’t associate in your mind what number belongs to what player. Thankfully, this doesn’t really affect gameplay, so it’s easy to overlook.

Many of the cool features in this game that differentiate it from the previous games are born from the smoothness of the game and the accuracy of the actions within it. To elaborate, when you see a tackle or a catch, they are very accurate in terms of how the catch or tackle looks. In many of the older games, if the ball was slightly overthrown or thrown off to the side, the ball will sort of glide into the players hands when there was no possible way the ball could be caught. In NCAA Football 11, the ball is only caught when it’s right on target. This works because the controls are now more accurate, allowing players to target precisely where they want the ball to go.

While playing the game, the music and sound will fade away and players will be provided with current sports news from around the world courtesy of ESPN. This is a huge feature for me because I usually find myself pausing games to go check scores and news about sports. Now there is no need for me to do so, as an announcer reads me the news and the scores are displayed on the bottom of the screen.

Dual analog control is also a new feature of this game. This allows users to twist and turn their players’ bodies to avoid tackles and sacks while gaining the extra yards they need. There are standard jukes and spins as in many other games, but the dual analog control allows for smoother control.

Though dual analog control has been added, the turbo ability has been removed. I was very surprised by this because I always found the need for the turbo button, but this year they tried something new and it works very well. I never found my player running too slow down the field, which invalidated my need to use the ability. The great side effect of removing this ability is that players can show off their talents in the speed department because there is no turbo to alter the true speeds. I’ve seen this in many of the new baseball games out today and it has been a major improvement because players will now run the bases and field the ball at their true relative speed.

Personally, I have never been a massive fan of Madden due to its complexity and slower gameplay. I do still enjoy the games, but I have issues at times. I feel that NCAA Football 11 is EA's greatest work when it comes to football games. I like the simplicity of the gameplay because it allows me to have much more fun in the process. I highly recommend this game to fans of football games because NCAA Football has finally come into its own, with a full set of unique features and new controls and gameplay that are tailored specifically to the college football experience.

Review Policy

In our reviews, we'll try not to bore you with minutiae of a game. Instead, we'll outline what makes the game good or bad, and focus on telling you whether or not it is worth your time as opposed to what button makes you jump.

We use a five-star rating system with intervals of .5. Below is an outline of what each score generally means:

All games that receive this score are standout games in their genre. All players should seek a way to play this game. While the score doesn't equate to perfection, it's the best any game could conceivably do.

These are above-average games that most players should consider purchasing. Nearly everyone will enjoy the game and given the proper audience, some may even love these games.

This is our middle-of-the-road ranking. Titles that receive three stars may not make a strong impression on the reviewer in either direction. These games may have some faults and some strong points but they average out to be a modest title that is at least worthy of rental for most.

Games that are awarded two stars are below average titles. Good ideas may be present, but execution is poor and many issues hinder the experience.

Though functional, a game that receives this score has major issues. There are little to no redeeming qualities and should be avoided by nearly all players.

A game that gets this score is fundamentally broken and should be avoided by everyone.



Our Take

Nick DiMola Director

07/27/2010 at 10:50 AM

Seems like they did a nice job with this one. I think the integration into Madden is a really nice feature. Definitely comes full circle in providing a complete football experience.

I can't say football games are my thing, but I can respect how well done this seems to be.

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