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Mmm… football. I’m not gonna lie, I’ve been looking forward to NCAA Football 11 since, well, since NCAA 10 came out I guess. After renting ’10, I was pretty unimpressed with the ‘upgrades’ made from NCAA 09, and decided to stick with ’09.
But when I read the ‘first look’ on ESPN a few months ago, I was instantly grabbed by this year’s edition. So many long overdue changes were being made, this really seemed like it would be what college football video games have been promising us since they made it to next-gen consoles. But does it deliver? Find out after the jump.
Even though they released a patch on release day, there are still a few hiccups the game has to work out. The QB will randomly run straight backwards for no reason, I’ve had some issues with the game being able to download the appropriate data, my stats aren’t saving in dynasty modes, and the online experience is iffy at times, being unable to connect to the server. But let’s face it, this game is massively popular, this year especially, there’s a huge load on the servers and weird stuff happens sometimes. I’m sure all these issues will be worked out in short order. But when things work right, how is the game?
The running game this year is amazing. So much more realistic, it’s refreshing to actually be able to follow my blocks because I know they’ll block the appropriate people. No more running around with the QBs and letting the ball fly at the last possible moment, if you don’t have time to step into your throw a bit, you won’t be completing the pass, more than likely it will be intercepted. No more chucking the ball deep and simply running past everybody to catch it, even the FCS teams make you work for those deep completions, at least a little. This is a much more sophisticated, realistic game, and it’s a wonderful experience.
EA Sports really pushed the ’120 ways to win’ as this years slogan. They gave all 120 teams a true to life play book, meaning you can play each team exactly the way the execute on Saturdays. They took some of the better known and unique entrances in college football and added those into the game, really breathing some new life into the presentation of the game. If you add in the rosters file download and custom stadium sounds that I showed you last week, this is as close to actually being on the field playing college football that many of us will ever get. Throw in the possibilities that the new edition of TeamBuilder offers and you can create practically any type of experience you can imagine.
Some of the other major upgrades in this year’s game is the make-up of players, and the recruiting system. Momentum was added into the game, making those ‘video game, turn on a dime’ cuts impossible. They also re-allocated the speed vs acceleration system. The game used to totally rely on a players speed rating, now a player with high acceleration will be able to make up for slightly less speed. Racing a player with 90 speed and 99 acceleration against a player with 99 speed and 90 acceleration will get you exactly the results you expect. The 99 acc. guy will get a better start, but the 99 speed guy will pull away in the end. And the recruiting system? No longer are you totally relying on a smiling football to know how much this recruit wants to play for you. You get an exact point total for each pitch you make, and you know exactly how far behind the other teams you are, or how far ahead. It’s a really great change to my favorite part of the game.
I haven’t had a chance yet to mess around with the online portion of the game, but the online dynasties are truly that now… online. I gave you a quick rundown on what that offers, along with some other changes in the game awhile back, so I won’t rehash that here. Overall, I’m very happy with the progress this game is making, if only they packed this much into the game every year to make it worth purchasing on a yearly basis. But I digress. This year’s version though, definitely worth getting, so go get… now!
Rating: 9 out of 10
Publisher: EA Sports
Platform: Xbox 360 and PS3
Cost: Varies [Amazon Link]
Release date: July 13th, 2010