For well over a decade, the Madden Franchise has been one of the most successful franchises in all of games, not just sports games, but games in general. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that this country runs on football. Ironic, since baseball is considered America’s Pastime, but if there’s any doubt of the following football has in this country, look at the fact that college football is one of the most watched sports right below the NFL. Just think of the concept here, if you were to go out to a bar to watch Texas vs. Oklahoma in the Red River Shootout, you’re going to be watching players play who are all younger than you are. So it’s no surprise that EA Sports is also responsible for another very successful franchise, NCAA Football.
Every sports gamer knows the summer schedule; July provides NCAA Football and August provides Madden. Every sports gamer also knows of the trade in offer that some stores offer: Trade in NCAA Football when purchasing Madden for an even exchange, or something similar to it. They automatically assume that within the month, you will be willing to give up NCAA for the NFL. This year, the offer is available again, but I am sure there will be significantly less people using it.
NCAA Football 10 is hands down the best of the franchise. There was a lot of hype building up for this year’s release, stemming back to when they unveiled the create-a-school website. Thousands of players went to the site to create their own schools, or just make one up, and those same thousands of players purchased the game so they could download and play their teams. In my opinion, that was a brilliant move by EA Sports; to give the curious gamer a sneak peak into the world of the franchise without them even playing a game. So it would have been very easy for the franchise to have a mediocre year and still have high sales based on that, but this year, they delivered.
This year, NCAA Football 10 revamped on their already successful Road to Glory mode by adding ESPN super-hottie, Erin Andrews. Once again, in the RTG mode, you play as a high school senior in the state playoffs and depending on how well you play in the tournament, will depend on what your attributes are, as well as which school will offer you a scholarship. Erin Andrews chooses you to be her focus on her report which will catalog your college career. Once on a team, if you’re not the starter at your position, you can earn your spots on the depth chart by performing well in practice during the week, and don’t forget to keep your GPA up…
The Franchise mode also received a facelift. With the use of the Create-a-School website, you can insert your team into any conference and make a run for a national title. The new recruiting feature is more in depth than previous years and now offers a feature allowing you to recruit against a competing school. Also, new to the game this year is the option to purchase add-ons directly in the game. For example, for around $2 you can buy a recruiting adviser, who gives you tips on new prospects, and unlocking recruiting options for players. In a few years, your bottom-feeder school could be top of the polls.
One of, arguably, the best new features in this year’s release is the new Season Showdown. In the Season Showdown, you pick a school, ONCE!, to represent whenever you play, no matter who you play with. I chose to represent the Texas Longhorns, so every time I play, even when I play with my created school in dynasty mode, I accumulate points for the Longhorns. The points are all added up and made into a leader board so the gaming world can see where their school stands in the country (Texas was #3). Points are awarded for Skills, Strategy, Sportsmanship, Trivia, and more. Hook ’em Horns!
Visually, the game added a few new features like the band introductions in the beginning of games. They also updated the stadiums and made the crowd a bit more realistic and lighting changes from the sun based on the time of the game. The gameplay received minimal changes because, it really didn’t need much more. They added better gang tackles and a few new jukes and moves as well as the “gameplan” feature, which allows you to control how aggressive or conservative your team plays.
All in all, this year’s NCAA Football is a strong contender to be considered on of the best games of the summer, and with the Madden release date approaching, don’t expect that to change.
Overall Rating: 9.5