GAME STUDIO DESCRIPTION: The videogame sports season kicks off with NCAA Football 2005, the best-selling college football game-and this year it’s all about the home field advantage.
For the first time in a football videogame, the game day atmosphere directly affects players’ on-field performances. Track the crowd’s impact on your players to see if they can withstand the pressure and find key personnel mismatches with the new Match-Up Stick. Then celebrate big plays with new fan celebrations like the Gator Chomp and Texas Hook ‘Em Horns. Only NCAA Football 2005 puts you inside the stadium to deliver the real emotion, collegiate atmosphere, and traditional gameplay of college football.
NCAA Football 2005 also features online tournaments, a deeper EA SPORTS Dynasty Mode™ where you manage an entire program including discipline, grades, and player happiness, and a host of other gameplay enhancements. The best college football game just got even better.
GRAPHICS: If this game had top-notch graphics like Madden it would be the single greatest football game ever. Thankfully the animations are well done yet its hard to get past the lack of detail to the player faces. The graphics don’t look like they have been updated as much of the game looks similar to the season before. It would appear all the attention was paid to adding depth of play—not a bad thing however some graphic tweaking and polish would have made this game perfect.
PLAY: If you are familiar with EA NCAA Football than you could jump right in here and hit the ground running—except perhaps on defense. Defense is a whole new story; L2 is used for big hits that punish receivers especially. There is nothing more than setting up your safety to blast a receiver who is about to make an extended grab. It’s something he won’t forget and can cause the receivers to drop passes. Conversely, this year it’s harder to complete a pass. The defensive backs are better than ever—overly so.
There is a nice tutorial that goes through the new game additions like home field advantage, the option play, defense, etc. Home field advantage is a wonderful new addition. When you are on offense if the crowd is into the game and roaring you’ll find your controls shaking and the screen blurring as if you’ve had one to many beers. On the flipside of that, when you are on defense you can incite the crowd with your defense and get them screaming to help you out.
Another fantastic and yet complex feature is how composed your players are and how they match up with the opposing player. The right analog stick lets you know how your player matches up. The more you get blown up the less composed your player becomes and can make a great player hard to match with an opposing lineman.
The reason NCAA Football is the best of the best is its dynasty mode. The recruiting is amazing mostly because it is unbelievably involved. You could spend hours toying and tweaking your roster. The breadth of recruiting can become as overwhelming or as fun as playing the game itself. I love the recruiting aspect and is like bringing up your own kids as you trying to make your struggling college football team, mine was Kansas, from a two star football team to a six star, top ten team. It’s like nurturing a baby and yet it is the most addictive thing since cigarettes and alcohol (neither of which am I addicted) without all the side effects, potentially. There is a new feature in recruiting that involves discipline. If your player misses practice, class, or does something that disrupts the team you can either choose to take action or ignore—trust me it will affect you down the road one way or another. It’s a wonderful addition.
Dynasty mode isn’t the only way to get your game on. There is the campus challenge, mascot games, and big games where you can play some of the must exciting games of all time and potentially change the outcome. And yes you can play online—but you better be good—I got my you-know-what handed to me when I played Kansas versus someone playing as the lowly Buffalo Bulls.
SOUND: The commentary by Brad Nessler, Kirk Herbstreit, and Lee Corso doesn’t sound updated. Thankfully the crowd noise and home field advantage has added more depth and a real advantage to game play.
FRANKLY: There is nothing cooler than to see your school’s mascot, cheerleaders, stadium, and team in a game you can play. The environments mean something this time around and that is a great addition. Why weren’t the graphics updated this time around? Of course Madden gets a lot of the attention, but NCAA deserves more attention—it is a top notch game that deserves better graphics. If the graphics were on par with Madden this would have received a 10/10. NCAA Football 2005 is easily the best college football game–period!
+ Ralphie Wright