Game Company’s Description: No other football game delivers the spirit, atmosphere, and emotion of college football like NCAA Football 2004. Celebrate the history of college football with classic teams like the 1924 Notre Dame Fighting Irish, or replay one of the 20 greatest college football games from the last two decades. Feel the tradition of college football Saturdays with all-new pre-game introductions and experience the in-game pageantry with new mascots, flag-waving cheerleaders, and cannons. Key Features for 2004: Take the rivalry online: Battle Michigan vs. Ohio State, USC vs. Notre Dame, Oklahoma vs. Nebraska, and more in online head-to-head exhibition games. Follow the stat leaders across the country in the Online Top 100. College-style gameplay: Get in the end zone with new trick plays like the Halfback Throwback and Wide Receiver Double Reverse Pass. New animations include sideline tackles, stumbles, new over-the-shoulder and basket catches, user-controlled celebrations, and much more. See the receivers better through a new QB Rollout camera and use the Play-Action Pass camera to fake out the defense. New College Classics mode: Replay 20 of the greatest college football games from the last two decades. Take over the game at a key situation, relive the glorious victory, or change history with an upset. Over 150 new teams: Play as one of 36 new 1-AA teams or one of the 100+ NEW Classic Teams including 1930 Notre Dame, 1956 Oklahoma, 1972 USC, 1985 Auburn, and 2002 Ohio State. Continuing the dynasty: Project the season’s top performers with the new Pre-Season All-American Team and revel in your weekly accomplishments with new Sports Illustrated magazine covers.
Look: EA makes Madden and every year it looks better. NCAA Football 2004 is a teaser for Madden. The graphics are fantastic. They got detail heavy this time around and it looks crisp. There is a fluidity that doesn’t look faked or forced. The physics are always at odds with the platforms power and yet EA were able to up the anti.
Rushing in the rain causes slipping; tipping the ball seems accurate and even staggering after a hit. What is prettier than sliding a foot in after a catch at the sideline? You won’t see that anywhere else. And you know when your guy is working hard; it’ll show on the jersey. And if you get grass stains on your back you know you’ve been put on your ass. The work put into the stadiums, mascots and creating a school is not even needed yet so appreciated.
Feel: Improved AI makes for a more realistic experience. Sometimes it’s better to remember that football is a tough sport. You won’t walk your way to a first down. You have to fight for each yard and it’ll make you appreciate it when you move the chains. You get the option play. Is that just worth the price of admission, which is if you can get it down to a science – and that isn’t easy.
I’d like to touch on the tutorials. They are absolutely brilliant. I can’t remember a football game taking such time as this to show you the ways of the game and controls, this fantastic addition and sure to be copied by future football releases.
There is a dynasty mode that will surely give you a reason to play until next football season. You create your school; design the uniforms and even the fight song. Huh? Insane right? On top of all that you have to recruit. How deep can you expect a game to get? This is the tops.
Hear: Good commentary from Kirk Herbstreet, Lee Corso and Nessler. They have the usual lame lines that you hear over and again, but what the hell do you expect these three to chill at your house announcing your game? From the sounds of the game to the sound of the crowds this will give you goosebumps and that really says it all.
Frankly: Brilliant. You won’t play a better football game.
+ Richard Carey