Review by Liontower
"Playing without perfection is fun"
I thought I never would need another football game after NFL 2k1 on my Dreancast. It's still true because that game has set the standard in my mind. But there just was something about this game that said ''buy me'' buy me''. Maybe it was the idea of over 100 teams. Maybe it was that cool dynasty mode that I have yet to dive into. Maybe it was the idea of the wild west feel and unpredictability of running a team full of hacks. Yes not having my throws always connect, those occasional big plays , having a higher risk of anything goes fumbles....all that just excited me. So after a weekend of obsessive play heres me report.
The graphics are pretty good, overall. It's pretty crisp looking with some slight anti-alising at times. Players look better with their helmets on. Without helmet during the coin toss their heads just are just too large for their bodies. During some of the heavier weather effects ( rain with heavy fog) things are a little too drab.
The biggest minus has more too do with the lack of meaningful animation between plays. Comparing NCAA to NFL 2k1 makes NCAA look pretty wooden. NFL 2k1 really feels a living breathing thing....you don't see the same animations repeated very often. NCAA's players stand around ringing their hands, adjusting their face masks, and running around seemingly to nowhere. Also during plays tackle animations are repeated a bit too often. Theres this shot in the back reaction to many tackles. In NFL 2K1 if your runner is grapped by the left leg and then hit from the right three stepps later...it moves just as you would see it in your head as happening. Here you get the shot in the back reaction. And finally the stadium crowds... someone at EA sports, go take a look at NBA 2k1. That is probabbly the best 2d crowd I've seen in any sports game. They react to plays according to whats happening. NCAA has a lot of 3 frame animated crowds endless re-cycling. This is just lazy!
Again the folk at visual concepts could teach EA sports a lesson. I think the lesson is get rid of the professional sports casters and get some good voice actors who are happy to get the work. The dialogue just doen't feel loose enough. I almost like the PA guy better because at least he doesn't try to tell jokes.....( telling jokes, trying to be funny, in sports games is generally a bad idea because it gets really really tired after hearing it every game.) The ambient sounds of the game are well done. I especially like the sound of getting hit...nice crunch. School chants, bands...all a plus.
For all it near misses, NCAA is a blast to play. It doesn't feel like the pro game, or NFL 2K1...a good thing. Remember, I wanted something different enough to justify keeping it. The adreniline levels and presentaion splash are not on the level of NFL2k1, its a smaller on the feild experience. You're a little more, one fumble away from disaster. Then sometimes your just totally outclassed and have to squeeze that brain of yours to at least salvage some pride. The important thing it really feels like the game. Enough so that those wooden in between play animations don't matter anyways.
When you total all its parts, I would have no trouble telling my friends to buy this. I'm just salivating thinking about getting that dynasty mode started. I spent hours playing it this weekend, and I want to play some more.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 08/06/01, Updated 08/06/01
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