Review by Spoonguy
"All of the Fun of Saturdays in a Video Game"
NCAA 2004 is the first college sports game I bought, but I rented NCAA 2003 so I have experience with the series. I thought 2003 was a great game, but this just blows everything away. This game has great gameplay, graphics, and sound, everything you could hope for in a college sports video game. It makes you feel like you’re the one actually playing on Saturday.
Graphics- This game has amazing graphics. The fields look great, and look as they do in real life. The players were also well done, with a lot of details in uniforms, faces, and other equipment. The uniforms are also true to life. If you walked into a room without knowing someone was playing a video game, you might be fooled into thinking it’s a live game on TV. 10/10
Animations- Animations in sports games is critical, because if it doesn’t look smooth, the game won’t be realistic. But everything is smooth and this game, adding to the realistic feel. There are new tackling animations, which look great, and it just isn’t the same thing every time anymore. The RB moves look great, it’s not choppy at all. Everything is smooth, and this game looks beautiful. 10/10
Sound- Once again, you have dozens of fight songs that play on the menus while you’re checking out stats or whatever. They are great compared to their real-life counterparts. The commentary is similar to last year’s, with a lot of leftover lines, plus a few new ones, but there is nothing wrong with that. No comment is ever out of place, and the commentators do their job, describe and analyze the game being played. The sounds in the game are great. You can really tell the difference when the safety hammers your quarterback, and when the cornerback just gets enough to bring down your running back. You can hear the pads banging down in the trenches every play. As EA says, “If it’s in the game, it’s in the game.” 10/10
Options/Variety- You can customize just about everything in this game. I believe every Division 1 team is in the game, plus a number of Division 2 teams, plus a ton of Classic Teams to pick from. You can just play an exhibition game if you’re in a hurry, or start a dynasty and begin your quest for the National Championship with your favorite team. There is also Rivalry Games where you can win trophies for your showcase, and you can have a pennant collection, which allows you to unlock secret teams, team stat upgrades, and mascot teams, games you can play with your team’s mascot. One of the best additions this year, however, is the Classic Game mode. You can relive some of college’s greatest games, and change history, like Doug Flutie’s hail mary to beat Miami, the Snow Bowl, or last year’s National Championship. There are a ton of game modes to play, and they’re all a lot of fun. 10/10
Control- Great controls in this game. You have many moves with your RB to make the defenders miss, or defensive line moves to get past the blockers to get in for the sack. If something goes wrong when you’re playing, 99% of the time you can’t blame the controls, because there is only one problem I have with them, and it might not be a problem with you. After playing Madden 2003 so much, I’m used to L2 and R2 being stiff arms, one for each side. But in NCAA, only L2 is stiff arm, and R2 is used to lateral to your teammates if you don’t want to get tackled. Personally, I had a hard time getting used to that, and I fumbled a few times, but that’s just me. 9/10
Gameplay- Great gameplay. It’s just like real college football, you’re the coach while you call the play, the QB taking the snap and throwing it to your deep threat, and then you’re the WR doing the Heisman Pose in the End Zone, and getting flagged for 15 yards for Unsportsmanlike Conduct. You do it all. You can pick the perfect play for that 3rd and Inches situation. You can run any trick play you see in college, which is a lot of fun. If you see it on the field on Saturdays, you’ll see it on the game, whenever you play it. 10/10
Replay Value- You’ll be playing this one until NCAA 2005 comes out. It’s fun playing Dynasty mode for years on end, and trying to win all of the Rivalry Trophies or collect all of the pennants. This game has countless hours of fun to be played. Everything is so deep, you probably won’t get tired of this game for a while, unless you’re playing it 24/7. 10/10
The Bottom Line- Buy this game. Even if you have NCAA 2003, this one is far superior to it in EVERY SINGLE WAY POSSIBLE. I’ve never given a perfect score before, but this game deserves it, a whole lot. Overall- 10/10
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 07/16/03, Updated 07/16/03
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