Review by SwizzDot
"Rented for the Draft Classes, But Might Be Worth Buying"
NCAA Football 07 is the latest in the long running college football franchise from EA Sports. Its newest features which include Spring Games, Spring Drills, "Be a Campus Legend" (which is essentially a fresh take on "Race for the Heisman") and several new control options that are a nice touch.
The biggest changes are in the controls, which change the way you're used to kicking, playing special teams and jumping the snap.
- The new kicking scheme is similar to the tiger woods method of hitting a ball, pull back the appropriate length and smoothly push forward. This works extremely well for extra points, but I've found on the higher levels it's a bit erratic trying to kick an angled field goal from as little as 25 yards. This is because to kick on an angle you must direct your kick and then proceed to draw the right analog stick back to the bottom and to the right or left and push it forward in the opposite direction. For example: for a kick from the 30 yard line on the right hash mark, you'll want to draw the stick back to approximately 5 o' clock and push it towards 11 o' clock.
- The new jump the snap feature is a great addition and makes playing as DTs and DEs extremely rewarding. To jump the snap you have to pretty much guess when the ball will be hiked and slam down on the X button. This allows your player to either explode off the line or be pummeled if he is late on the jump.
- The last big addition to play style is the 3rd person camera which is implemented on returns and block situations. This is a camera that is very low to the ground and directly behind your player giving you a feeling of having blinders on especially while returning a punt. Makes returning punts a little more exciting albeit more dangerous without the vantage point to see just exactly how close pursuers are.
Spring Drills are a new take on the mini drills of NCAA 06, which includes the 40 yard dash, a WR/DB 1-on-1 drill, Rush Attack (from Madden) among others.
Spring Game is exactly what it sounds like, it's the intra-squad scrimmage that your local college team plays every march or so. Won and lost on points for first downs and touchdowns and turnovers, a nice diversion from the regular exhibition modes if mascots aren't your thing.
"Be a Campus Legend" is the fresh take on "Race for the Heisman" which I feel took what was good about the previous installment and makes it a lot better, and much easier to play over the four year period. Daily practices and optional "Nightly Activities" effect your campus popularity as well as your ratings which are constantly upgradeable provided you perform well at practice. There is also much more customization in this year's version seeing as you essentially come in as an athlete student, depending on how you do in your spring drills, you're allocated a certain number of points (up to 80 I believe) to disperse at your discretion.
Now for the meat and potatoes of the game. The actual game-play. Over the last 4-5 years I've been a much bigger fan of the Madden series instead of the college game, the main reason for this is Madden's attention to detail seems a bit more refined in most regards. However, most of this has changed with the 07 game for me. The In-Season recruiting options give a bit more of an AD vibe and the end of season recruiting is still top notch. The disciplinary obligations seem a bit less randomized than in 06. Where it would be 1-2 different random players every week, which made it difficult to suspend a player more than a game, it seems to be fairly consistent now and based on your option to recruit a player with poor discipline.
On the field this game performs like a champ in most aspects. There are only several problems that I can point out and here they are.
- Passing to the left side will work 4/5 tries if done patiently, whereas I find it's almost impossible to pass to the right, save for a drag route.
- Rushing is done extremely well, also option is just as responsive as ever, but you must find "money plays" if you ever want to break something more than 5 yards. This isn't an option.
- Passing defense is a joke, you're better off only playing as linemen because you'll never win a jump ball and if that receiver's behind you then you're toast.
Other than that, the game plays extraordinarily well. Blowouts aren't easy but they can be done. However, with the momentum meter, which really doesn't hold as much weight as the box would lead you to believe, you have to be careful of an elastic scoring battle. Where you'll jump to a 24 point lead and they can come back with 21 before you blink. Fumbles, injuries can come as an onslaught when they steal any bit of your momentum back.
Overall I really enjoyed this game, if you're a college football fan then by all means I really recommend this game for you. If you sit on the fence between NCAA and Madden as I do most years, this is definitely worth a rental, because I feel this is the best of the ps2 bunch. If you're strictly a Madden person? Stay away, after Maddens emphasis on defensive improvements the last several years, you're liable to have a stroke unless you're craving offensive explosions.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 07/31/06
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