Review by DarkAngel13

Reviewed: 07/18/03 | Updated: 07/18/03

Welcome to Saturday

NCAA Football. Every Saturday during the Fall season, people from all over the country get ready to see their school play. This years edition of NCAA Football is by far the best one yet (wow, first paragraph and it already sounds like last years review.) There is so much new stuff though in NCAA Football 2004, that you almost can't believe that it came that far from last year. There's Sports Illustrated added to the game, there's Online rivalries, there's even your chances to relive some of the greatest games in college football history (Flutie's Hail Mary, The Play, last years Fiesta Bowl) and it even has more teams than last year. That's right, instead of already having about 140 college football teams, fans (like me) of some I-AA schools told EA Sports, and for the first time in college football history, the Montana Grizzlies (Plus 35 other new I-AA teams) are in the game.

In college football, there's only two things that matter. The first being that you want to beat your hated rivals. The second though, from the people in the swamps of Florida cheering for their beloved Gators, to the farmers of the midwest cheering for their Cornhuskers of Nebraska, to the Kameron Krazies of Duke (well, they really have nothing to cheer about in college football...), all they want is the only other thing that matters, a national championship.
How you try to go by this is to be your team, and go through the season as best as you can. You want to do that so that you can either win your conference, or get a bowl bid. After the season though, you have to deal with the problems that real teams have. You have to deal with the fact that your star quarterback is leaving for the NFL for the big bucks. You have to figure out who you're going to try and recruit to keep the school tradition alive. You have to get rid of the players that really aren't helping your team.

The 3 man show of Kirk Herbstreit, Lee Corso, and Brad Nessler are back again at the commentary. There is almost completely new commentary for all 3 of them. During the middle of the game, if your QB is on fire they might be like ''Wow, this kid has 250 yards in the first half!'' All of the fight songs are back in the game, and it really brings the game to life. Also EA Sports has added the classic ''Overrated'' chant into the game. So if you're say, a nobody team like Baylor and you're at home beating Texas, your fans will start with the chant. It's very realistic, and you'd hear that at a real game.

The graphics of NCAA 2004 are amazing again. All of the stadiums look just like their real-life counterparts except for most of the I-AA teams stadiums. Like Washington-Grizzly Stadium doesn't really look to close if you've ever been to a Grizzly game. No Monte, no giant Griz helmet during the beginning of the game (Though they do have the video screen in the right place). All of the mascots look great, as do the players themselves. There are a ton of new animations, which is definitely welcome. There's also the pride stickers for your helmets as well.

The controls are the exact same as last years, which is perfect. On offense X is your turbo/bring up passing icons, while on defense it is to change players. Circle is a spin move on offense, while on D it's turbo. Triangle is to hurdle a defender on offense, while when playing D it's used to jump up to try and pick off a pass. Square is to dive on both sides of the ball. L1/R1 are to juke on offense, while you use them to try and shake off the lineman if you're playing as a defensive lineman, while if you're a cornerback you can use L1 to swat down the ball and you can use R1 (with any defensive player) to ''face up'' to the ball. L2 is to stiff arm on offense, and on defense it's used to get rid of the linemen. R2 is to lateral, while on D it's also used to get rid of the lineman. One of the great things of NCAA 2004 is that if you're really used to the controls for Madden, you can go into the controls and you can change it to the preset Madden controls.

4 different skill levels for the gamers to choose from. There's the Junior Varsity level, which is basically to someone who has really never played a sports game. Varsity, which still isn't too much of a challenge, but is highly recommended over JV. All-American, which is what a lot of people play at because they believe Heisman is too tough. And Heisman, which should be used mainly by the people who have experience from past EA Sports games, or are big shots who thing they can win at anything. If some things seem a little too unreal, then you can tweak the sliders to make the game more realistic.

The dynasty mode of NCAA 2004 is absolutely amazing. You can take a powerhouse team like Notre Dame and keep the tradition alive, or take a pancake team like Mid Tennessee State and build them up into national prominence. You also can also take a I-AA team and bring them up to I-A and build them into the biggest thing to hit college football since sliced bread. The Campus Challenge and pendants are back, which is great because it's fun to collect all of them. The Trophy Case and Rivalry Games are back, so if you want you can play the USC-Notre Dame rivalry and win the Jeweled Shillelagh. One of the main things though that really ups the value, is the addition of the classic games. You yourself can replay some of the most memorable games in college history. You can replay The Play, except this time there's no band. You can do Flutie's Hail Mary all over again. You can redo last years Fiesta Bowl, and in this game, there's no phantom pass interference call.

NCAA Football 2004 is the best college football game yet. Period. Everything just feels so much better than 2003. There's the Sports Illustrated covers in the dynasty mode, the switching of conferences (Like Miami and Virginia Tech to the ACC). There's just so much more, that if you're thinking 2003 will do instead of buying 2004, you're really missing out on a masterpiece of a game.


Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

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