"Much improved over last year"

I had really low expectations coming into this game. I like NCAA 2005, but it felt different because it was practically impossible to have a realistic experience. The CPU AI was terrible in 2005 but makes a great leap for 2006.

Sound - 8/10

The fight songs during the game still sound pretty much the same. While that isn't really a bad thing since they sound good, EA still could have thrown some effort this way. I have high hopes for the sound on the next generation of consoles. The EAtrax is something new for 2006 and it is really a mixed bag for me. Some songs are more tolerable than others but after all its just background noise for when you are at the menu screen.

Graphics - 9/10

This is one area where EA made a great leap. Players look more lifelike and real instead of static and stiff. There are a lot more animations where your runner can fight for extra yards by keeping his legs pumping for more yardage.

Gameplay - 10/10

This is the big area of improvement. The CPU now runs the ball with a decent rate of success. If the opposing team has an "impact" player (designated with a white cirle under the player on the field) then it becomes more difficult to stop the run. Last season I won games because the CPU could not run the ball well enough to sustain an offense for 4 quarters. This year the CPU mixes in options and play action seamlessly into the play calling.

On the Human side of things, WR drops are still a slight problem. A few times I can recall a player being wide open and not making the catch. That can be fixed by just manually catching the ball yourself. The running game feels more loose in that you can actually break long runs this year.

Control - 6/10

EA tryed to pull a fast one and switch around the controls. The reason this score isn't zero is that you can change them back to 2005. The control is still as responsive as always, I just decided to penalize EA here because there is no reason to change the controls at all.

Replay Value - 10/10

New to this year's game is the "Race for the Heisman" mode where you create a high school player and go through drills to see how you are rated. Then you get scholarship offers from interested schools. You get a menu screen that is like a dorm room. You have a trophy case, calendar, and even a picture of a girlfriend. Even with this new addition, dynasty is the main mode of the game. Dynasty gives you full control of your team's recruiting, rosters, play calls, and everything in between.

Also new to this year's game are "Spring Drills". You can choose from 4 different mini-games such as option attack and the oklahoma drill. These are pretty fun at first but then you realize it is the same thing over and over with little reward for pushing yourself to the limit. Still, it is better than not having them at all.

Rent or Buy? I say buy if you are a hardcore college football fan. If you like football and aren't really sure, I would rent to make sure this is the game for you.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 07/18/05

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