|NCAA Football 07 (2006)
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Available for: Xbox 360, Xbox, PlayStation 2, GameCube
Break out your team colors and practice up on your favorite fight song, because the latest installment of “NCAA Football” has arrived early this year, and just in time to get you pumped up for the new season. Featuring an extensive gamut of playable teams, updated playbooks, new on-the-field features and an additional game mode, “NCAA 07” is just what sports fans have been waiting for. Of course, while we love that EA goes all out for its college franchises, we’re far more excited to see what the upcoming “Madden” has to offer, because when it comes to picking just one football game, there’s no competition.
And while the college edition never looks nearly as sharp as the NFL-licensed pro series, “NCAA 07” has one thing that “Madden” never will: a near-flawless simulation of the college experience. This is also the foundation of the latest installment, whether you’re beating your opponent to a pulp with a fast-and-furious style of gameplay or making good use of the new Momentum Meter, which converts big plays into big morale for your team. It also doesn’t hurt to have a couple thousand bodies in the bleachers cheering you on, and as long as you keep them entertained, they’ll follow you all the way to the National Championships. That is, of course, if you’re successful in putting together a winning franchise, all of which can be done through the game’s Dynasty Mode.
You could also always try your luck in the new Campus Legend mode (much like the NFL Superstar option from the “Madden” franchise) – which plays more like an RPG than an actual game of football – where you’ll create a character, send him through summer camp, compete for scholarships and even pick a major. What? That’s right. In this particular campaign, not only will you be representing your school on the field, but off the field as well. That last bit is the clincher, and the very reason why sports games have recently become so dull. Why in the world would someone purchase a video game that fakes college life and forces them to take real-life exams? Is that supposed to be fun? Hardly, but it’s also not mandatory that you try it out, so stop your whining.
Then again, isn’t this one of the premiere upgrades to the latest version of the game? And aren’t these new options supposed to play a major role in your decision to repurchase a specific title? Well, sort of. True, the Campus Legend mode isn’t the greatest addition to “NCAA 07,” but there are plenty of other changes that actually enhance the gameplay you’ve come to know and love. Take for instance the fact that defenders can now get a jump on the O-line (opening up a clear passage to the QB) and finally have the ability to block an opponent’s punt or field goal kick via the new third-person view option. Sure, these probably should’ve been made available on day one, but they’re here now, and that’s all that counts. Plus, Mascot Mode is still available, and we know that that's all you really cared about.