- Buy the Game
Reviewed by Rich DeWester
CAA Football,” arguably one of the most annually anticipated titles from EA, returns with its tenth edition this year. The 2009 model hosts quite a bit of new and innovative additions that attempt to change the way you look and play EA’s college football franchise. Just about every area of this year’s game adds at least a minor tweak. Some you won't notice – like the graphics, which have been touched up from previous years, and the music, which, well, hasn't changed. While EA has outdone itself with new additions, the game still has far more than its share of bugs that should have been worked out. Presentation and extra features are great and all, but it’s safe to say everyone would be a lot happier if the game played without some of the frustrating glitches.
If you played last year’s edition, you undoubtedly ran into quite of few of those, and “NCAA Football 10” is no different – from graphic issues that leave players stuttering in place to A.I. failures that leave blockers deciding not to engage their blocks and running into you instead. (I even had a touchdown overturned because the game said the runner was tackled at the one yard line when he caught it near the back of the end zone.) These bugs can add up and bog down the overall experience, but still, you may find yourself hard-pressed to pry yourself away from the controller.
Franchise mode returns, as well as its online counterpart. This year, as you're contacting your recruits, you can choose to either quick call, call, or recruit against another school, which helps you downplay the other schools’ strong points and get you that edge. This is, like everything else. especially fun online against your friends. There’s also a new control option called Family Play, which dumbs down the controls so you pretty much only need to use one button; apparently, EA thinks your family is stupid. They’ve also added what's called linked plays, so as you run the ball you can now choose to hit your opponent with the linked play action and catch him off guard.
One of the major additions is the Team Builder. While Create-a-Team mode is far from new, it's the way it’s been overhauled that makes it the talk of this year’s edition. You're now able to create and edit everything on your team, from your rosters to your logo, straight from your computer. This is far more convenient than doing it through the console, especially when naming and editing your roster. You're given a huge amount of uniform choices and you can even choose to upload whatever image you please to use as your team’s logo. When you're finished, you simply save it and download your team onto your system compliments of EA's servers. This adds that little something extra to your own personal enjoyment of the game.
The Campus Legend mode has been renamed Road to Glory, and is now hosted by Erin Andrews, who follows you on your campus career and update you on when you have a great week or break a record. There is also Season Showdown, where you pick your favorite team and accumulate points by accomplishing goals like interceptions, touchdowns, and pretty much everything awesome. Then it's added to a pool with everyone else who chose the same team. The best part is that you can actually hurt your favorite team's pool by running up the score or pretty much playing like a jackass and never punting, like every year before. It might be a small step, but it's awesome to see EA try to slap you with some consequences.
All these things add up and give a fresh feel to an annual title, which I can't imagine is easy to do every year, so kudos. I would like to see EA do something legitimate with their downloadable content instead of offering cheats to everything. Why not add mascots or generic stadiums for Team Builder instead of selling you recruit assistance and the other garbage they've released? Then again, I suppose it would just give them better incentive to hold even more of that stuff back next year so they can sell it to you later. Either way, "NCAA Football 10" remains a great buy and a lot of fun.