Video Game Review

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  • Platform: Xbox
  • ESRB: Everyone
  • Players: 1-4
  • Genre: Sports
  • Publisher: EA Sports
  • Developer: EA Sports
  • Suggested Retail: $49.99
  • Graphics: B
  • Sound: A-
  • Gameplay: A
  • Replay: A
  • Fun Factor: A
  • Reviewer’s Wild Card: A+


By Troy Roberts and James Stevenson     July 14, 2004

© Electronic Arts

You can always tell what time of year it is when you being seeing more people sporting football jerseys than what you would normally see (that and seeing your local video game shop packed with a hundred people early in the morning). Yup, with football season just barely a few months away, EA Sports is getting people into the mood with its newest college football game, NCAA FOOTBALL 2005.

Always one of the most anticipated games of the year (along with EA Sports' MADDEN franchise as well), NCAA FOOTBALL 2005 does a lot of new things in this year's edition that were not included in previous versions. Instead of the college football game being a MADDEN clone with new playbooks and college teams, EA Sports added more college style effects to the game. Homefield advantage plays a much larger part in the newest release in the series than before. If you're heading into a big rivalry game, the home team's crowd will be sure to let you know who they're cheering for the screen will shake pretty violently at times (as will your controller), and the crowd noise will become a deafening roar making it nearly impossible for your players to hear a quarterback's audibles.

Also new this year is the composure meter. Much like a stamina meter, the composure meter allows you to see how your players or opponents are holding up under the pressure. If you've got a freshman corner on a senior receiver, the composure meter will let you know that the freshman corner may be losing some composure and that it may be easier to burn him deep. Along with the create-a-player and create-a-team options that are the norm, you can also create your own signs that you will see among the crowd.

Graphically, NCAA FOOTBALL 2005 is


easily the best looking football game on the market right now. The stadiums look so much more realistic now, with many of the championship banners now in place that you would see in the real stadium.

If you're a college football fan, or are just beginning to get in that preseason mood, be sure to pick up NCAA FOOTBALL 2005. It is the best game so far in the series and it adds enough new things to warrant picking it up even if you purchased last year's version. TR

I'm mainly going to focus on what's new in the game with my comments, and what's new in the game works well and keeps NCAA FOOTBALL 2005 quite a bit different than MADDEN something that EA has been striving to do over recent years.

Home Field Advantage is huge in this game, and momentum for INDIVIDUAL PLAYERS is just as large. In one game, my QB had a half where he completed two passes, and then a second half where he tossed six touchdowns. It's amazing the difference in your players based on confidence level and that all feeds off of home field advantage.

It's really cool to hear the stadium get loud, see the screen shake, feel the controller vibrate, and watch your players screw up because of it. It adds a new challenge to the game. The matchup stick allows you to see where you have the advantage on the field as well as the composure of the players on the field.

In addition to that ability to quickly change you routes on the fly to adjust to those matchups, as well as change your audible secretly from the play select screen. Having the ability to essentially call four plays and then choose one at the line of scrimmage is awesome. Of course, you'll have to be quick, but I can just see good players really getting the hang of this. Think of them as experienced QBs reading the defense.

Speaking of defense, the new hard hit buttons work nicely and the game's defense feels as deep as the offense does now. I never really thought D was that tough or complicated before, but all of the extra things in the game add up, and when you're playing in a hostile environment, it's critical.

The Xbox Live support is definitely a huge addition to the game and I know that I'll be on taking on Troy's beloved Seminoles with my Cornhuskers. I haven't thought up any nifty signs this year (think of DEMOREO SPEEDWAGON from Cornhusker games last year) but I'm sure I will soon. Having the ability to control celebrations is quite a bit of fun as well I like fifteen yard penalties. The new kicking system requires more skill, which is good considering I had mastered the hold one.

There's plenty of other goodies like managing program integrity (have fun Colorado fans!), a pretty interface and all of the other goodies you'd expect from a new EA Sports title. Who needs MADDEN when you have COLLEGE FOOTBALL? Not I. - JS

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