NCAA Football 14 will be released for the PS3 and Xbox360 on July 9th. I spent some time with the demo and wanted to take a moment to share my immediate impressions. (A full review will follow after the game releases.)
The first thing that needs to be said when we talk about any of the EA Sports games is that they are simulators. They are not designed to be easy to pick up and play. Instead, they focus on creating an experience that is authentic. These games assume that the person on the other end of the controller knows a lot about the sport they will be playing. NCAA Football 14 is no exception.
In years past the NCAA games have felt like they were playing the role of the forgotten older sibling in compared to the effort placed on the Madden football franchise. EA just didn’t put the effort into crafting the unique experience that is college football in America . It honestly looked like they re-skinned Madden with college helmets and jerseys and called it a day. Those days appear to be over. I’ll be blunt and save us some time: the game looks and sounds amazing. The animations are smooth. The colors are bright. A casual observer would need to look closely to make sure it wasn’t a live television broadcast. The crowd even sounds believable. Of course,nothing is perfect. Some of the sideline animations can be a little stiff. But, this is still better than in previous years.
There is nothing here from a content standpoint that concerns me in regards to children. This game is designed to be played by football enthusiasts so they will likely have football on in the background most Saturday’s anyway. With that said, if you aren’t a football fan and are just “looking for something for your child to play” this doesn’t look like a great option.
The demo itself provides a preview of the head to head game play by featuring 3 major college match-ups Alabama vs VPI, Oregon vs Texas A&M, and Ohio State vs Michigan. It also includes the Nike Skills Trainer minigame, a heavily stylized tutorial mode that will help newer players get used to the (rather advanced) controls. This is a well executed feature because it manages to turn a boring tutorial into a mini-game with achievements. The minigame will also help unlock players for the “Ultimate Team” mode in the retail game.
The meat-and-potatoes of the game come in the form of Dynasty and Season mode which let you choose your favorite team and try your luck at running them for a season or longer. These modes were, understandably, left out of the demo so we’ll need to wait for the full release to see how they play.
Our copy of NCAA Football 14 is on the way. We’ll have a full review up as soon as possible!