NCAA Football 11
College football at its best!
Posted 2 years ago By - Jay Acevedo
To me, the NCAA Football franchise finally left its “The Other Football Game Done By The Madden Guys” name tag at home after last year’s version. Additions like TeamBuilder and notable gameplay fixes made NCAA Football 10 a game worth checking out, setting the franchise on an equal quality level with Madden. Allow me to say this right away: NCAA Football 11 does not feature a long list of new modes. In fact, those who played last year’s game will feel a tiny sense of deja-vu. How, then, can this game be “better”? Honestly, I hate it when a developer starts adding features that they claim will make this “THE Mother of All Versions”. In my opinion, claims like these tend to indicate that said changes are sure to leave the hardcore fan disappointed, even if the most casual gamer does not take notice.
However, in NCAA Football 11’s case, it’s the small additions and changes that may not seem to be that important at first, but ends up making this version THE best of the last five iterations of the franchise.
The first thing players will notice is how amazingly gorgeous the presentation level has become. The long-awaited and much-needed ESPN integration along with the return of authentic team entrances make this year’s edition stand-out amongst those of the past. However, it’s the overall visual presentation that grabs the attention. The improved lighting system does a great job of showcasing the player and stadium renderings, but it’s the new locomotion animation engine that leads the way. It adds the realism that has been lacking in NCAA football franchise since the current console generation began. Players move fluidly on the field, but far more important is how their formerly canned reactions to in game happenings feel less scripted. The introduction of a new animation engine may bring its share of technical issues. Nonetheless, aside from the scarce texture clippings that slipped in throughout the series of games I played, the engine holds its ground almost perfectly at all times.
Stadium sounds continue to make you feel like you are part of the action, and the commentary is as good as it was last year. As annoying as Lee Corso was, not having to listen to his random and idiotic chatter this year did bring about the realization that Kirk Herbstreit and Brad Nessler aren’t very exciting either. All sport games come to suffer from this at one point or another, as voice-overs do become repetitive after a while. Good thing it doesn’t hurt the overall experience, even if new recorded lines would be gladly welcomed by even a semi-frequent player.
While there were some new additions, anyone who might be expecting huge changes, especially to the offline Dynasty and Road to Glory modes, may find themselves to be a tad disappointed. Though Dynasty saw the addition of small elements, the Road to Glory mode is where the lack of new content really its the sad button. I wasn’t a big fan of Erin Andrews, her virtual show and the mode itself, but to see it not getting more attention this year actually made me realize that if I were to find a Road to Glory-less NCAA Football 12, I would not shed a tear. When Mrs. Andrews’ video cut-scenes are exactly the same as they were last year, it does make one wonder if both EA and Erin really wanted to do something fresh. However, I admit that taking a high-schooler to the NFL has a certain appeal and there are faithful and devoted RtG fans out there. To them, not seeing any changes or additions to their favorite mode might come as a punch in the gut. As Dynasty goes, the emphasis has been put towards recruiting more than anything else. An interesting point reward system, which can either make your school gain or lose credibility against another, has been added alongside an improved telephone call recruiting system. These two additions will make recruiting an enjoyable task rather than a dull necessity.
If you play a lot online and enjoyed last year’s Online Dynasty, the new Dynasty Wire and Dynasty Anywhere modes will certainly make you a happy (and busy) gamer. Dynasty Wire acts as your team’s blog. You can write post-game recaps but also upload video highlights from your latest game and post pictures and stats as well. That info can later be viewed by other members in your dynasty league, either in-game or via PC. Dynasty Anywhere allows you to work on your team via the EA Sports website using either a PC or mobile device. This will allow someone to play a game just before leaving town for vacation and continue working on their team while riding in the passenger seat. Although these additions will make the purists incredibly happy, how many people will actually use them? Personally, I’m not that into online franchises, but one of my friends almost jumped to the ceiling when I told him about the new features.
May I remind you that in order to enjoy the online side of the game, users will either need to buy the game new and redeem the code printed on the back of the booklet or shell out $10 separately if buying the game pre-owned. The returning TeamBuilder feature also requires online activation, and since NCAA Football 11 now allows owners of custom teams to play against each other online, gaining an Online Pass will be essential.
Most importantly, gameplay in NCAA Football 11 builds upon the great improvements made last year, and even having said a lot of positive things already, it’s here where the game truly shines. Among these improvements is the inclusion of new, optional dual-stick controls. Dual-stick relegates juking to the left stick while the right stick controls your offensive player’s upper body. It may take a few games before getting accustomed to the sensitivity, but once you get it, you make take to it. Also, thanks to the new locomotion engine, running for that extra yard or taking the opponent’s defense by surprise with a combination of slick moves has never been more satisfying. One more note about getting that extra yard: offensive line blockers now seem to respond better to running needs, especially when deciding to jet up the middle. It’s rather curious to see effective run blocking in an NCAA game before Madden. Besides rushing, the passing system has yet to be perfected, even though a notch of realism has been added by giving receivers the ability to complete sideline catches. Last year, I might frequently be found cursing at my TV screen after missing various chances to score a touchdown, because my player couldn’t toe drag at the right moment. While toe drags were possible in NCAA Football 10, it happened very randomly. Now, put that star receiver in the right situation, and they will make the play you’re hoping for.
EA’s willingness to offer gamers an authentic college football experience was shown by them adding eight team-specific offensive styles to this year’s game. Other additions worth mentioning include the option to remove the use of the turbo button for a more realistic level of play, and a revamped No Huddle Offense which allows your team to go right back on the attack and gives access to your full playbook with the press of a button.
Hardcore Road to Glory fans may not agree with my final statement, but NCAA Football 11 is the best game in the current generation series and is definitely a solid and important improvement on its predecessor. What EA Tiburon/EA Canada have accomplished deserves all the praise I can give. Will NCAA Football 12 be as impressive? It does not seem like further additions can be brought to the online spectrum of the franchise, but pressure to deliver an even better and complete product is definitely on.
+ Improved AI. Blockers benefit from it.
+ Amazing presentation
+ Great environmental sounds and music
+ Although Dynasty Wire and Anywhere are interesting...
- Road to Glory mode isn’t impressive at all
- Commentary gets old quickly
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Release Date : 2010/07/13
System : PlayStation 3
Publisher : Electronic Arts
Developer : EA Tiburon
Category : Sports
ESRB : E
7.0 / 10
8.5 / 10
8.0 / 10
8.7 / 10