College Football is a sport where it’s not about the money or endorsement deals. It’s about stepping out on that field every Saturday and putting on a show. EA Sports puts out NCAA Football every year to try to capture the very essence of college football. From when the players run on field to every fight song and college tradition there is, you can find it in some form in the NCAA Football games EA Sports releases. This year, EA Sports has released another NCAA Football Game that’s just not another NCAA Football game, it contains a lot of upgrades to gameplay, graphics and presentation. Will this years version of NCAA Football go for the long bomb and score, or will the game miss the 2 pt conversion.
NCAA Football 12
1-4 Players/2-4 Co-Op (Offline) 2 Players (Online)
Publisher: EA Sports
Developer: EA Sports
Rating: E – Everyone
Price: $59.99 + Tax
Great Graphics – One of the big upgrades to NCAA Football 12 are the graphics. They look so good and are a big step up from what they had last year. With the new HDR lighting, it makes the shadows and player models look realistic. This also affects the shadows on the field, as the game goes on, you’ll see the shadows shift if your game is running a bit long. Another addition, this might be a very small change, but you’ll notice it pretty soon, 3D GRASS.
New and Improved Tackling System – Last year players could fly 5 feet away from the Quarterback, Running Back, or Wide Receiver and still wrap them up. That is no more in this years version of NCAA Football. This year they’ve changed it to a more momentum based tackling system where you NEED to line your tackles up with the running back or wideout and wrap them up. “No more suctioning into tackles” as the developers put it. This addition was NEEDED, there are times last year that a guy shouldn’t have gotten a tackle and did that now won’t happen unless they are absolutely close enough to make the tackle. The tackles look more realistic this year and seeing a guy get flipped trying to hurdle over a defender is always fun to watch.
Improved Dynasty and Road To Glory Modes – Starting with Dynasty Mode, they’ve added the option where you now create a coach and pick if you want to be Head Coach, Offensive Coordinator or Defensive Coordinator. If you pick any of the coordinator positions, you will only control THAT side of the ball until you get a Head Coaching position. This also brought upon the Coaching Carousel which is like watching ESPN for coaching positions. With that new feature you can follow who got fired from what job during the offseason, not only that you can see what schools are interested in hiring you based on your prestige. Its a great addition to the Dynasty Mode and adds a challenge to the mode instead of just picking a team and trying to take them to the National Championship. I mean you’re still doing that, but there’s more to it now.
Road to Glory also had some improvements thrown its way. You still create your player and take them through college and try to be the best whatever position you picked you can be. This year, they’ve added in High School Games. Before you just went through the High School Playoffs then you would select a school based on how well you did. NOT ANYMORE, this year you can choose to go through a 8 to 12 game High School Season and throughout that season you will earn scholarship points. These points will eventually turn into XP in which you use to buy packs that improve your player. Another thing that changed is school selection, throughout your high school season you will have opportunities to add schools as possible choices for where you might want to go once signing day comes. You’ll start out with some low prestige schools after you pick your initial 3 that you have your eye on, but that list will grow as you progress through the season. When you make it to college, you’ll get the chance to compete for the starting spot if you’re not the starter already and earn the coaches trust. This mode went through a complete overhaul and it was a well needed one. Finally there is more depth to the Road To Glory mode than ever before and I welcome it.
Presentation at its Finest – ESPN has always been a part of the NCAA Football games, but this year its in full force. They really spent some time on this part of the game to make sure they captured EVERYTHING. The graphic packages look great and even the tunnel run out and pre game analysis are on point this year. I applaud EA for capturing the very essence of College Football with the presentation this year.
Custom Playbooks are BACK! – While I feel there are some things missing from Playbook Creation, its great to see it back. You can finally make that big passing playbook you’ve been waiting to make since 2009, or find that you like using wildcat a little more than before…put it in there! Playbook creation is back and will use up some to majority of your time while you try to craft the perfect playbook on Offense and Defense.
Offensive A.I. Needs Improvements – I noticed during Road to Glory, my teammates (mostly the running back) acted like they didn’t know what a block was or how to follow a block. When you play as Quarterback, you have no control over how your teammates play. So they can play like absolute ass or play like champions when they want. My main problem is just their I.Q. however, knowing when to follow a block as a running back or when to supply a block on a screen pass or flat route if you’re nearby. It should already be encoded into their virtual DNA.
Wish you Could Make Your Own Plays – This is minor, but I would like to create my own crazy pass and run plays. Better yet, why not my defensive or offensive formations? I guess this is something we might see next year or in the future for NCAA Football and Madden.
The Decision: You dare me to say it……This just might be the BEST NCAA Football game EA has done in YEARS. I know that’s a bold statement, but its true. I haven’t had this much fun with a football game since I started playing the NCAA Football Franchise in 2009. This game brings a lot to the table and shows the football gamer that this is not Madden’s test dummy, that this game can do things better than Madden. I know it’s not a competition between the two games, but NCAA Football 12 has shown that the college football series has grown legs of its own and shed its former title. NCAA Football 12 is a MUST GET and will NOT disappoint you when you pick it up and play it. You have a lot to do in this game and will find the revamped Dynasty and Road To Glory Modes a hit. Go out, Buy This Game, and beat the holy crap out of your opponents! We give this game a 9 out of 10!
This Review is based on an Xbox 360 retail copy of the game sent to us by EA Sports