If the world of video game sports were an all night diner, the NCAA Football series would be the potato skins. Familiar and solid, you get them because you know they’ll satisfy, even if you’ve had them a million times before and you’re just waiting for your big helping plate of Madden to come out. NCAA Football 14 is just like you’d expect it to be –it’s solid in all of the right areas, will satisfy the earliest cravings of football fans and start more than its fair share of arguments in dorm rooms across the country; just don’t expect anything new, as this year’s game feels awfully familiar to what came before it.
Perhaps that’s a bit harsh – NCAA Football 14’s new running game is easily its best on field feature. The running game is now based mainly off of weight and momentum, causing more accurate cuts and ankle breaking jukes. For the first time in years, I found myself relying more on running the ball than simply attempting to beat my opponents with a barrage of pass plays. Think of it this way – instead of just barreling into defenders like in recent years and hoping for the best, NCAA Football 14’s run game is more like a rhythm game as the perfectly times juke can break a play and a game wide open. As a result, not only is the running game fun and remarkably addictive, it also goes a long way in helping plan out your strategy for a game, and balancing out your playbook.
Published by: EA Sports
Platform:PS3, Xbox 360
What works: Great team authenticity | Still very satisfying |
What doesn’t work: Very similar to last year } weird camera glitches |
Much like previous years, Dynasty Mode serves as the heart and soul of NCAA 14. Here is where you’ll take your favorite school and hopefully through the right hires and a solid recruiting effort take them to the National Title. The bulk of the recruitment process has been simplified for this year’s game – you’ll no longer be spending your time making phone calls or home visits to potential recruits, instead NCA Football 14 gives you a pool of points that you divvy up amongst your targeted players. Really looking to sign that Quarterback? Send a bunch of points his way. If you’re able to get the player’s interest bar to at least 50%, the computer automatically schedules a campus visit and handles the rest.
The new system is meant to get you out of clunky menus and back into the game faster – I get that, but it seems over simplified. I may be the only one, but I loved engaging with potential recruits and checking to see if their personality was a fit for my soon to be championship Wisconsin Badgers. Yes, I understand that the answers had nothing to do with how they actually played once you got into a game setting, but it was still one of my favorite parts of the NCAA Football series. Now it just seems like though it’s a major feature, it’s just a secondary aspect of the game.
Both visually and audibly, NCAA 14 isn’t much different than NCAA 13. The announcers are still dry and sound like robots calling a game with preset phrases, but the stadium noise is just about right. Stadiums come alive with authentic sounds and chants and the crowd sounds less like they’re watching a game in a tin can thanks to a new recording process which finds the developers actually going to stadiums to record crowd noise. Besides a few new animations to go along with the Infinity Engine, there’s not much new to look at here, but you can gaze at the glitchiness of the game for a bit. One of my favorites was the anti-gravity ball, which constantly moved when on the ground, and apparently the players and refs were amazed by it to because they would constantly just stand and watch it while I figured the game froze.
By now you’ve come to know what to expect from the NCAA Football series – and this year’s game is no different. It’s a more than tolerable football experience that you’re going to find very familiar. The game is still solid in all of the right areas and the team at EA Sports have simplified a number of the cumbersome issues from previous years. Football fans should check out NCAA 14 – at least until Madden comes out.
This review is based on a PS3 review copy of the game provided to us by the publisher.We completed a number of dynasty seasons and lost a lot of friends in the process. We also tried out head to head, Road to Glory and Online. Oh, and we played more than our fair share of mascot games, we are only human after all.