|System: X360, PS3, PS2, Xbox||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: EA Tiburon||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: EA Sports||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: July 17, 2007||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-4||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Amanda L. Kondolojy
Now for the last 10 years or so, Madden has ruled the football sim scene. Few have come to challenge the football crown since its inception. But with EA taking the helm, perhaps this will be a game to finally provide a viable alternative to Madden's stranglehold .
There are two main ways to play NCAA Football 08. There's Dynasty mode and Campus Legend mode. Dynasty mode lets you pick your favorite college team and players, and play through a regular season to make your school's team the best. This mode by and large works well. Game mechanics, controls, and audio generally work well, and it's a satisfying experience. You can pick your plays, and utilize all your team members in a way that best suits you. To put it plainly, it's very much like the Madden experience, but with college names. Which is not a bad thing at all.
Campus legend, however, is a completely different experience. You step into the shoes of a pre-existing or custom made up-and-comer fresh into his senior year of high school. Your goal: attract the hottest schools and score a scholarship. And then once you do that, it's up to you to become the star player of your chosen school. There are several reasons why this mode doesn't work. First of all, you can only play as your own position. Which makes for a very boring experience. One of the big exciting things about Football games is having the coordination and speed to switch between characters to make plays both successful and cohesive. And when you're only playing as one character, you really loose that experience. When your only task is to decide who to pass to, or whom to tackle, it's not really that difficult or exciting.
One nice little mode that was a welcome addition in my opinion was the mini-game mode. Now normally "mini-game" and "football" don't belong in a sentence together, but in NCAA Football 08, the football centric mini-games are very diverting and nice if you just want to throw around a football for a few minutes instead of playing through an entire game. I also found that the mini-game mode serves as a practice ground where you can get comfortable with the general gameplay.
Controls for this game are very standard football game fare: very complicated. However, the good thing is that they're very intuitive, and although your buttons will be used for many different actions on the field, depending on where you are, and whether you're playing offense or defense, they are all somewhat related, so it's fine by me. If you have any experience with football games, you'll pick this one up right away. However, if this is your first outing with football on a console, then you may want to look elsewhere, because this game lacks any kind of tutorial.
Multiplayer modes work well, and I'm happy to report that this game is great to play with friends. Because my personal experience with football games is more of a social experience, I always give major points to football games that are fun to play with a crowd. Online modes are still a little shaky, but the experience isn't too bad. Unfortunately, I didn't get too much time in with the online modes because I ran into more than a couple glitches and kept got kicked off due to an "EA server error". Don't quite know what the bug was, but hopefully by the time you read this the problem will be rectified.