|System: X360, PS3, PS2, PSP||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 14, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Tony Capri
Baseball may be as American as apple pie, but football certainly doesn't take a backseat when it comes to pleasing sports fans. EA Sports has, of course, taken the forefront in terms of serving up key franchises on gaming consoles, and we're now due for NCAA Football 10. We jump into the frantic life of college ball and report back with its GPA.
If there's one thing fans can't complain about with this latest NCAA offering, it's the breadth of options. Players will get a smorgasbord of tantalizing gameplay, and there's tons of variation from mode to mode. The overall game has also seen a few minor tweaks, though it's not likely to win any awards for innovation.
Upon loading up the game for the first time, one thing that may take PS2 owners by surprise is the memory requirement for saving your progress. Chances are you'll need a dedicated memory card, as NCAA 10 demands a whopping 2100 kilobytes of space. Once you manage to get over that hurdle, though, it's on to the gameplay.
Unless you've played EA Sports football games routinely throughout the years, it may be a bit daunting when deciding where to begin. The menu options range from Play Now (quick play), to Family Play, and the presentation offers no direction or clear descriptions of what each option offers.
After a bit of investigation, however, we discovered what seemed to be NCAA's main, single-player offering: Road to Glory. This game mode tasks you with creating a player, picking a school to attend, and a position to play. You'll also be asked to pick a study major, which plays into the game's twist on a simulation.
College life begins in your dorm, and it's the hub throughout your journey toward professional stardom. From your room you can read fan mail, check rankings and other goings on in the college-sports world, gaze upon your trophies, and rip through your itinerary. Games routinely take place once at the end of each week, but you'll likely want to utilize downtime in order to catch up on school work and practice your football chops. We chose English as our major, so studying was something that occupied a good portion of our off days. Unfortunately, there's no real challenge with respect to what major you choose, and the option is really only there to allow you to learn various trivia.
In addition to concentrating on scholastics, you'll also want to spread your time between social events and drills. Socials are another hollow addition that you "sim" through (meaning you merely press the X button and results are given), though not participating can lower your popularity. Drills, however, are a very welcome addition to Road to Glory that not only serve to break up the other gameplay components, but they also teach you the ropes and keep you on your game.
Once you pick your play position, you'll concentrate on that one area throughout Road to Glory. It's limiting, sure, but it's also a neat focus that will allow players to perfect a particular position. Games are nice, short chunks of football entertainment, and playing from the many different perspectives is guaranteed to offer unlimited replay value. Unfortunately, the actual presentation is shallow, and the work week is repetitive. We like the idea of a college-football sim, but EA Sports just doesn't take it far enough here. If you're supposed to spend your evening out on a date, give us a short piece of gameplay or cutscene to accompany that. Choosing your major should also come with its own set of unique challenges, rather than simply forcing players to eat up random bites of information.
Though Road to Glory may be the main attraction here, new players will likely be better served by checking out the Mascot Challenge first. It's here where you'll learn the mechanics of gameplay, as well as receive instruction on various plays and how they work. Many folks may enjoy watching a good game of football, but not everyone is studied in the art of plays and audibles. Mascot Challenge is actually broken up into four different challenges, and it will walk you through all the basics of NCAA Football 10.