|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|
Once you've mastered the fundamentals, there's tons more to enjoy with this package. Road to Glory isn't the only single-player option worth checking out, and Dynasty Mode offers a level of depth that's sure to be mindboggling for newcomers. You can set work through your play week, do all the behind-the-scenes tasks at the "Coach's Desk," and even keep your finger to the college-football pulse via ESPN magazine. It's a cornucopia of goodness diehard football fans can slowly savor.
EA Sports hasn't forgotten about the casual player, however, and Family Play offers an experience akin to video-game football from the good 'ole days of the SEGA Genesis. Controls are simplified, and the gameplay is a bit more straightforward, offering play and audible options that are easier to digest.
Rounding out the package is a Features menu that allows players to create their own custom plays and audibles, create custom schools and players, as well as design original sign posts the audience can display during mid-play cutscenes - and yes, the game allows you to enter in whatever expletives you so desire.
Though the NCAA 10 package is weighty and enjoyable, the game also has its share of quirks. For one, "juking" with the right analog stick is clunky and considerably unresponsive. There's also no real way to aim the direction of a quarterback's throw during games, though you're instructed to do so in one of the practice drills. You'll, therefore, have to rely solely on timing your passes alongside the set formation of a particular play. Lastly, the game takes away quarterback control during most running plays, and it's a double-edge sword that both helps make for a more streamlined play but can also be disorienting as you're forced to quickly determine who now has the ball.
Visually, NCAA 10 on PS2 does a good job of offering players an authentic football experience. The character models exhibit a decent level of detail, and their movement is fluid and realistic, sans a few rough cut-off points at the end of each animation. The grass looks good, but crowds and stands are pretty bland. The main distraction is background shimmer, which is a hard reality to go back to in this current generation of consoles. Cinematic cuts and pans, however, go a long way to making the experience feel real and exciting.
The aural presentation fares a good deal better, however, and the announcers during games are a real treat. Some games offer only a single announcer for a more authentic college vibe, but other times you'll get the full-on show, with various talking heads from ESPN. Rarely will you notice the same lines repeated, and the commentary is always on point with whatever happens to be going on in-game at that particular moment. The music and cheering sounds, too, fit nicely within the college-ball package on offer here, and though it's difficult for the aged PS2 technology to rise to the occasion, you'll still get a game that's easy to love.
NCAA Football 10 is no revolution in video-game football, but it's a very solid package with plenty of meat to spare. The fact that EA Sports even saw fit to add online play for this version shows they were serious about giving everyone value for their money. There are some quirks and a few missed opportunities, but on the whole, it's a worthy sequel to this now-revered franchise.
CCC Freelance Writer