best way I can sum up the review for NCAA March
Madness 2005 is this: If you want to play a
good basketball game, then play one from the
NBA Live series. NCAA March Madness is a NBA
Live wannabe. It contains a lot of the same
features but they're not presented in the same
appears as EA Sports purposely goes out of its
way to treat to the NCAA March Madness series
as an inferior game. Granted, it's college hoops
but that doesn't mean the gameplay has to amateur.
So what if a lot of us don't know who the hell
the players are and we don't really care if
Kentucky beats California? For the money the
gameplay should be right up to par with other
basketball games - pro, street or otherwise.
And if you do follow the college circuit don't
let the content fool you. Just because you can
play as your favorite team, complete with official
mascot, fighting song and colors doesn't mean
the game itself is any fair shakes. Let's face
it, it all boils down to the gameplay and NCAA
March Madness has always been a little deficient
in that area. While many things have been improved
there are still some nagging technical issues.
One of the biggest disappointments is the online
play. It's simply unplayable.
control has been added to the gameplay but to
the detriment of reality. It's easier for each
ball handler to maneuver about the court and
lose his opponents in the dust. It's less of
a team effort. While there may be the odd star
player on the college scene that kicks ass consistently
this is not the norm for every team in every
game. Even the opposing team is able to get
itself together very quickly and recover from
a messed-up play almost instantly. Even the
pros have a problem doing this consistently.
Not to mention that there are lots and lots
of blocked shots. Fortunately you can adjust
the options sliders to tame the game to a more
are lots of plays available in the playbook.
You can access 12 or more plays and motions
which adds more strategy to the game for more
advanced players. For more assistance a "floor
general" feature allows you to choose six
scripted quick plays. There are two groups of
three moves that can be accessed by the D pad.
By clicking the R stick you will activate various
icons onscreen which will show you where you
can pass the ball and which path you should
hitting the glass you can access any of three
commands to rebound, tap in or put-back slam.
The rebound is the easiest to perform consistently.
The put-back slam is the hardest to pull off.
It's randomized which makes it seem more realistic
since it is such a difficult move.
consist of Quick Play, Rivalry, Dynasty, College
Classics and online play. In Dynasty you'll
have to prove your worth to your school as you
outline a budget and take your team to victory.
Lose too many games in a row and you're job
will be on the line. You'll have to discipline
player for various infractions. The NCAA will
require a certain number of game suspensions
for these lawless cretins. You will receive
notices about various players' stats, health
and conduct which will help you take measures
to keep your team balanced for upcoming games.
play is terrible. It suffers from lag and intermittent
slowdown which can really break up your momentum.
If you are under the impression that online
play is this game's biggest selling feature,
it's actually the game's biggest fault.
still continue to skate around on the floor
in certain situations. There is a lot of good
animation with smooth body movement and expressive
faces. The locations are well done and are sure
to impress gamers that have actually been to
these real-life courts. You'll hear tunes from
Lifehouse and other rock bands as performed
by the local marching bands. Commentary is provided
by Nessler and Vitale which is the best so far
but it could use a few more thousand variations
since it tends to repeat after a few hours.
The crowd noises are great. If you're a visiting
team -look out. The hometown crowd gets so loud
the whole place shakes.
may not be many games that can deliver the college
experience like NCAA March Madness but there
are plenty of better basketball games out there
that deliver a better game.