SYSTEM
PS2

PRICE
$49.99

DEVELOPER
989 Sports

PUBLISHER
989 Studios

RELEASE DATE
12/00

NCAA GameBreaker 2001 Review

By: John Doe


Much like my feelings towards college basketball video games, comes my attitude towards college football video games. What's the point? Okay so you should know that I'm Canadian first of all, and although I don't pronounce "about" like "aboot" and say "eh" every 8 seconds, I am still pretty ignorant of the college "goingson" of American Universities. However, I knows me video games and although this isn't my favorite football game on the market, I can certainly say that this is the second best football game on the PS2. Yes, it actually is a tighter game than GameDay 2001, which I'm having trouble understanding.


Highs:
Lows:

Much like my feelings towards college basketball video games, comes my attitude towards college football video games. What's the point? Okay so you should know that I'm Canadian first of all, and although I don't pronounce "about" like "aboot" and say "eh" every 8 seconds, I am still pretty ignorant of the college "goingson" of American Universities. However, I knows me video games and although this isn't my favorite football game on the market, I can certainly say that this is the second best football game on the PS2. Yes, it actually is a tighter game than GameDay 2001, which I'm having trouble understanding.

I've got to hand it to the developers - NCAAGB 2001 boasts a hell of a lot of features. For starters, there's one hell of a playbook, with more then 600 (!) plays. That gives you unprecedented freedom in the game, as almost any play that you could possibly think of will be in the god-sized playbook. Another amazing feature is the inclusion of every single Division 1-A College teams (yep all 115 of them!) Also included are 60 classic teams, which, combined with the other teams, gives you 175 teams in total to choose from! The developers certainly pulled out all the stops here in terms of giving selection to the player, which is to be admired. The control is also great, and the game all-around does a superb job of really recreating the college football experience. Whatever that is.

But what's not so great is the unfortunate fact that the AI simply sucks in this game! The AI is so horrid that many times your computer-controlled teammates might as well be dummies placed on the field, because that's pretty much all there good for. And your computer controlled competitors fare even worse, running there team like the person in charge is a third grader who writes his plays in crayon! This not only limits the challenge in the game, (unless you set it beyond the Senior difficulty level), but also just makes things downright ridiculous at times. Needless to say, AI is an area in the game that needs some SERIOUS work, and it's a shame, because the AI problems coupled with the visual and audio difficulties, combine to make the entire game less appealing.

The graphics in NCAA Gamebreaker 2001 are hardly what you would call terrible, but they also aren't particularly impressive, at least compared to "other" football games that have come out recently. The game does have some cool visuals, like the replicas of 115 college football stadiums, but the visual departments also got some serious problems. Though the game sports solid 60 frames per second, the animations are at times laughably inconsistent. At times they completely ignore the laws of physics, creating scenarios that make you simply shrug your shoulders. At other times the animations look jaw dropping. But at this stage in the game, with the PS2 and all, there's no excuse whatsoever for these horrible inconsistencies. Other than the problems with animation, the visuals are otherwise pretty cool, with pretty attractive textures, players, and fields, but as I stated before, they just can't compete with other football games that have come out recently.

The sound in the game is also a mixed bag. There are over 30 authentic fight songs in the game, which really enhances the experience. But the sound effects aren't nearly as impressive. There are a lot of grunts and crunch sounds in the game, in fact too many. They are used on such a regular basis that after about five minutes they lose all meaning. And though the game features the venerable announcer of college football, Keith Jackson, even he grows stale after a short while. A lot of times he just goes on mysterious rants that have nothing to do with anything in the game, and he repeats all his witty phrases and comments so often it'll make you want to throw your Playstation 2 out the window! Or just find yourself yelling at your television set "Shut up Keith, shut up!". I know I did.

Overall, the game offers a ton of options, and really has a great feeling of putting you in the college football experience, but also is hampered by some serious problems. If you really love college football, go for it, but otherwise, my advice is to go for another recent football game that all-out destroys this game, like Madden NFL 2001. You'll probably have much more fun that way.

OVERALL
6.5

GRAPHICS
6.0

CONTROL
7.5

MUSIC/FX
6.5

FRUSTRATION
5.0

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