Wednesday, August 1, 2007
Good: Competent football gameplay, great new Super Sim option
Bad: Still essentially the same thing. Still $60.
There aren't many bad things I can say about being a videogame reviewer. I get games for free, I get to play virtually every title that comes out, and my job varies from day to day based on what game I'm playing and on what system. There's really no "daily grind":..except in one case. Every time I get the yearly update of Madden/NCAA/Nascar/etc, etc, etc., I'd rather spend a day earning my money on an assembly line.
Don't get me wrong these are generally quality games (for the most part). It's just nearly impossible to write a full review on a game that I reviewed just 12 months prior. Each year is filled with the same slight "upgrades", many of which don't work and end up being dropped from the series.
NCAA Football 08 is, for the most part, no different. The one exception (and by exception I mean "noticeable improvement") is the new Super Sim option. With this, you can simulate past single plays, possessions, quarters, or whatever increment you wish. Don't like playing defense? Super Sim past it. Up by 28 and don't feel like playing that fourth quarter? Super Sim it. It's a fantastic addition to the game, and I seriously hope it's included in this year's Madden as well.
A less noticeable aspect I enjoyed was the way of viewing your play when your team is at the line. You can hold R2 to view the button assignments of your receivers, and then tilt the right analog stick up to see their routes, or move the stick down to view their motivation level.
There is also a new feature that integrates the game with the Weather Channel. If it's raining in Lawrence, you can expect it to be raining when you play a home game at Memorial Stadium. It may not have a big effect on the game itself, but it's an interesting gimmick.
Like any college sports game, you can't expect to see your favorite college athletes in NCAA Football 08. Rather, you'll get the same generic character models and numbers (or randomly generated names) as you always have. It's not ideal, but it's understandable considering the legalities involved. While you won't see our school's players in this game, you'll see Memorial Stadium in a pretty solid recreation. You can see the Campanile (and fans) on the hill, as well as various campus buildings. Everything from the stadium to the surroundings seems pretty authentic.
Despite the enormous power of the Playstation 3, the graphics still leave much to be desired, and don't even run at a consistent framerate. It's slow and choppy, which is a problem that hasn't been reported with the Xbox 360 version. You have to wonder when this problem will be remedied.
Again:this review is futile. The same people that buy NCAA and Madden every year will buy them again this year. The people that stay away from these games because of their high cost and marginal "improvements" will once again steer clear.
First Play: 7.5
Replay Value: 7.0
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