"Graduated Magna Cum Laude"
NCAA Football 14 made a lot of promises when I looked at the demo last month. It claimed that the authenticity of the game was improved. It claimed that recruiting would be less of a chore. It also claimed improvements in the running game. Last month, I was still skeptical about whether or not EA Sports would make good on all of the promises made with NCAA Football 14. That question is answered with a resounding yes.
NCAA Football 14 has the same basic gameplay modes of Play Now, Dynasty Mode, and Road to Glory. This year, the Ultimate Team mode makes its debut on the NCAA Football 14. Fans of the EA's Madden series will be familiar with the Ultimate Team mode as buying packs of cards to put together a team. From what I can see, Ultimate Team features players that have or currently play in the NFL. So you could have Jake Long and Brandon Albert on the same team with Barry Sanders as your running back. I think this is a neat feature, but isn't anything more than a novelty for me.
Road to Glory is also a fun feature, but the same reservations I've had since the My Player-type mode has been introduced. Road to Glory as anything but a quarterback or running back, is simply not that fun. As a cornerback, I sit there as my player drops back into coverage and I watch the ball get thrown in the other direction. As a wide receiver, I simply wait around until the ball is thrown in my direction. As a quarterback, I naturally had control over what I wanted to do. If I wanted to throw the ball instead of the running play my coach called for, I could do that. As a running back, I take all the control as soon as the ball is handed off to me.
Play Now is really just an exhibition mode, it's great when you have a friend over or you want to play online. Basically, if you want to play head to head against an actual person, this is the mode you want to go for. The real meat of this game, however, is the Dynasty Mode. Dynasty Mode can be likened to the Franchise Mode in Madden. You can take control as a Head Coach, Offensive Coordinator, or Defensive Coordinator. A RPG element has been added where you have certain traits. One of these traits can be Ball Security, so when your players take the field, they are less likely to fumble the ball. Traits aren't limited to actions taking place on the field. Strategy can only take a team so far, but strategy will always work better with the right pieces in place. In NCAA Football 14, these pieces are players and in order to get the right players, you need to be able recruit. In the recruiting phase, coaches with the Royal Treatment trait will pull out all the stops when trying to recruit that special player.
The running game has been done really well and simply feels natural. With a flick of the right-stick I'm able to perform an arsenal of moves to unleash on my would-be tacklers. The A.I. of the offensive linemen has also been improved, so instead of running past a linebacker, they pick up their blocks in order to give the quarterback time to throw or open up a running lane for the running back.
The game sounds better than it has since I first started playing the NCAA Football series. The announcers have less repetitive scripts and sound a lot more natural. The crowds sound crisp, like there are actually more than five people in the recording booth. The game's music retains the typical college game day sound. While I am a fan of The Pixies as much as the next guy, I think the college marching bands fits the theme a lot more than late 80s and early 90s rock.
The graphics are about what you would expect from the current generation era. I am a little disappointed that there are really only two skin colors for the coaches known as "Light" and "Dark", where I am somewhere in between. The introductory animations are done well, and whenever I score a touchdown, the pre-replay introduction is something you would see on ESPN.
As sports games are often compared to their predecessors, NCAA Football 14 is a success, as it has improved since NCAA Football 13. NCAA Football 14 provides the best gameplay of the series as it trumps its predecessors in every way.
GameDynamo's Score for NCAA Football 14 (PS3)
|Exequiel Roman III
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He has been gaming since before he could spell video or games... or even his own name. While he can find a game he enjoys in any genre, he cites Tetris being his all-time favorite game. Oh yeah... he writes stuff too.
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