High marks for new NCAA Football game


**** 1/2 out of *****

Once again, it’s time to welcome an addition to EA Sports’ NCAA Football franchise.

NCAA Football 10 was officially released Monday at midnight for Xbox 360, PlayStation3, PlayStation2, and PSP. This year’s edition has added some new game modes that make it entertaining.

The first new mode is family mode. This mode is essentially for little kids — it brings the play down to an easy level. One button controls everything, for the most part.

The next “new mode” is Road to Glory. It is the same thing as last year’s Campus Legend, but this year’s game now includes ESPN’s Erin Andrews and a highlight reel after every game. The highlight reel is cool for the first two games, then an annoyance after that because you can’t skip it.

Season Showdown is another new mode. It’s a long competition that counts credits. The champ will have the most credits. Credits are earned in five categories, and to win the game, you need to win at least three categories. The only way to lose credits is through poor sportsmanship.

The game is by far more fluent than in years past. At points, it can seem like you are watching a real game, despite the slight cartoon feel. Defense is a little harder to play than last year, and the controls on defense changing don’t help that at all. The camera is a little different, but it always is on the new games. It will take some getting used to, but it shouldn’t too hard to do.

“The play is different from NCAA 09. The CPU isn’t dumb as bricks,” said Maxwell McBride, who purchased the game at Video Games Etc! of Coralville when it went on sale at midnight. “The computer is by far smarter in 10.”

Everything on the field looks great, from the players, to the uniforms, to the field. It looks stellar. The stadiums look beautiful, replicated to look like the real things. The fans who pack the stadium even look good from the longer distance views. However, when the fans are viewed up close, there are only a few different people, who are blurry, copied through the entire stadium. Another nice little touch is the net that comes up from behind-the-field goalposts.

The audio of the game is great, from a big hit to crowd noise to the referee’s whistle. Some of the teams even have their band that plays the team’s fight song. The sounds of the game are vibrant and are a great asset to the game. Where the game struggles with sound is the commentary team. There is only so much of Lee Corso that one person can take. His comments become redundant and just plain ridiculous. The rest of the broadcast team, which consists of Brad Nessler and Kirk Herbstreit, has lines that have been recycled through the games of past.

The game itself is playable from the time it comes out until the release of the next NCAA. With game modes such as Dynasty, Road to Glory, Season Showdown, Online Dynasty, Mini-games, the ability to create and customize your own team however you want, or just an exhibition, there is so much to do in the game. It is easily one of the easiest games to play over and over again.

“Whether you’re a football fan or not, the replay value is 100 percent,” said Steven Tolson, who also purchased the game during a midnight release sale at Video Games Etc.

Overall, NCAA Football 10 is as good, if not better, than its most recent predecessors. Don’t let the fact that Iowa’s face masks got screwed up by EA Sports this year keep you from purchasing this game. It’s worth the $60 I ended up paying for the Xbox 360 version.

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