|System: PS2, PS3, X360||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: EA Tiburon||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Electronic Arts||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: July 13, 2010||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Cole Smith
There is nothing wrong with NCAA Football 11, as far as technical issues are concerned. Its as solid as last seasons game, and therein lies the problem. Aside from some utterly useless additions, such as new accessories for the players and the ESPN Integration Package, this is virtually the same old game. On the plus side, the animation has been tweaked and the physics and A.I. have been improved. Gone is the old way to call plays. I cant decide if the new system is an improvement, but there are definitely more options to choose from.
Ultimately, if you only own a PS2, youre getting the short end of the stick. The current-gen consoles are where the magic happens. What youre getting with the PS2 version is little more than an expansion pack, without the online modes, updated rosters, and the general overhaul.
What I like about college ball is the accessibility. These games are fun, gritty, and more realistic. In general, the pace is a little slower, allowing you some extra time in the decision making process. You have time to size up situations and execute the appropriate commands. Some situations in Madden are out of your hands. Theres a sense of school pride with the college games, meaning theres something personal at stake. There are 120 teams represented in this game. Thats a lot of content. You would think youre set for the rest of the summer, but the veneer begins to wear off after a few hours. The announcers start repeating phrases, the different teams just appear different with their new accessories, and the ESPN tie-in are little more than window dressing.
Im really surprised at the amount of fluff disguised as new features stuffed into this football game. Dont get me wrong; the attention to detail is vastly improved, with refs on the field and numbers on the helmets, but that doesnt make the game any more playable. This is a situation where a franchise has reached its peak. Lets face it; the game has gone about as far as it can go on the PS2. Is it possible to squeeze any more juice out of the CPU? If so, is it really worth the effort? While it may seem like Im ragging on NCAA Football 11 for the PS2, what Im really saying is that its virtually impossible to improve it at this point. Did the game perhaps reach perfection in its tenth version?
NCAA Football 11 plays as good as you can expect. Running, passing, and catching have been improved. A lot of this is due to the smooth camera angles that afford you an uncluttered view of the field, but the developers are touting the Locomotion system as the reason for the improved controls. It helps that both players in control of the ball and those to whom you wish to pass are highlighted. The agility of each runner is determined by his stats. The more stars he has, the easier he will be to control. You notice this in terms of speed, ability to change direction, and accuracy in throwing. Of course, the way you guide the runner also plays a crucial role. You can use the stick to lean forwards and sideways, which comes in handy when you come in contact with an opponent. The animation is also a bit smoother. Players look less jerky, even when all the players appear onscreen at the same time.
Im not convinced that I love the new way to make play calls, but thats because I was comfortable with the old way. Like most people, I resist change, especially when its for no apparent reason. If it aint broke, dont fix it. I liked the old way; it seemed more realistic as it restricted you to three plays to accompany your chosen formation. With the new system, there are a trio of play choices including Formation, Play Type, and Ask Corso. Once you make your selection, there are a multitude of play options you can cycle through. It takes some time to get accustomed to the menu system. Ironically, all these new plays seem more restrictive simply because there are so many choices. Sometimes, less is more.