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07/13/10 EA Sports
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NCAA Football 11

By Mr. Nice 14th Sep 2010 | 3,993 views 

EA delivers another authentic, if not too familiar, college football experience.

Can you hear the sound of the marching band as college football players everywhere storm the gridiron? Yes, it’s that time of the year yet again; another exciting college football season is upon us, and just as teams are looking to shake up the BCS standings as they attempt to win it all, EA’s flagship NCAA Football franchise is here once again in an attempt to replicate the rivalry, the passion, and the tradition that defines all of collegiate football. While NCAA Football 11 takes full advantage of capitalizing on several new aesthetic changes, a few gameplay alterations or additions are curiously left on the drawing board table. But, ultimately, NCAA Football 11 will please all football fans, solidifying yet another first-rate effort in the long running franchise.

Right out of the gate, NCAA Football 11 showcases one of the biggest additions to this year’s iteration - the ESPN College Gameday visual overhaul. All games are now completely outfitted with aesthetic designs made to specifically match the tone and feel of an authentic ESPN college football Saturday telecast, mimicking everything from the “College Gameday” logos to the catchy tune that plays at both the start and the end of all games. Some may fret at the notion that the ESPN and Gameday logos and designs will now appear consistently throughout each game. Sure enough, they do pop-up several times throughout. However, the authentic and realistic feel that they add more than makes up for any sort of visual strain that they may cause.

Speaking of visual improvements, NCAA Football 11 goes above and beyond what developers are usually willing to do for an annual sports franchise. Not only has the overall clarity and definition of the gameplay picture received some noticeable updates, but the mechanics and movements that players now possess give the game a realistic feel that the series has been missing since the move to HD. All players now possess beautifully swift motions that more closely resemble their real life counterparts than the series has shown in previous iterations. Gone are the days in which a player’s torso, sprinting at full force downfield, looked disconnected from his legs in a rather robotic fashion. EA spent a great deal of time giving each and every stride a smooth look and feel, even going so far as to give players the option to strafe left, right and backwards if they so choose – spectacular for quickly outmaneuvering speedy tacklers headed in your direction.

As far as almost any fan of a yearly sports franchise is concerned, new gameplay modes are essential in keeping you engaged and interested in the game. Unfortunately, nothing has really been added as far as new gameplay modes are concerned this year. Although it’s nice to see just how devoted the developers were to improving key aspects of the title’s gameplay, you can’t help but ask why at least one new mode couldn’t have been added to keep things feeling not only fresh, but interesting as well. If you are a seasoned NCAA fan, Quick Play and Dynasties can only tide you over for so long.

Even more disappointing is that Team Builder, the gameplay mode that gives players the option to create and play as their own custom created school, received almost no upgrades whatsoever, standing tall as one of the biggest missed opportunities the developers could have possibly neglected. Last year’s more than lackluster attempt at bringing back the team creator option was a bit more forgivable, as not only was it the first time that the mode had even been seen for some time, but several new options were added to make up for the blatant lack of options available in last generation titles. This time, the lack of options just doesn’t quite sit as well. Why can’t I better customize my school logo without having to use a bunch of preset colors? Why aren’t there more stadiums, or better yet, a way to customize stadiums? Why can’t I give my school a fight song? Why on earth can’t I customize my team’s depth chart? While it’s great that many features have been added to make customizing your own team more enjoyable, many options that were available as far back as the 2003 iteration of the franchise don’t quite make the cut, which doesn’t make sense.

While the game doesn’t deliver on the mode end of things, it's blatantly obvious that the gameplay was the main priority for NCAA Football 11, and in addition to an overall smoother feeling that games now present, one of the most appreciated upgrades actually takes place between downs. Instead of having to go through the tedious process of pausing the game and clicking on the sub player option, many of your team’s crucial subs can now be made via the Right Stick during in-game play calls. For example, it there is a particular formation where you think your back-up QB is better suited for the job, then a simple flick of Right Stick is all you need to do to make the switch. Players can even make slight alterations to their formations, as well as “swap” certain positions. Utilizing the above methods of player subbing and positioning has added an element to the series that it seems most sports titles overlook – that is, it’s made it easier to accomplish a particular task, whilst also making it faster to do so at the same time.

The title’s visuals are no doubt a considerable step above what was seen in NCAA Football 10. Uniform and stadium textures output a dazzling sense of visual clarity, going hand-in-hand with the aforementioned new and authentic player gestures and fluid movements. Also being touted in this year’s title is the advanced day/night system that was to better simulate the effects of a daytime sky progressing into a night time overcast, and vice-versa. However, instead of continuously updating throughout gameplay, skies only change between quarters, drastically destroying any sort of genuine feel the developers had hoped to achieve with the feature. Audio-wise, the only glaring update results in the loss of the exuberant commentator Lee Corso. Although his “sweethearts” and sound effects could wear a bit thin at times, he added not only an extra comedic element to an otherwise very serious game, but he was simply downright fun to listen to in just about any game time situation.

NCAA Football 11 does just what it needs to garner your attention for another year. It has effectively brought gameplay to the next level with plenty of new player animations, a much improved way of subbing and swapping pre-play, and an ESPN College Gameday aesthetic overhaul. While the title comes up short with a lack of new game modes and options, you can be sure that NCAA Football 11 still carries the look and feel that will keep players coming back until next year’s release.

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Legacy Sales History

Total Sales

Opinion (0)

1 n/a 157,514 n/a 27,797 185,311
2 n/a 53,120 n/a 9,374 62,494
3 n/a 23,223 n/a 4,098 27,321
4 n/a 16,354 n/a 2,886 19,240
5 n/a 10,998 n/a 1,941 12,939
6 n/a 8,804 n/a 1,554 10,358
7 n/a 8,308 n/a 1,466 9,774
8 n/a 10,499 n/a 1,853 12,352
9 n/a 10,439 n/a 1,842 12,281
10 n/a 9,067 n/a 1,600 10,667
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