NCAA Football 2004 Impressions

EA Sports is looking to significantly upgrade its college football series this year. Get all the details here.

At today's Camp EA event, EA Sports was showing off the final version of NCAA Football 2004, the latest game in its popular college football franchise. NCAA 2004 was designed around the idea of separating the series from the Madden franchise and providing a much more accurate representation of college football.

When it comes to game modes, you'll find nearly all the old favorites from previous NCAA games, with numerous upgrades and changes. For starters, the game's dynasty mode has been expanded to give you much more control over the coaching and management duties associated with creating a successful team. More than 160 new teams have been added for this year's game, as well as a license with Sports Illustrated that lets you keep track of big news in the world of college football with new and dynamic magazine covers. In terms of gameplay, NCAA Football 2004 will feature some significant changes, including a mostly overhauled AI that includes completely redone special teams and zone defense. Most of last year's playbooks have been thrown out in favor of new and more-accurate books that draw from a selection of more than 200 new plays.

You'll also find a much more accurate college-ball atmosphere in NCAA 2004. Every team will have special entrance sequences, and the game's stadium lighting and crowds have been improved to be more realistic--soft shadowing effects are nicely implemented where necessary, and crowds are far more reactive to the proper situations. NCAA 2004 also features almost 100 new classic teams, as well as a college classics mode that lets you play in 20 of the greatest college games since 1980. All the classic teams will have appropriately designed uniforms for their time period, including the classic 1920s-style uniforms.

NCAA Football 2004 will be online-enabled for the PlayStation 2, and it will be the first EA Sports console game to use EA Sports Online, which allows for stat tracking and online buddy chat across all EA Sports games, as well as weekly tournaments and downloadable content. NCAA Football 2004 is set to ship next week for all three console systems. Expect a full review of the game in the near future.

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