NCAA Football 2002 Review
NCAA Football 2002 takes another step in creating its own identity, separate from the Madden series, and is able to stand on its own merits.
In the very early years of the NCAA Football series, it received relatively little attention from Electronic Arts, as it was somewhat of an afterthought to its more robust NFL counterpart. Through the years, the series has slowly garnered an identity of its own. Although still quite similar to its NFL counterpart on the PlayStation 2, particularly in the graphics department, NCAA Football 2002 has continued to evolve and has captured the pageantry and tradition of the college game better than any NCAA football game before it.
At first glance, NCAA Football 2002 looks almost like a carbon copy of Madden, with the pro players and stadiums being replaced by student athletes and college fields. Like Madden, the animation is ultrasmooth, and the player models sport a variety of accessories and team-specific trimmings on their jerseys. However, upon further inspection, there are some noticeable improvements in NCAA Football 2002, as opposed to last year's version of Madden. For example, the player faces aren't quite as unnatural anymore; the deadpan stare of the Madden players has been replaced by 3D facial models that show greater emotion and look more believable. The player animations have also improved, as transitions between different moves are noticeably smoother. New animations such as quarterback options and new jukes and tackles have been added in the game.
The stadiums in NCAA Football 2002 seem more authentic than the stadiums in the game's NFL counterpart. Every last detail, such as the exaggerated upper-deck addition to Maryland's Byrd Stadium and the giant scoreboard in Florida State's Doak Campbell Stadium, are rendered in full 3D. Even the practice facility is ultradetailed and includes such subtle visual nuances as the team busses waiting in the parking lot and extra footballs and watercoolers lying on and around the benches. Another notable addition, inherent to the college game, is the team mascots and bands. The mascots in particular look eerily similar to their real-life counterparts, and their appearance in the game's title screen can be quite funny.
Electronic Arts has done an amazing job of capturing the look of the college game, but as usual, it all comes down to the gameplay. Although generally quite good in this department, this is where NCAA Football 2002 starts to show a few chinks in its armor. The game's controls work very much like the PS2 version of Madden 2001, which means that the scheme is relatively complex and takes some acclimatization. Every button on the Dual Shock controller has a function. The shoulder buttons are assigned such functions as pitching the ball to backs, left and right jukes, and punk faking, among others--all depending on in-game situations. The face buttons are used for speed bursts, diving, tackling, and passing, among other options. Thus, it takes some time to become accustomed to the variety of control choices available at any given time, which could turn off some players at first. However, for the patient, the controls can become second nature--after some playtime with the game--and you begin to appreciate the high level of command over the gameplay available in the game.
Aside from the control options themselves, some of the same problems that plagued Madden 2001 persist in NCAA Football 2002: The game's overall feel is a bit sluggish and unresponsive. The use of a momentum-based physics engine means that it takes a fraction of a second for the player to reverse his inertia and make cutbacks. For example, your running back may be going parallel to the line and you happen to notice a hole, you press the analog to direct your back toward the hole, but it takes a second for him to stop his momentum and make his move upfield. By that time, a pursing linebacker has already pounced on your running back and has thrown him down for a loss. This can be frustrating at times, as you may feel as though you don't have complete control over the players in the game. Electronic Arts chose to err on the side of realism, but this realistic physics engine keeps NCAA Football 2002 from being a truly hard-hitting, high-intensity football game.
- Player Reviews: 4
- Game Universe:
- NCAA Football 2003 (PS2, GC, XBOX),
- NCAA Football 2004 (PS2, XBOX, GC, NGE),
- NCAA Football 06 (XBOX, PS2),
- NCAA Football 2005 (PS2, XBOX, GC),
- NCAA Football 98 (PC, PS),
- NCAA Football 99 (PC, PS),
- NCAA Football 08 (X360, PS2, PS3, XBOX),
- NCAA Football 09 All-Play (WII, PSP, PS2, PS3, X360),
- NCAA Football 11 (X360, PS3, PS2),
- NCAA Football 12 (X360, PS3)
- Offline Modes:
Competitive, Cooperative, Team Oriented
- Number of Players: