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Review

NCAA Football 14 Review

  • First Released
  • Reviewed:
  • X360

NCAA Football '14 is still enjoyable on the field, but conjures a strong "been there, done that" feeling.

Fans of amateur athletics huddle in front of their television sets every Saturday, cheering mightily for something unexpected to happen. Notre Dame, Oregon, Boise State, and countless other paper tigers have flirted with destiny, only to fail before reaching hallowed ground. No matter how hard you root, no matter how promising a freshman class may seem, the results are always the same: the best team in the nation is from the Southeastern Conference. Sadly, the NCAA Football franchise has fallen into the same rhythm as its real-life counterpart. There are no more surprises in store, nothing to make you take notice. Instead, NCAA Football '14 is the same old game you've been playing for years.

Cameron Washington better change his tune about BC if he knows what's good for him.

The on-field action should be very familiar for those who have played recent entries in the franchise. Receivers still have a better chance of getting open if they run across the field rather than take off on a deep route, linemen still mush together at the point of attack, and cornerbacks are cursed with brick hands. Still, slight tweaks to the physics system mean that hits carry the weight you would expect from 300-pound athletes, and the option offense has finer control than before. Reading the defensive end's movement as your quarterback runs laterally works well, and it's satisfying to pitch the ball to your fullback just before you get laid out. When you're immersed in a high-stakes game, it's easy to forget that you've seen this all before and enjoy the violent chess match that's unfolding.

Off the field, NCAA Football '14 has followed the trend that is seemingly creeping into every game genre. The game has role-playing elements. Your coach now earns experience points for your accomplishments. Registering a sack or forcing a turnover fills up a progress bar, and once you reach a new level, you unlock special powers on a skill tree. So no longer do you have to be content with merely adding points to the scoreboard when you get into the end zone; you earn progress in the expansive metagame as well. Although this new addition does reward you for playing well, it feels like a desperate attempt to add something novel to a tired franchise. The skills system is added busywork that urges you to spend more time navigating menus than delivering wicked hits on the field.

Do you struggle calling audibles? Well, now's your chance to fix your failing.

Recruiting has also seen a revamp, although instead of adding something new, it takes away what was previously there. The minutiae that defined the recruiting process have been completely stripped away. No longer do you decide how much time you want to spend with each recruit, delegating assistant coaches to seek out lower-priority candidates while you, as the head coach, meet with only five-star prospects. Instead, there's just a pool of points that you dole out. Gone too is the interviewing minigame. Before, you would learn the priorities of each high school star and try to appeal to his particular ambitions. This system had a number of flaws, but it was still fun to learn who each player was on a personal level. Now, players are just raw stats, and it's not as engaging to build a dynasty without that human element.

NCAA Football '14 does make a strong attempt at introducing the complexities of the college game to those who are not intimately familiar with it. Nike Skills Trainer walks you through the major scenarios you face during a game, and the time spent on the practice field pays off once you take to the field on game day. Learning how to use your blockers or when to throw a fade versus a bullet is important knowledge, as is coming to grips with the sometimes overbearing audible system. Considering how complicated the core action has become, Nike Skills Trainer is a solid addition that provides a much smoother learning curve than previous games in the series.

That sea of orange could cure even the toughest case of scurvy.

And you need those skills if you're going to compete against other players online or locally. NCAA Football '14 is at its best when you're matched up against another person of similar talent. Pulling out crucial first downs or making momentum-swinging goal line stands is an incredible feeling, especially when you exchange some well-meaning pleasantries with your vanquished opponent. True nail-biters even get credited as ESPN Classics, so it's worth trying your hardest even when you get down a few scores. You never know when the ball will finally bounce your way and you can get the last laugh on the road to victory.

It's a shame that NCAA Football '14 has the same problems the franchise has been burdened with for years. The on-field action is tight and rewarding, but everything else is sloppy at best. There's no reason to clutter up the coaching system with needless experience points or strip out all of the personality from recruiting. NCAA Football has never been able to match the enticing action of the sport with equally engaging off-field activities, so it creates a jarring disconnect when you have to plow through tedious menus to accomplish anything away from the field. There's little worthwhile in NCAA Football '14 you couldn't have experienced in previous games, but at least it's still fun to smash your rivals when you head onto the field.

The Good
Enjoyable head-to-head competition
Well-implemented tutorial
The Bad
Unnecessary experience system
Recruiting process lacks personality
Few significant changes since last season
6
Fair
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Discussion

202 comments
Thesuperstar2k
Thesuperstar2k

Just played the game which I quite feeling guiltily here since it is a same game. Though it is quite good playing every time because of the road to glory, but it may get old once in awhile you already played stuff like always. 

Silverpiel
Silverpiel

why they would take away the ability to have a career in College and then get drafted to the NFL, which was Madden, so you can continue your career is beyond me.  That was a lot of fun. 

It was also a lot of fun to create players with my friends and do coop play and working on your players only when you played.  Then when they were in the draft you can use Madden to draft from NCAA seniors and you would find them.  It was a lot of fun with friends to compete coop or against each other. 

You CAN'T do that anymore ... SUCKS!!!!!!!!!

Silverpiel
Silverpiel

I want the ability to draft players to Madden like we used to a couple years ago.  That in addition to no big improvements is what keeps from buy this game anymore.  We need to another company like Gameday to make a game to compete with Madden and NCAA so we get better games.  Competition is the only way to force them to do better.

Derugs
Derugs

I'm convinced Mc Shae just doesn't like football.  

koleke415
koleke415

you're all TRIPPIN!!!! this game is way better than last years, which was really good! physics feel great, tackles are vastly improved, passing feelings zippier, running is sooooo much more fun. wtf are you guys expecting, they dont put as much work into this as they do into madden and this game is fantastic!!!! this reviewer and most of you commenters need to get over yourselves and enjoy some football.

caseysrodeo
caseysrodeo

Well still cant fully enjoy the online gameplay. Still lots of lag and people who dont want to play the game respectfully. Gamer level matching is so far off I grew three new gray hairs yesterday. I'll just go back to playing with the AI, its more entertaining.

Subjugators
Subjugators

FIFA is also the same from year to year but the reviews are almost always good

deanboyss
deanboyss

eBay Kleinanzeigen: Jetzt Nike Air Max günstig kaufen oder verkaufen. Kleinanzeigen auf eBay Kleinanzeigen - Kostenlos. Einfach. Lokal.

valdarez
valdarez

The new footplanting mechanics they hyped for months are a joke.  Instead of getting footplanting right with proper movement that accounts for weight and momentum, they put in fake footplanting in an attempt to cover up the missing animations resulting in utterly inhuman feats of foot work.  The game plays the same, but with extra unrealistic footwork animations that don't mean a thing with regards to movement.

khadafii
khadafii

yh.. dats mre like it... ope ma futre college team is in ther.. LOL

jaijames
jaijames

why the player run like they skating on ice smh

DeViLzzz
DeViLzzz

When you have Aaron Hernandez in the game but not his name it all goes downhill from there.  If he was meant to be in the game you keep him in the game.

Thesuperstar2k
Thesuperstar2k

Looks like the game is the same exact thing. Will see someone playing if it makes any differences. 

MaddenNCAA2K
MaddenNCAA2K

I haven't read or watched the review yet so i was hoping you guys could let me in on if you can be able to import your NCAA Road to Glory player to the next upcoming madden (Madden 25). Im planning on getting the game soon and that's the only thing thats stopping me from being fully committed to getting it. Please reply, thanks.

hunter8man
hunter8man

This is still the same game EA has put out year after year. The running game is a little better as is the XP system. However, this game has no excuse for being as buggy and having such daft AI as it does. The AI for Road To Glory Mode is unchanged, and the AI is horrible. It's still an enjoyable game of football, but it's not worth $60 and hasn't been for many, many years now. I agree with Tom this time on his score.

mulder_000
mulder_000

This is a I think about a 7 at full price.  I really wish we could have the yearly roster updates instead of a whole new game every year.  Or make them less than $60!!

I only played the demo, but I really liked the new interface system.  Getting the game into Canada is too much of a hassle. (Well, Quebec.  Need a bilingual cover)

FakeMythology
FakeMythology

I buy a new NCAA like once every 3 or 4 years since they don't ever change much from year to year its still fun and I like the series I just think theyd actually improve if there was a real rival in the sports franchises


popeyfolger
popeyfolger

wow another year more of the same can't say im suprised


j62987
j62987

I believe EA loses it's exclusive rights over NCAA football at the start of next year correct? Maybe we'll see Sony create a new game for football as good as quality as The Show. I'm tired of EA junk. 

Loshead
Loshead

I would of gave this game a 7.5, the game play is on point, but I could do without the xp system. 

JustPlainLucas
JustPlainLucas

"There's nothing new in NCAA!  Well, there's this xp system, but I'm going to slam it anyway!"  I do agree, though, XP is being shoehorned in just about every game. 

slimskelter
slimskelter

I think someone should bring back Joe Montana Pro Talk Football.

rolla020980
rolla020980

Anyone remember NFL Xtreme? Now that was a fun game. Break away runner with no chance for the defense, and OHHH!!! He got struck by lightning!

jiggybuff
jiggybuff

why does NCAA get a demerit from being a similar game every year but COD doesn't?

anthony7648
anthony7648

It took gamespot at least 10 years to finally realize they were playing the same game over and over again,

bamarolltide16
bamarolltide16

Ok, I gotta find a review that is a little less biased.

CitizenEagle
CitizenEagle

Criticizes game endlessly for lack of new features. . . 

. . . doesn't mention massive new game mode. Face Palm.

csward
csward

Good and fair review as always Tom.

threehills
threehills

How can you consider this to be a thorough review when you don't even mention ultimate team? 

TEFUKAM
TEFUKAM

RUGBY - FOR REAL MAN

AMERICAN FOOTBALL - JUST FOR WOMANS

AMERICAN FOOTBALL IS JUST WOMAN LEAUGE OF RUGBY


Subjugators
Subjugators

what I'm trying to say is FIFA 13 should be given a score of 7 or maybe 6 instead of an 8 because it's basically FIFA 12 with minor improvements

mulder_000
mulder_000

@j62987 No one has stepped in and made an NCAA Basketball game, though.  Wouldn't mind Sony doing one of each.

TheTNWrestler
TheTNWrestler

@Loshead Why?  Even while I've been critical of him in the past, these sports games truly are the same overall package each year with a few additions.  I'll say the same thing for other series that do the same thing, such as Pokemon and Call of Duty.  The thing is, though, these EA sports games need to be $20 DLC packages rather than a full $60 disc.

TomMcShea
TomMcShea

@threehills My reviews are not checklists that talk about every aspect of a game. I only bring up things that I feel are important, and Ultimate Team is definitely not. It's the same tedious mode that's been in Madden for years. Just more busywork that pulls you away from the on-field action.

csward
csward

@TEFUKAM I think the lack of a proper helmet has caused you to have one too many concussions and that's why your trolling here.

XxTheEvilxX
XxTheEvilxX

@TEFUKAM I love to watch an American football player pound your fat sorry ass into the ground when you say that. By the way dumbass, it's not womans, it's women. One thing is for sure... you are about as smart as an American football player. LMAO. 

PS - Leauge is spelled League 

Subjugators
Subjugators

 @Thesuperstar2k so you're saying that soccer games are rated higher than football games ? game reviews shouldn't be selective, they need to be fair

TheLamaKnows
TheLamaKnows

@TheTNWrestler @Loshead I agree. Madden, NHL, NCAA, these titles are nothing more than roster updates and one new mode a year focused on micro-transactions, while core game play has either stagnated, or even gone backwards. Madden is so bad I'd call it utterly broken since 2009.
It'd be bad enough to drop 20 bucks on what should be a free roster download each year, but to charge full retail on a game that devs spent a month at most on, is just insulting.
It shows the pitfalls of monopoly. EA has exclusive rights and makes millions regardless of their actual product, and none of the major sports care how good a game is, so long as it sells and pimps their logo.

j62987
j62987

@TomMcShea @threehills I respect your review of this game. Continue to give EA football games mediocre reviews please. Recycled junk just because they own exclusive rights...

CitizenEagle
CitizenEagle

@csward @threehills While I can't argue that spending money provides a massive aid in Ultimate team, it's fairly easy to be successful with skill, patience, and intelligence. Don't belittle others who are more capable than you because of your inability.

threehills
threehills

@csward I've never tried it as I don't play madden, which is why I was hoping they would talk about it in the review. 

TEFUKAM
TEFUKAM

@XxTheEvilxX

I dont care how it s spelled nerd and what you like to watch i dontttttt careeeeeeeeeeeeee


RUGBY - FOR REAL MAN

AMERICAN FOOTBALL - JUST FOR WOMANS

AMERICAN FOOTBALL IS JUST WOMAN LEAUGE OF RUGBY


Now cry cryyyyyyyyyyy

NCAA Football 14 More Info

  • First Released
    • PlayStation 3
    • Xbox 360
    NCAA Football 14 is a college football simulation game that introduces real-time physics and the Force Impact system.
    7.2
    Average User RatingOut of 108 User Ratings
    Please Sign In to rate NCAA Football 14
    Developed by:
    EA Tiburon
    Published by:
    EA Sports
    Genres:
    Football (American), Team-Based, Sports, Simulation
    Content is generally suitable for all ages. May contain minimal cartoon, fantasy or mild violence and/or infrequent use of mild language.
    Everyone
    All Platforms
    No Descriptors