The franchise returns

User Rating: 8.1 | NCAA Football 07 X360
NCAA Football 2007 for the XBox 360 is pretty much what I expected: it's the same solid college gridiron action with a little more flash. It's far from perfect, and it's obvious that the developers need to make a more concerted effort at achieving that next-gen feel next year, but for now we've got ourselves a winner.

Highlights: the mini-games are fun diversions, the online play seems to be hitch-free so far, and the controls are logically mapped to the buttons/sticks. I'm particularly impressed with some of the player animations. The dynasty mode is deep, and some of the gimmicky stuff (i.e., last year's "Race for the Heisman" mode) has been pared down.

Lowlights: literally, the game seems dark to me even with my TV settings adjusted, and overall the visuals don't make a real quantum leap from the XBox or PS2; the music and commentary needs a major overhaul; and the flavor of the college game needs to be recaptured (just showing the occasional fan, mascot, or cheerleader doesn't seem to do it).

I could be more impressed, but since this game is pretty steady from year to year, I'd rather see a solid product than one that whores itself out to wholesale changes that ultimately "fix what ain't broke." NCAA Football 2007 scores as usual, and brings promise of something even greater next season.