Well rounded College Football Game. As good if not better in some areas compared to Madden 07
As January 1st, 2008 I had a rule that I will only review a game after I completed it also when it refers to a Xbox 360 game I have to get all the achievements on the game. Now with these criteria it made reviewing NCAA Football 07 took longer than Madden 07. While there are plenty of modes to play, one in particular extended the game time a bit longer than expected. While this is a stand alone product not requiring Madden 07, I will also try to bring out the notable differences between this first release and Madden 07 release. I will not be comparing it to any subsequent releases. I am assuming that while you read this you know some American football terminology.
Game play: 8/10
The first thing the game asks you to do is to pick your favourite NCAA school, doing so changes the look of the menus and the background songs that play. One of the first game options you have is quick play. You pick two schools and field conditions and your ready to go. This option to just get right down to playing the game is a good way to learn the controls. While the depth of the controls and options might seem overwhelming. But with after a few games familiarity with the offense and defence controller layout will become second nature. The play selection is the same with most teams but with slight differences between teams notably their defences schemes. On the field playing either offense or defence is noticeable with each of the individual skills. Running, catching, blocking, tackling is rather quite fun and the controls make it easy to do all those moves.
The dynasty mode lets you manage, coach and play any of the available school teams. You manage everything from recruiting , redshirting (back up squads) to setting up starters and 2nd and 3rd strings. You have plenty of off season activities from wooing top high school players to losing graduates. The biggest problem is maintaining good recruiting, win and students will want to attend your school, lose and you end up with mediocre players year in and year out. One big difference between NCAA and Madden is two mini games, Bowling and Tug of War. In bowling mini game, you start at the opposition 10 yard line, the goal is a touch down. Each touchdown is a strike, if you don't make it, each yard gained counts like a downed pin. Spares and Strikes count in 10 frames. In the tug of war mini game you start at mid field and possession changes after every play. As with normal game, object is to get a touchdown but it adds a rather nice twist to it.
The menu system is rather basic but well done with each of the school colors. The backgrounds have campus pictures. For college players all of them seem to be NFL size or bigger. While they do look great, I was hoping for a bit more realism.
Sound and Music: 6/10
There is no soundtrack music like the Madden Series and it has school themes playing during the menus and the games. The crowd noise is much better than Madden with the school band blasting in the background. The commentary is decent without getting too repetitious. The problem with the commentary is the announcers will call the players by either their position or their numbers since the players and coaches names are factious.
Difficulty: 3/10 (Degree of skill to enjoy the game)
If the game is set to easy, one can learn the game and controls very fast. Once the setting and sliders are set to a more rigid AI then it will require more skill and thought. With understanding the game and the team you're using, enjoying the game will be within a short time frame. The harder settings make for a more interesting match to play and watch.
Easy 1000 (Between 10-15 Hours) with mostly playing a handful of games and simulating the dynasty modes. The part longest requiring you to play/simulate 60 dynasty seasons. No Achievements have any glitches but some require some degree of skill and/or luck, one being Perfect Game Achievement. Also you will require to play one college season to export to Madden 07 to obtain Madden 07 "Import Draft Class" Achievement
In comparison to Madden 07, this game offers a bit more gaming options. While most football games are the same the depth of schools and the loss of graduating players does offer a slight challenge over its Madden counterpart. With the price on used markets for a low price, it's a great value buy especially for a sports buff or a collector.