Tuesday, July 18, 2006

NCAA 07 Demo Xbox 360 - Review

The NCAA 07 Demo is out for Xbox 360. How does it stack up? What information can be gleaned from this demo to determine if it is a must buy or a pass? Being a lover of not only American Football video games, but all sports games, this was a download I had been anticipating. However, after impatiently waiting for the 1.05 gb file to complete, and getting right into it, I was left in the end unimpressed and dissapointed. With just a month wait till Madden 07 releases, I was originally planning on buying NCAA 07 to fill in the time, but this demo has made me confidently decide to keep waiting for Madden 07 instead. Nothing to miss. Of course, modes like Online multiplayer and full season Single Player cannot be evaluated. The benefit of demos is that you can quickly get a rough idea of how the game will play, what the graphics will be like, and the general feel of the game...basically, the fun factor. Will it consume your waking hours? The short answer is "no". -- Graphics -- While much work has gone into refining the player animations and cut-away shots, the overall realism is still in the neighborhood of last-gen. No great graphical leap into the multi-core/multi-threaded horsepower that next-gen so promises. The bigger problem, however, is that the frame rates are very poor. Everything from the game itself to the cut-away shots all suffer. -- Gameplay -- I have always preferred the gameplay/animations of 2K Sports' American Football games to EA's. With EA, the action was always a bit too unrealistic, a bit too fast, a bit too rigid. With EA, running backs would collide into the Lineman and literally either get stuck or bounce back at the merest of touches. While with 2K, the collision animations were always highly advanced. Running backs would glide, spin, or juke just like humans do thru packs of players and, depending on their momentum, be either dragged down over a number of yards or get driven to the turf. Unfortunately, with NCAA 07, EA's overall gameplay animations are still as lacklustre as they've always been. A Toss play never resembles a real Toss play. Your team's AI still clueless how to block, forcing you to run inside anyway. A Dive play always results in the running back getting stuck between the jumble of Linesmen animations. Option and Screen plays still result in fumbles and lack of organization among your teammates. Play Action plays still result in sacks and fumbles while still in the motion of dropping back. Post and Cross routes are still Pass plays that always work no matter. While at all times the slightest touch from an opposing player results in those horrid collision animations. There is no suppleness or softness to the action. Players play and feel like pixels, not humans. It's as though they all have an invisible aura of pixels around them that are literally square. As animations near each other there is no leeway, no space, inbetween them. The invisible points could be a yard away on screen yet it results in a collision which sees both players unrealistically bounce back as though two mannequins collided and fell backwards. The same problems also exists on the Defensive end of the game. Playing as a Lineman is still as futile as it always has been for the same reasons. DB's in good position still cannot make intercepts unless the AI determines it so. Players blow their assignments on both sides of the ball. Everything is left to the AI to determine what happens from play to play more than human influence. -- Feel -- While EA continually enhances and refines the visual presentation of its American Football franchizes, with overlay information, beautiful cut-away shots, and enhanced PlayCalling presentations, the essential part of any game is always the actual playability from huddle to huddle. It seems EA has done very little at all in this regard over the years in making the game more realistic and therefore captivating. With the amount of Plays that still do not come out right, the non-human speed of the actions, and the poor collision animations, it ends up meaning that the game lacks FUN. Leaves the game wide open for 'cheesing' in order to actually effect sacks, interceptions, or positive yardage. The AI is still the overriding factor from play to play, necessitating the human player to actually have to 'cheese' in order to influence the game beyond the totalitarian grip of the AI. -- Conclusion -- This game releases on the 17th July, but with Madden 07 to be released in mid-August, it is a better bet to skip NCAA 07 and wait for Madden. While Madden 07 will most likely still have the same typical EA flaws as always, all the new features being put into Madden 07 will give that game a far more enjoyable experience than what NCAA 07 is offering. For that month before Madden 07 releases, I seriously doubt the game will retain any playability in favor of more enjoyable games like COD2 or Oblivion, let alone after Madden 07 releases in mid-August. -- Rating -- I feel that ratings are pedantic and somewhat useless. The difference between a 7.5 and a 7.8 is what exactly? Besides being highly subjective, with different reviewers giving the same game a 7 or a 9, does it ever tell a person exactly what they want to know? So I propose a fairly simple process. The game is either a must-get, a pass, or a so-so. Therefore, based on the demo as a representation of the actual retail game, I give this game a THUMBS DOWN.

5 Comments:

Blogger Journey said...

1 out of 10... are you serious? I downloaded the demo to my 360 and I think it deserves more than a 1. Maybe a 7 out of 10.

7/18/2006 08:57:00 AM  
Blogger gg said...

Well, maybe I should leave out my ratings, because I'm usually always too tough. But, ok, I will adjust my rating to something more normal.

7/18/2006 11:21:00 AM  
Blogger Zucas said...

Haha originally put a 1 out of 10. Probably deserves it. Sports games are the exact same that they were 8-10 years ago.

But great reveiw gg.

7/18/2006 11:47:00 AM  
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7/22/2006 08:48:00 PM  

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