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NCAA Football 10
Playstation 3, XBox 360

Reviewed on: XBox 360

EA Tiburion
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Rated: "E" for Everyone

CHEATfactor Game Review
by Joe Sinicki

Audio/Visual: 6
Gameplay: 5
Lasting Appeal: 5
Overall: 6
CHEATfactor: 6

Much like the high-profile Madden franchise, there’s always been two schools of thought on EA’s NCAA Football series. One side looks at the gridiron game with a speculative eye, accusing the publisher of releasing the same game every year with minor changes and the rest…well...they’ll pretty much buy the game regardless of what’s in it.

Though it does have its faults – most of which have carried over from previous installments, NCAA Football 2010 is sure to please even the most jaded gamer.  This year’s title features a wide array of addicting game modes, customization options and tweaks that make the title a strong recommendation.

The biggest addition to this year’s title is no doubt the revolutionary Team Builder mode. We’ve seen create-a-team modes before – but there’s more here, much more. This time around, everything is done online and you can tweak everything from logos and jersey style, to your team’s stadium and mascot. I’m sure you can guess what fun uploading a picture of your great aunt Agnes’ face for your team’s logo could lead to, but when you really stop to think about it, including the Team-Builder is an incredibly strategic move on EA’s part.  Just think about it, for years fans have been crying foul over the developer’s decision to not include certain teams or divisions and now anyone can create any team with striking realism.

"Season Showdown allows you to designate one team as your favorite..."


Another exciting feature new to this year’s game is the Season Showdown mode. Taking bragging rights to a new level, Season Showdown allows you to designate one team as your favorite – and that team will automatically be selected in the game’s other modes. Personally, I’m a die-hard Wisconsin Badgers fan; by selecting the team the first time I popped the disk in, a Wisconsin dynasty was already started and my new recruit automatically had the option to attend Wisconsin in the Road to Glory Mode.
The real lure of Season Showdown is the ability to earn points based on what you do in the game.  Of course, you can earn points based on scoring touchdowns and winning games, but you can also earn them in ways you wouldn’t think of; like playing like your team how you would in real life or showing good sportsmanship. At the end of the season, each team’s points are added up and the team with the most will be crowned Season Showdown Champ.

At the heart of any college football game is the Dynasty Mode. If you’re not a die-hard fan of the series you won’t notice much difference from previous games, but with a much more stream-lined recruitment process, everything just seems to run a bit smoother. NCAA Football 2010 also features an online Dynasty (an offline Dynasty can be converted to online and vice-versa) which is incredibly addicting, especially when you have multiple users competing for the hottest recruits.

The Road to Glory mode is essentially the Campus Legend mode of years past where you guide one player from high school through graduation with one key addition -- ESPN anchor Erin Andrews hosts a show documenting your college football career. To put it blunt – she’s eye candy. That by itself isn’t a bad thing at all but it’s disappointing that no new features were incorporated into the mode when each of the other modes were improved so drastically.

Of course, all of the shiny new modes and features in the world mean nothing if the core gameplay isn’t there.  For the most part, NCAA Football 2010 gets more right than it gets wrong – and the title delivers an incredible football experience. At the core of this experience is the much improved run-game. Finally – running doesn’t feel like a chore and simple things like running up the middle for small gains feel incredibly rewarding.  What’s frustrating is that the game’s faults are the same as its predecessor’s and they haven’t been improved upon – let alone corrected.

"...option to change your defensive strategy on the fly."


It’s a simple fact of football video games that playing defense is rarely as fun as playing on the offensive side of the ball.  NCAA Football attempts to rectify this by giving players multiple options to make the defensive game more interesting. New to this year’s game is the option to change your defensive strategy on the fly. Want to send a message early and play aggressive, then play conservative with a small lead towards the end of the game? It’s all available at the touch of a button. Of course – you could just use the Super-sim mode as seen in last year’s Madden and simulate the action until you’re next possession.

There are a few nagging bugs that hinder the gaming experience, like how the game seems to favor the AI, especially in the passing game.  Like in previous versions your QB either seems to lose his composure or the defense gets incredibly good at the most inopportune times. It’s frustrating but to the developer’s credit – they mask it well. After throwing an interception, you have the opportunity to regain your composure by correctly reading the defense and picking the formation from a list.

With all of the flak EA gets for releasing similar games year after year; it’s refreshing to see a title with so many innovations.  Sure, it has its issues but NCAA 2010 is an incredibly deep and rewarding football experience that every gridiron fan should appreciate.  



CHEATS USED: Team Unlocks, Super-Dive, Unlimited Timeouts, more

Look closely. NCAA Football has a dirty little secret. In Dynasty Mode users can shell out cash to get a quick route to everything from higher rankings, to more prestige or recruiting options. While these options technically don’t do anything you can’t achieve in the game by playing through outright – it just doesn’t help quell EA’s reputation of being money hungry.

But, I digress – NCAA 2010 does feature a password system that offers some pretty cool cheats. There are your standard “all-time” teams to unlock but what’s really cool is that there are a lot of options to change everything from the way your opponent plays to the rules of the game themselves.  Two favorites include the unlimited timeouts (really ice the kicker!) to the super-dive cheat. It all feels very retro, and adds a bit of an arcade style feel to a very sim-heavy game.



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