99 Cent Review: EA Sports NCAA Football 10 for XBox

Not all of us run out and pick up the latest and greatest video games. For those of us who do, it’s often difficult to find the time to fully explore the entire game for days on end the way gaming reviewers do. With that, I bring you the inaugural installment of “99 Cent Reviews”. Today I’ll be giving you the 99 Cent Review of ¬†EA Sports NCAA Football 10 for the XBox. Why 99? Because the Man couldn’t see fit to make it a dollar.

I contemplated not picking up NCAA 10 last year only because I already own NCAA 09 and figured how much could this game have improved in a year? Let me say this: A lot.

The Good

If you’ve ever played a college football game the first thing you’ll know is that the previews and highlights are nothing like the actual game itself. NCAA Football 10 is no different, however there are improvements to the detail of the grass, stadiums and players. Is it a huge change from 09? No, but enough to let you know you bought a different game.

There are a ton of enhancements and new features, including mini games, career modes and opportunities to play online that make the upgrade well worth it. I’m a fan of the Road to Glory mode, which replaces the Campus Legend feature in NCAA 09. RTG allows you to create a high school senior and take him from his senior year high playoffs through four years of college football and beyond. The Road to Glory series is hosted by Erin Andrews, which is OK, but don’t expect anything more than a little eye candy and generic comments about your athlete.

The play by play and commentary by the ESPN crew is also fun to listen to, although when you’re losing it becomes increasingly unbearable. Also, Lee Corso’s “Yo!” is the new Madden “Pow!”.

The Bad

There’s not much not to like about the game other than the original price point, which, given when it was released can be had for a steal nowadays. One pitfall, which I’ll touch on below, is that the notion of a lower ranked team potentially upsetting a number one team is almost nil. I get it that the SEC has great teams but they lose too. I’ve also noticed some connectivity issues playing XBox Live, but they’re rare.

The Ugly

XBox Live is where things get ugly as bad sportsmanship is pretty routine. I routinely find users switching between handles as to not disrupt their “pristine” handle’s record, or switching to an alias so they can cut out on a game as soon as they go down by more than one score. Admittedly, I’ve been trounced and the opponent won’t offer mercy, which is where they get the win and the game ends immediately. So yes, even I’m guilty of dumping out of a game from time to time.

It’s also quite annoying when everyone wants to be Florida or Alabama when playing a Ranked Game, which is where you move up or down the EA Sports leader board. I get it that you want to win, but what fun is it to play with the best teams in the game where everyone has 99 speed and never misses a tackle? Part of the fun of this game comes from the unpredictability and the notion that “that’s why they play the game”; taking the top teams every time spoils that fun.

Conclusion

Overall if you don’t own it and see it on clearance somewhere my recommendation is to pick it up, just make sure you also have an XBox Live membership to take full advantage of the online game play.

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