Thoughts on ‘NCAA Football 06′

I’m actually writing the review today, but here’s my early take on EA’s college football titles after spending a chunk of the weekend with them. Just to be sure, I played both the PS2 and Xbox 360 versions.

Obviously, the 360 version looks outstanding, but that’s about all I can say about it. The framerate’s a little too slow for my liking, and I don’t know why the defensive linemen and linebackers are roughly the same size as the quarterback. I’ve always had that problem with the “NCAA” character models — it’s hard to hear Herbstreit talk about the “big hogmollies” up front when they look like they should be on the basketball team. I might sound picky, but next-gen titles should be held to next-gen standards, no? We should be past some of this stuff. I actually got a little annoyed whenever I scored a touchdown, as well. Every time you score, these two gigantic helmets clamber and crash onto the screen like malfunctioning bumper cars. I got to see them once in the middle of a kickoff return. Sweet.

I actually found more initial enjoyment out of the current-gen version. True, it looks practically the same as the other ones, but it moves with much more fluidity than the one of the 360. It also works in some nifty in-game camera tricks, as if to compensate for the fact that the graphics aren’t mind-blowing. For instance, on deep throws, the camera zooms in and the action slows down (think bullet-time) to add drama to the big catch — or drop. This also happens when someone ALMOST makes an interception or lays down a huge hit. I saw some of this in last year’s game, but it wasn’t as prevalent, and your players had to be “in the zone” to see some of it. It eventually gets just a bit irritating, especially of you have a drive loaded with big plays, big hits and near picks. Zoom-mania ensues.

Right now, I’m diving a little more into the “campus legend” mode. My tailback plays for Texas and he’s an English major (listed as one of the “hard” majors in the game, next to stuff like chemistry). I’ve developed a mini-routine where I have to budget time for study, extra practice, and partying. Here’s to hoping character issues don’t hurt me in the draft.

Back with more later. Or you can just read the review on Thursday. This week, I’m meeting with Konami and 2K, so I’ll be a commuting beast.