Review: NCAA Football 12

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NCAA Football 12 asks gamers the same question every summer:

Do you need a new college football game?

Die-hard fans who have no problem spending $60 on each year’s edition already know the answer to that question, and those who wait a few seasons between purchases will likely be pleased with EA Sports’ latest iteration of their college football franchise.

NCAA 12 offers some new features to a franchise that has offered a solid replication of the college football experience for well over a decade. New stuff, like team-specific pregame rituals. add some flavor to this year’s edition. But anyone who has played an NCAA Football game before knows what to expect at this point.

For the most part, NCAA 12’s strengths are the same as its predecessors.
EA Sports, however, seems to have fumbled in at least one important
area, as the game’s Teambuilder feature, which lets players create
customized teams, appears to be afflicted with serious problems as of
the game’s release.

After going through the work of creating a team on the game’s Website,
NCAA 12 told me I didn’t have permission to download my creation to my
console.  I realized I wasn’t the only player having some sort of problem
with Teambuilder after checking out the game’s support forum. (Edit: After first writing this review, I learned that the problem was
not with Teambuilder, but that my XBox Live settings were configured to
accept user-generated data from EA Sports’ website. I have since succeeded in uploading my own custom team.)

I realize the complexity of modern games makes it virtually impossible
to avoid release-date bugs, but that doesn’t make those bugs any less
. Thankfully, I didn’t run into any real problems during actual gameplay.

NCAA 12 lets players control their favorite college team for
online or single-player games. Fans can also create a player and take
him from high school to university in its “Road to Glory” mode.

As longtime series fans know, NCAA games’ visuals and
animations are attractive, but not as detailed as those of EA Sports’
Madden NFL series. To be fair, the NCAA developers have to simulate many
more uniforms and stadiums than their Madden counterparts, and NCAA
thrives on the rich variety of college sports.

That means players can try to figure out how to run Navy’s option
offense or see if UCLA’s pistol offense can work in the new Pac-12.

NCAA 12’s new features include animal mascots and some teams’
distinctive pregame rituals. It’s fun to see something like War Eagle
soar above the field, but that kind of thing is really little more than
eye candy.

Fact is, there’s really not much more to add to the NCAA franchise at
this point, since the game’s developers pretty much of the formula down

But that doesn’t stop them from trying. The game’s “Road to Glory”
career mode now lets players try to play on both sides of the ball and
the title now offers a “Coaching Carousel” mode for those who want to
play the role of a coach making his way up the ranks from coordinator to
head coach.

Players can even remake conferences, just like the Pac-12, Big 10 and Big 12 bigwigs did during the offseason.

In “Road to Glory,” players start by creating high school athletes,
allowing a much more athletic “Andrew Edwards” to play as a right end
for his simulated alma mater, “Rowland Heights High School,” and
eventually win a scholarship to UCLA.

The real author of this review, however, had to take out student loans
and only played football in the annual “Blood Bowl” between the student
journalists of the Daily Bruin and Daily Trojan.

Road to Glory can be fun in short bursts, but I personally prefer to build a team over time in the traditional dynasty mode.

A good sports game can give players dozens, if not hundreds of hours of
gameplay. Despite my immediate frustration with Teambuilder, I would
expect that many college football fans could nonetheless squeeze their
money’s worth from NCAA 12.

NCAA Football 12
EA Sports
PlayStation 3/XBox 360 (Reviewed on XBox 360)
Rated E for Everyone