NCAA Football 08 Review

It’s July, so that means it’s officially time to start the video game football season! With NCAA 08 and All-Pro both coming out recently, gamers are likely attempting to choose between those two when it comes to their pre-Madden gaming. Look for Chris P. to cover the bases on All-Pro in his own review sometime soon.

NCAA Football 08 is much better than the 07 version. The game just didn’t feel next-gen or perform nearly as well on the next-gen consoles as it had in the past, and that left many gamers worried. Fear not, though, because 08 fixes that.

For starters, the framerate has been bumped up noticeably (on the 360, at least – the PS3 still chugs along at 30fps, according to several reports). It may not seem like much, but the improvement makes the game play much more realistically, and allows for a lot of little things you haven’t seen before.

Unfortunately, the game’s graphics engine suffers in some rather shoddy collision detection half the time, and the increased framerate also makes that more noticeable. Players will clip through one another, a falling player’s foot will send an offensive lineman flying five yards, and stiff arms may pass through their intended target entirely.

As far as the gameplay is concerned, 08 is a nice refresher from the toned down version 07 was. Obviously you have the stalwart modes such as Dynasty, but now you’re also able to play the Campus Legend mode. A lot like Madden’s Superstar mode, this lets you take control of one player and guide him through his career. Unlike Madden’s mode, it’s actually a lot of fun and works very well.

It starts off in the high school playoffs, where your performance will determined which schools recruit you. After picking a school, you attend practices, learn the plays, and do the normal stuff a college freshman does while you earn your playing time. Thankfully, you can fast-forward through things not directly involving you, so you don’t have to sit and watch an entire game play out while you sit around doing nothing. The position specific cameras are also well done, and are very playable (they even make it more enjoyable! What a difference from Madden…).

Unfortunately, the online mode still isn’t quite up to what gamers expect. Sure you can play each other, but you can’t create dynasties or compete in a season against friends in order to see who’s the best. It might still be hard to program, but the dividends would have paid off.

Despite the lackluster commentary ("If I hear that line one more time…" has began to annoy anyone watching me), so-so graphics and shady collision detection, and lack of a solid online mode, NCAA Football 08 is still a good game. The gameplay itself is fast and entertaining (for the 360 – we weren’t sent a PS3 version, so no comment on how much the reduced framerate changes things), the dynasty and campus legend modes will keep football gamers occupied for a long time, and the leadership control is a nice touch to bring some realism to the game. It’s certainly a far better game than NCAA 07; whether or not it betters Madden and All-Pro will remain to be seen.


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Author: Brendon Lindsey View all posts by

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