EA Sports returns with NCAA Football 14 on Xbox 360 and Playstation 3. This year’s installment comes with a bevy of promises on improved gameplay and presentation, let’s see if it lives up to the hype.
NCAA 14 sees the integration of the Infinity Engine that fans of the Madden series will be familiar with. It’s the game’s most immediately noticeable upgrade, as real-time physics are at play on every collision, cut, and hit. The Hit Stick is more central to defensive gameplay than ever before, enabling gamers to make big plays, and force turnovers.
EA Sports overhauled the running game this time around, with a specific focus on the option. For the first time, players can emulate the high octane spread offense of programs like Oregon. A renewed focus on blocking allows ball carriers to effectively navigate the field, opening up the play and enabling triple options, zone reads, and shovel options to be executed with more realism.
There’s a plethora of changes to presentation, too. New menu and loading screens offer a simpler delivery of game options, while over 500 new in-game animations help NCAA 14 feel like a new experience compared to its predecessors. New wide, zoom, and coordinator camera angles are a plus, as are the revamped player models, stadium atmospheres, and field textures.
The foundation from previous year’s efforts remains in dynasty mode, but new Coach Skills and Power Recruiting add depth to the game mode, while streamlining the team-building and courting processes. Coach skills provide 18 upgradeable categories to help you develop your players and boost your school’s ranking. No longer will you be tied up in phone calls and scouting for hours while recruiting the nation’s top high school talent, as recruiting ‘points’ can be allocated in a variety of ways.
Overall, NCAA 14 is an outstanding sports gaming experience. It’s been a long time coming for a true to life college football experience to hit the console circuit, and EA Sports’ NCAA Football 14 graduates with honors. The stagnant feeling left by NCAA 13 dissipates quickly once you take hit the field with the latest title. This is the college football game that college football fans have longed for.