It is that time of year where baseball takes a break for the All-Star break, hockey and basketball are done and sports fans start to crave their favorite sport; Football. So what better way to celebrate America’s game than to turn to gaming to get the adrenaline pumping and start scratching that itch? The time has come for Electronic Arts to officially start a new year of football games with this year’s edition of NCAA Football. Switch on your consoles, pop in those discs and let’s get into the finer details of EA’s NCAA Football 14.
NCAA Football 14 has been given a complete visual overhaul for the new year. Players will see brand new loading screens and new menus when you first start the game. It has a similar menu flow to Madden 13, so if you liked the way that game was organized, you should feel right at home with NCAA Football 14. Once you get to the game options menu, you will notice that you now have dozens of new uniform options to choose from. If you loved Oregon Universities uniforms from a few years ago or some alternate jersey, chances are that color scheme is in the game. When the game starts, you’ll also notice fan chants and battle cries have been added to the mix. If you are an Alabama Football fan, you’ll hear Kernkraft 400 playing on the loud speakers, just like you do at the games. These small touches don’t sound like a lot, but they do add plenty of personality and give the game a unique feel.
When you take a look under the hood, NCAA Football 14 is using the newly-tuned Infinity Engine 2, which includes the Force Impact System. This new engine seems to take your forward momentum into consideration when determining how or if you get tackled. If you are running a dive play and your running back has been running for five or six yards, you have a good chance to shed the first blocker or two just on momentum alone. This engine gives NCAA Football 14 a much cleaner look than it has in previous editions of the game. Granted, the visuals aren’t perfect by any means, but it is certainly a noticeable improvement.
If you are more into the Ultimate Team features of other EA Sports titles, you’ll be happy to know that Ultimate Team has been added to NCAA Football 14. You can earn certain players by completing the lessons from the Nike Skills Trainer, earn coins to claim or purchase new players or you can purchase packs online to improve your team. You’ll be able to play as some of the greatest players in the NFL while they were in college, adding an interesting dynamic to your favorite players. In Ultimate Team, you can play a full 10-game season complete with playoffs and championships or you can take on solo challenges which is more instructional in nature. Either method you choose, you’ll have plenty of fun and plenty of challenge to satisfy even the most season veteran.
While the Dynasty mode has been around, there are several new features that gives the mode a face-lift for the new year. This year, players will be able to take control of the head coach and perform new responsibilities like never before. First, you’ll be able to level up your coach with the new Coach Skills experience tree. This will allow you to control your coach’s style and skill set through choosing new abilities when you earned enough experience. You can earn experience by doing a good job on the field, winning and signing new recruits. Once you have enough experience, you’ll earn a skill point which can be used in one or two skill trees; Game Management and Recruiting. In those trees, you’ll be able to choose one of eighteen upgradable, multi-level abilities. Second, you’ll have access to the recruiting process which gives you a new level of team management. This new recruiting system replaces the old phone call system with a points-based system. You can spread these points over potential recruits and the more interest you show them, the more likely they will be to come to your school. You’ll also be able to invite new recruits to your school and influence them while they are there. You’ll be given bonuses if you bring the right pair of players together for recruiting trips. Pair that stud quarterback with an all-state wide receiver to get a bonus, however it works both ways. If you bring in two running backs on the same trip, you’ll take a recruiting hit. This new system is probably the best part of the game and it adds quite a bit to the overall experience of the game.
The tutorial system has also been given a new look by way of the Nike Skills Trainer. Here you’ll learn how all the plays work, how to control the outcomes and earn some bonuses as well. Each skill gives you the possibility of earning a medal. Bronze medals are easy to obtain and will help you move forward in the drills, however earning gold on these challenges can be difficult, but if you succeed, you’ll earn a player for your Ultimate Team. It is worth taking these gold challenges on because they will help you prepare while improving your team at the same time.
Overall, football fans will be happy with this edition of NCAA Football 14. There are plenty new edition to the game that add a lot of personality and promise to the franchise. The new recruiting system really works for the title and the new additions are welcome. This is certainly the best entry in the series. Of course, when you are comparing this game to Madden, similarities are prevalent. However, there is enough here to set this game apart including the fight songs and the head coach responsibilities that make this worth the purchase even if you are a die hard Madden fan. If you like football games and you want to try something a little different, NCAA Football 14 is definitely worth the investment.
This review is based on a review copy of the PlayStation 3 version of NCAA Football 14 developed by EA Tiburon published by EA Sports
- Ultimate Team
- New Recruiting System
- Hit Detection / Tackling