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NCAA Football 2005 Package Art
††EA Tiburon
††Electronic Arts

NCAA Football 2005

Every year we say the same thing over and over again, so letís skip the foreplay and get right into the nitty-gritty. NCAA Football 2005 is easily the best in the series to date. As the first of the EA Sports 2005 titles to hit the GameCube, expectations are just a little high. Many casual gamers believe that sports games are all the same year-in and year-out. Such is not the case this year for NCAA Football. This title looks better, sounds better, feels better, and thanks to the newly included home field advantage, plays better too. This week is definitely the time to be a sports nut. There isnít anything a whole lot better than slipping out of your drawers, grabbing a cold can of Old Mil and kicking back with the latest and greatest game that college football has to offer.


This year, EA didnít really focus a whole lot of their time and effort in the visual stylings of NCAA Football. Everything still looks great and a vast improvement from last year is the complete lack of slow down. The textures are great, but are still surprisingly low-res compared to the stellar environments and stadiums. A lot of things have been completely recycled from last year such as brief in-game cut scenes like celebrations and introductions. The overall look of the game is a bit more sharp comparatively, but not necessarily worth raving about like the improvements in Madden 2005 or even NFL 2K5.


One major flaw that the game has is the recycled bits of commentary from Lee Corso. The manís a football genius, so throwing in sound bits that were recorded last year is just disgraceful. That being said, he still gives a great performance, even though he doesnít offer any helpful tactics in this title. Although itís a major complaint, itís a small one on the surface of what is the greatest achievement in sound that the series has seen to date.

With homefield advantage, the stadiums are just pouring out college atmosphere. Itís amazing to hear the steady roar of thousands upon thousands of drunk, disorderly, and/or football fans. Other sound effects like the tackles and dives are just painful to hear sometimes. Not as painful as what youíd hear in the NHL series, but still gripping.


As with any other college football game, atmosphere is key. Without the feeling of the college atmosphere, it would just be a scaled down version of Madden. At its heart, the NCAA Football series is a beast of a different color and this year, the tides have changed for the better. With Home Field Advantage, the game drips with atmosphere and will moisten any college football fanís pants. The deal with Home Field Advantage is that the entire system ranks up the toughest stadiums to play in this season. When you jump in as the home team and your crowd is pumped, ready for a good game and you pump them up even more, things get crazy. The sound of the crowd roaring becomes deafening as the screen begins to shake along with your controller. With all of this madness, audibles can hardly be heard at all, so if the defending team wants to change it up a bit, their teammates will notify the QB that they havenít heard a word he just said. In huge stadiums, the impact is truly significant but wonít be extremely helpful in smaller stadiums. This overall effect is very cool but if youíre playing as the visiting team, things can get a little frustrating, especially if youíre recovering after the opposing team ran in a 45 yard touchdown.

It would be simple to point out that staying composed during a situation like that would be difficult. To actually see how well or how poorly your players stand up to that kind of taunting and excruciatingly painful rattling of the fans, well thatís a horse of a different color isnít it? In NCAA Football 2005, youíll be able to keep track of how well your players are holding up to the stadiumís shaking. Composure is the key to making sure the players are performing as well as they can. If they become rattled, they may start making mistakes which could easily lose the game. Checking out your teamís composure is usually as simple as using the match-up stick. Using the right analog stick, you can check out how well your receivers match up with the DBs. You can also check your linebackers and the running backs or the offensive line and the defensive line. It definitely helps to know where your weak spots are so you donít end up handing the ball to the other team. In case you do manage to make a killer play, you can perform several different celebrations. Ranging from mild to extreme, the player, mascot or crowd will erupt in an in-your-face celebration. Extreme celebrations by the player can usually lead to penalties of unsportsmanlike conduct. If you want to get away with head butting your buddy, you canít do it in the NCAA, apparently.


Of course, the big news this year is EA Sportsí Xbox Live support. This leaves the GameCube as the only system without online support for these titles. Itís sad, but what are you going to do? Donít like online gaming? Pick up the GameCube version, then. With up to four players and four wavebirds, thereís not a whole lot more than you can ask for there if youíre not into the whole online scene.


While NCAA Football 2005 offers up a few things here and there, itís still apparent that the series is wearing down just a little. It doesnít get the attention it deserves when compared to the development on the Madden series. However, this isnít to say that itís not a great sports title. Itís easily the best in the series that Iíve played so far. The improvements are great and the action is still tight, thrilling, and fun. The only reason I can think of not to pick up this game is if you arenít into sports whatsoever. If you arenít, there are plenty other games for you to pick up. If you are into sports, hereís another reason to spend your cash this month. Check it out, be happy, kick back, and lay waste to the entire opposition with the San Diego Aztecs. Have fun!

final score 9.2/10

Staff Avatar Austin Starr
Staff Profile | Email
"If life's not beautiful without the pain / well I'd just rather never ever even see beauty again"

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