Arts & Culture » Games

Cheat Code

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NCAA Football 10
EA Sports
PS3 Xbox360, Ps2

Ah, the good-old college New Year's gameplan. You've had your walk of shame, washed away the debauchery and sucked down a meal that you soon hurled. There's only one thing left to do: Turn on football, and watch the USC Trojans demolish whichever unfortunate Big Ten team drew them in the BCS bowl process. See, a Trojans win is practically a foregone conclusion; they're faster, stronger and better than those who get in their way. And when top players leave school the team doesn't appear to rebuild as much as it does reload. Electronic Art's NCAA Football series works the same way. It's mostly the same game every season, but certain tweaks make it that much better than last year's entry. 

Because it's both a straight-up football shoot-out and a simulator, there are several ways to play an NCAA Football game. You can jump into the game, or spend all day building a juggernaut team without playing a single down. You can choose your favorite university and lead its team to glory by setting your schedule and recruiting top high school prospects to replace graduating players. And the actual gameplay is top quality, the controls are tight. On offense, rushing the football is finally effective, as opposed to letting the pigskin fly and hoping for the best. Defense, on the other hand, can be annoying, since the AI sometimes sees a defensive player sticking to his original defensive assignment, doing nothing while the QB in front of him is begging to be sacked.  

Dynasty mode is tweaked from previous years and it's easier to handle the management side. The recruiting is expanded to make signing that blue chip prospect less random, if not easier. The road to glory mode is less impressive; it's essentially the same as last year's campus legend mode except that ESPN's Erin Andrews narrates. Biggest criticism: the constant upselling of additional game enhancements through Xbox Live, or the Playstation store — it's as if shelling out 60 bucks wasn't enough!

In all, NCAA Football is immersive. With so many little tweaks it's clear why EA is king when it comes to college football sims. Take what works, and make it better — just like fuckin' USC.

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