NCAA Football 08 demo impressions

Posted July 11th, 2007 at 12:16 pm
NCAA Football 08 Demo USC

So after playing several games within the NCAA Football 08 demo, I'm ready to lay out my thoughts on it.

The game plays so smooth and is very reactive. You can thank 60fps for that. Have to feel for those who are stuck with the PS3 version.

The graphics look very good. Not a huge upgrade over last year but it didn't need one. The improved player models look great.

An addition that is probably considered small by most but made me really happy is that when you call an audible, on the screen it displays the name of the plays along with their corresponding buttons. No more having to memorize or guess. 

I still am not real happy with the change to the play calling screen. I'm sure its something that I'll get used to, but I don't really like the new setup.

The auto-motion is neat, but I get impatient waiting for the snap.

Holding down the right trigger and up on the right analog to get the coaches cam is awkward. You push down and see the motivation. 

I was surprised how well the game played for being on Varsity difficulty. It was relatively balanced and challenging for being on a dumbed-down level.

Way too many fumbles. There were even a couple times where there were multiple fumbles on a single play. 4-5 fumbles in a 2 minute quarter game is reason for concern. This could also have something to do with Varsity level.

I was impressed with the blocking, however it can't really be judged on this difficulty setting.

Nice to see that even on Varsity running around with pocket QBs proved to be an ineffective strategy. 

Had a few instances of a ball carrier being surrounded by defenders and somehow he gets out of it. The gang tackling is decent but seems inconsistent. 

Atmosphere is lacking. Not having the play-by-play certainly factors into that feel, but for me its more about missing the true nature of Home Field Advantage. Its something that plagues both NCAA Football and Madden, they don't represent the importance of that properly. 

Padre's most frustrating thing in a football game is running a play fake to only get sacked before turning around. I HATE this, and it happened several times. Guess this means I might be taking play actions out of my arsenal.  

There is a stutter after calling a play before the team breaks the huddle. Found that to be annoying.

Got a little tired of the game taking auto-snapshots. 

Overall I think NCAA Football is going to turn out well based on how the demo looks and plays. The general reaction has been very positive. It just didn't really thrill me all that much.

There are a few reasons why I feel that is the case. The first is I already knew just how much of a difference 60fps was going to make. It seems many people are stunned at how much better the game is just due to that alone. When it comes to playing on Varsity difficulty it makes it tough to judge whether an issue is due to being on that setting or an actual game problem. On a personal level I am mostly looking forward to Campus Legend, video/screenshot uploading, and online play. All of those things are not available in the demo.

So I see NCAA Football 08 being just enough to hold me over until Madden 08 if this demo is a good indication of what to expect. There are some frustrating things that would wear on me over time, but all I need is a solid month out of it which I'm pretty sure it will provide.