NCAA Football premiered in 2007 on the Xbox 360, which means it has taken four iterations to finally match the previous generations features. That’s sad, especially considering the relative lack of general game updates.
However, on the bright side, that means NCAA Football 10 is a complete version of the franchise, finally including the team builder that should have been there since day one. Using the term “feature rich” is inappropriate given the massive increase in content included, and the expansion of those delivered previously.
The Road to Glory hasn’t been necessarily expanded, but the presentation is an enormous improvement. Erin Andrews tracks your career as your grow, with video highlights from previous games played showcased in her reports. Pictures from your growing career adorn the dorm room interface, which is clunky but fun to walk through. This is what the ESPN integration has brought to the table, and while the in-game ticker graphics are still an EA original, the ESPN stamp is everywhere else.
In fact, the partnership has grown to the point where the marketing execs must be patting themselves on the back daily. An entire gameplay mode centers around slapping the NCAA Football 10 log on screen during ESPN airings of College Football Live, an impossibly blatant PR stunt that is fun for fans of top tier college teams; a complete waste for smaller markets.
The Season Showdown (brought to you by a sponsor because ESPN wasn’t enough apparently) awards points for games played with your chosen team. You are ranked in multiple categories, and as you score, tallies are sent to a national server where the results are tabulated. However, the scores are not averaged, but totaled. In other words, the team selected the most has an obvious advantage, and the Bowling Green Falcons are left to rot in the bottom rungs even if their fans prove supportive.
All of this is sent to ESPN, and via the menus, live radio updates keep tabs on the change in the ranks. As mentioned above, this will all be featured on ESPN when the season actually starts, saving millions of dollars in advertising while EA still tries to nickel and dime the user with ridiculous DLC cheats.
Otherwise, NCAA 10 is more than adequate on the field, despite the only notable change being a Game Plan which lets you select how aggressive your offensive and defensive sets should be. A new set of animations are welcome, even if the flipping tackle is overused. None of these kids would make it to the pros with hits like that. This is perfectly adequate and familiar otherwise.
Fans will undoubtedly find their niche ranking up their own schools in the Season Showdown. The rest will marvel at what a marketing juggernaut this franchise has become.