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NCAA Football 2003

Developer: EA Sports | Publisher: Electronic Arts
Players: 1 to 2 Player Game | Release Date: 07/20/02 | Genre: Sports

It use to be that this week's review was nothing more than kind of a sneak peek at the most anticipated game to come out every year (and yes, that's EA Sports Madden Football.) It would usually show a few of the new features in the upcoming Madden game and how it has changed from the previous version. But as you will read, this week's game has now stepped up and turned into a true player, a game that has really become one of the elite and will turn all your free time into game time.

Football is football. There are always gonna be tackles and touchdowns, blitzes and blocks, players and passes. And this is all fine and good because football is America's sport (and don't tell me baseball is -- I don't wanna hear those lies!). But what do you do when you have to translate a video game every year to match that sport? I mean, sure, you can just update rosters and change jerseys but what else can you do? It's the same game, isn't it? Well, thank goodness for creative people who are never satisfied because over the years we have seen football video games move from X's and O's to the unbelievable graphics you see in these very screen shots! And this week we take a look inside what just might be the best ever put out there (and this isn't even Madden yet!) Strap on your helmet--you're gonna need it!

Okay, this is going to be tough just for the simple fact that there are so many things to touch on here so I apologize if I miss some. The first thing is the opening screen where, of course, you get the graphic and logo for EA NCAA Football 2003 -- It's in the game. But then it cuts away to actual people (fans from around this great country of ours) telling us it IS in the game! There is nothing better then seeing the fans geeked up about their favorite college team and telling you "it's in the game" in an awesome FMV (full motion video) clip!

After that you will be asked your favorite college football team and with 144 Division 1-A and 1-AA teams you should find one that fits you! And if for some freakish reason you can't find your team then all you have to do is make one up with the My favorite team feature! Finally CV-Games can have its own college football team. And along with building your own university you can set it up to be a real dynasty where after you complete a year you must go out and recruit players to fill the spots of the ones who left. Along with those modes there are also the season, preseason, post season, and my personal favorite, the Mascot game where you get to be your favorite mascot and actually play ball as the mascot! This, along with the opportunity to earn credits (like Madden points) for items to cash in for pennants which give specials "things" that you can use and do in games you play.

NCAA has the same feel as any of the great Madden Football titles so no need to worry about the actual gameplay--it is flawless. And one of the coolest things about this title is the reality factor. What do I mean by that? Well, NCAA takes a piece from all the reality TV that is going on these days (and since I am talking about Reality TV stuff, the Big Brother 3 and Anna Nichol Smith shows are freakin' awesome (even if she is a ho')--now back to the review) in that it takes the HUMAN element and adds it to the gameplay. For example, if your favorite college QB is having a hard game, he could just be in a slump. Team loses a couple in a row? It won't be good for team morale and some lineman might not make that block. The human response is all over this game, increasing the pleasure as it has never done before.

Another important part of the game is the sound. Two hundred unique fight songs, rosters, and drum cadences--ALL of them are brand-new recordings. This is over three times the number of songs we had in NCAA 2002. Along with the great (and humorous) commentary by Lee Corse, Kirk Herbstreet, and Brad Nessler, the audio is fantastic.

What's not so good? The one and only disappointment I have in this game really isn't even a problem with the game but with the amount of memory needed to save the game. In the Playstation 2 version it takes up to 3.6MB to save a game. And on the Nintendo Gamecube version it uses a whopping 224 blocks. This is a whole lot of memory for one game... but like you will be playing anything else after you get this title!

Not only is this game fun, but also is by far the best college football game I have ever played. And I would also say the best but Madden 2003 is coming out (or may be out by the time you read this) and I dunno, but as great as this game is, Madden 2003 might just be better! But don't take this week's game for granted -- this is one terrific game. It has unbelievable depth, great graphics, and fun commentary! If this game were enrolled in college, it would have a perfect GPA and would be head of the class at Harvard or one of those other Ivy League schools. This is truly an A+!

By Chris "Hoss" Neupert - 08/28/02
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Screenshots for NCAA Football 2003

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