STAFF REVIEW of NCAA Football 2003 (Xbox)

Wednesday, August 7, 2002.
by Rick Wallace

NCAA Football 2003 Box art NCAA 2003 is one of the greatest college football video games I have ever played. It has school spirit, team spirit, the drive of college atheletes and most of all great gameplay!!! Graphics are stunning as is the commentary and fight songs. This game is a definite two thumbs up in my book and should be in yours. There are only a few very minor flaws in this game that can easily be overlooked while playing. That makes for a great game!

The game plays fairly simple. NCAA gives you and easy button style menu to choose your plays on either offense or defense. The AI isn't a brain yet but its getting better each year so dont expect the burn the defense with your favorite play every time. The passing game uses a little preciseness from time to time whether it be having to throw a lob pass or making sure you rifle that ball into the receiver. As for the running game, its definitely "in the game". Run off tackle, up the middle, counter left, option. Doesnt mater you are likely to pick up a few yards each run or maybe even break the big one.

There is a dynasty mode that surpasses all others. Once you get past the first year your players you recruit will have actual names instead of just numbers. Due to NCAA rules and regs current players are not allowed to have their names displayed in the game. Bummer. Don't wanna mess up some promising kids career though, we all no who the big names are and what number they are anyway. You will try to recruit the top prospects in the country to play for your school and if ya cant get them you may be in trouble in years to come. So be sure to make plenty of visits and calls from your coaches.

The bowl ranking system here sucks! But how can you expect it to be any good whent he real system dont even work. LOL! Thats not EA's fault, blame those panzies in the NCAA boards.

While you're at it take your favorite mascot in a head to head battle with your least favorite mascot. There's just something appealing about a Blue Devil tackling a huge Orange. Take that as need be.

Trophies, awards, and championship bowl games are all here. This game is it man!

I did have the game freeze up on me twice and had this same occurrence in last years game. Not quite sure why, but I had to replay that game because the only thing I could do to unfreeze it was turn off the Xbox. Didnt like that too much escpecially since I was winning the frozen game and lost the replay version.

Each year the players, fields, stadiums, and weather looks better and better. And this year is no exception. The animations are fairly smooth even though there seems to be some slowdown near the goallines sometimes. Not always but it does happen.

The fields get torn up in wet weather, which I think is really kewl. And the player uniforms get muddy and grimy too. Thats a plus. I still dont like one thing though, and thats the fact that you have tall guys and short guys with the same exact build. Its like they took the tall guys and shrunk him to make another type of player. I think this player should be totally different.

The commentary for this game has to be one of the best out there. All three commentators have many different things to say through out the game which leads to less repitition. You constantly here fight songs playing in the background to get the hype into the crowd during certain situations or after a score.

As for the thunder during rain, hmmmmmm, it seems to me at the sign of lightening and thunder our true life games were always called off or postponed til it passed. Never quite understood that in this game. But if thats the least of sound worries, then there aint a problem.

I would very much like to see a much more detailed crowd in the stands. Maybe see the band doing there instrument dances and so forth. Thats petty but would be kewl and add to the school spirit already present in the game.

When creating your player models i think you should use about 10 different sized people or more. Shrinking and enlarging one player model doesn't quite fit the realism I am looking for. Just a suggestion, maybe you do that already and I am just not seeing it. The little running backs look like the tall wide receiver's "mini me".

Overall: 10.0 / 10
Gameplay: 10.0 / 10
Visuals: 9.0 / 10
Sound: 9.0 / 10


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