Saturday, May 05, 2007

The SGM Super 30: Video Game #19

NCAA Football 2006

Our review of NCAA Football 2006 comes all the way from Tennessee, from Rev. Joshua:

(NCAA Football 2006 was the game we voted on, although I voted for the NCAA Football franchise as a whole because somehow we voted for the previous game; NCAA Football 2007 was released last year. Not only that, but we're just a couple of months away from the release of NCAA Football 2008. But I digress.)

America's true pastime is football. It has been for years now; reference to baseball as our national sport is nostalgia. NCAA Football is EA's representation of the amateur ranks of America's national sport. Covering the entire top division as well as selected teams from the NCAA's second-tier, NCAA Football allows the average joe an opportunity to take the field with young men from all over the country and do glorious battle on the gridiron.

In both modes the gameplay is the same. It's football, pure and simple, with flourishes like Impact Players: three players in skill positions who, when the game is on the line, make the clutch plays (and usually kick ass the rest of the time). The crowd can (and will) make noise to rattle your offense if you're on the road or pump up your defense when you're at home; success in your program will help greatly by attracting fans to your home games for that occasionally crucial home-field advantage. Rivalry Games against hated schools offer the opportunity to rub someone's face in the dirt.

NCAA Football gives you the two career opportunities: you can create a Campus Legend (formerly the Race for the Heisman) or if you're the type that believes there is no 'I' in team, you can go directly to Dynasty mode. In Campus Legend mode, you take a young incoming freshman and build him from the ground up. Monday through Friday you have the option to study hard, work on your football skills, or make the social rounds. On Saturday, you're the starter at your position on the team. Over time you build your player into a football machine, gunning for the crown jewel of collegiate football's individual accomplishments: the Heisman Trophy. Of course, you can also win a National Championship or two (or three or four) along the way. Like all collegiate superstars, you even have the choice of relinquishing your senior season of eligibilty and declaring for the NFL draft (and taking your Legend to the corresponding Madden NFL release). After your Campus Legend finishes his collegiate career you have the choice of starting over or converting to Dynasty mode.

In Dynasty mode you assume the helm of the head coach and attempt to either create a Bear Bryant-style powerhouse or move from school to school building programs up from nothing. During the season you have the opportunity to do limited in-season recruiting, selling your school and inviting prospective signees to late season games in hopes of mauling a rival in front of your recruits' very eyes. After the season you have five weeks to pick up the best players you can, using points assigned based on your season's performance and your school's overall football prestige. You can send your head coach or an assistant to use one of six pitches (coaching prestige, coaching style, school prestige, location, playing time and academics) to lure the next crop of warriors in. If you're low on points you can reduce the interaction to phone calls or if it's a blue chipper that you absolutely have to have to fill a position on next year's team, you can send the house and deluge the kid with attention.

Once recruiting is finished you run through the spring workouts where you see improvements among returning players. Then you have your spring game, taking the opportunity to work on certain players for even more improvement and determine who your Impact Players are. After that, you trim the fat from the roster, redshirt anyone who you won't need in the coming season and set your schedule. As the season progresses you have to monitor your players' off the field activites; infractions that range from skipping class to involvement in a credit-card fraud scam require suspensions. Running a lax program leads to attention from the NCAA that can result in an investigation costing you valuable scholarships and post-season appearances. After a successful regular season (and any applicable conference championship games) you'll find yourself in a bowl game, with every actual bowl game represented. A bowl appearance and victory and hopefully a top-25 finish is a must, because once the season is over, you've gotta have something to sell to prospective recruits. Success breeds more success, contract extensions and job offers from other schools. And hopefully you'll add some hardware in the form of awards at every position, conference championships, bowl trophies and the Big Crystal Football from the BCS National Championship for your own personal Trophy Room.

1 comment:

Rev. Joshua said...

I'm going to edit that last paragraph. I had no idea it read like Hemingway.