Sunday, July 29, 2007

Review: Campus Legend mode in NCAA Football 08

So I recently picked up NCAA Football 08 for the Xbox 360. Normally I just dig right into the dynasty mode expecting to lose a few games learning the particulars of the game engine, but this time I started by trying out some of the other features. First I tried the minigames of Tug of War (you get 1 play to move the ball and then the opponent gets the same, first to touchdown wins) and also Bowling (10 yards to goal, each yard is a pin with two shots at the end zone).

Next I moved on to Campus Legend Mode. And to be honest it is good enough that I have not left it. First you start out by designing a player and picking a position for them. Next you select your home school and state (high school that is) and you get put right into the high school state playoffs. I picked ROLB to start with figuring that defense is a good place for me. So first off, the only person you can control is the player you have created, so many plays are just not going to involve you. Although there is a lot more pressure because when you blow a coverage or tackle you can't switch to another nearby player to make the tackle. Once you have completed the high school playoffs, you have to select the college that you want to go to. In my case I picked Penn State because I would not be a starter, but I also wouldn't be 3rd string.

Your college career consists of 2 things per day. First is practice where you get 10 reps at various plays (coach calls all plays in both practices and real games). When you make a play it is worth points. These points eventually will earn you a spot on the starting line. For me, I earned my starting spot right before the 3rd game in the season. The different strings make it interesting in the game as well. When you are second string, you are hoping for a blow out so that you can get some field time other than on special teams, where as you hope for a close one during regular play.

One of the nice things in this mode, and frustrating is that the games tend to be really short. This gets a tad annoying as the load times in this game are incredibly long. Another drawback to this mode is that you may play your heart out and do an incredible job, but the team could still lose because the other half of the team is unable to get the job done. Besides the long load times, I have also seen a lot of very screen stutters and lots of xbox 360 fan and drive noise. Just seems to be slightly too intensive.

Graphics wise, this game is good, but not really something you are going to shout from the mountain tops about. Sounds are incredible and after 9 games, I can't complain about the announcers yet. So with all the problems, I still give this game a must buy for Football fans. It is just as fun as it's previous versions (I have played NCAA 01, 04, and 05).

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