Published on July 18th, 2011 | by Kyle Spencer, Editor
NCAA Football 12 Review
Developer: EA Sports
Platform: Xbox 360 [Reviewed], PlayStation 3
Many people make the argument that sports games nowadays are the same game each year with a different wrapper. In a lot of cases that argument holds water, however in NCAA Football 12’s case that is proven wrong. Although there are many, and I mean many, similarities to 2011’s version, which was decent by the way – (I gave it a 7.5), but fixes some of the problems that I had with it. With some game fixes comes new problems unfortunately, but the good thing is that the problems are not a deal breaker. If you are a believer that sports games are nothing more than a simple roster update, NCAA 12 will not change your opinion in any way. It will give you hope for future releases though.
We first look at the gameplay, which in many cases can be a deal breaker all in it’s own. In NCAA 12, the gameplay is fluid and shines, leading to the most realistic collegiate experience to date. The AI received a well needed upgrade, so you can actually see your safety’s collapse the pocket and tackles covering in the holes. When you are running the football, it is note worthy to watch the strong safety’s and defensive linemen, because they will home in on you in a split second. I noticed the offensive line picking up blitzes, that used to kill me in previous iterations. Simple tweeks to just the AI lead to a more exciting football game. Even in Campus Legend mode I had to watch the defenders and linemen so I can try to find any hole I possibly could to exploit (yes I play a halfback ).
Visually NCAA 12 is NCAA 11 all over again. It’s not that the graphics were bad, it’s just they felt a little grainy and out of context with the upgraded gameplay and AI. It’s like mixing brand new cereal with old milk–it doesn’t look too appealing. This year’s iteration could have benefited from a new graphics engine, much like the transition from Madden 10 to Madden 11. The game’s animations look like they haven’t received an update in many moons. It’s only so many times that I can watch a player get knocked back and watch my player fall to his back in a stiff animation. It’s like watching a mannequin fall over to the floor.
There are plenty of fun game modes that will keep any avid football fans happy for a while. EA has brought back the Online Dynasty mode that was a game mode that has been needed in the series for a long time. Road to Glory makes a return as well, which you can take a player you create through the ranks of any high school you elect to represent, to choosing a power house school to become the king of the BCS. The most noticeable, and fun game mode that I saw was the coaching game mode. Take the reigns of the coaching clip board and guid your team all the way to the National Championship. Call the plays, recruit your players and run your practices to make your squad better.
One of my complaints from last year’s iteration was the recruiting. It seems that EA didn’t take any of the notes from fans seriously in this regard because the games recruiting system is a mess. It is slow, time consuming and the constant action of going from menu to menu does not make matters any easier. If you can sit through the long hours of recruiting players, it can pay off handsomely in the end. Recruit the best players and let your team run away with the title. Just remember if you are their coach you have to act like their coach as well. Focus on the on and off field activities and that includes keeping their players eligible with maintaining a certain GPA.
Road to Glory is again my favorite game mode, where you take a high school player through state championships and land him a role in a school of his choice, if he’s good enough. My only major gripes with this mode is the menus and the excruciating load times in between games. I literally let my dog outside, grabbed a bottle of water, turned my house alarm back on and when I sat back down in my chair, the load menu was just ending. I am sure that installing the game to the hard drive would be beneficial, especially in this game mode, but could spell disaster for those without one.
It also seems like EA made creating high school teams, uniforms and originality to the teams you elect to play for quite complicated. You now have to visit two separate websites for creating your teams authentically to upload to the game itself. It is tedious and pointless considering you should be able to access it directly through the NCAA 12 website.
Overall NCAA 12 is a fine football game. It is NCAA 11 all over again with some upgrades that were highly needed, but along with it came some new problems. They are fixable and I am sure we will be seeing a flood of updates to the game in the near future. The game does have a realistic feel to it that really puts you into the game on a bright Saturday afternoon, but if you can get past the extra long load screens and the over saturation of menus, the on-field game itself it fluid and fun. This won’t be one that will completely change your opinion of sports games, especially if you are not enthusiastic about them, but it will keep you playing until next years iteration.
[xrr label=”Rating: 8/10″ rating=8/10]
+ Improved Gameplay Mechanics
+ Road To Glory
+ New Coaching Game Mode
+ Improved AI
– Horrible Load Times
– Visually Not as Impressive
– Lots and Lots of Menus