NCAA Football 14NCAA Football 14
Published by:
EA Sports
Genre: Sports
MSRP: $59.99
E for Everyone
Available On:
Xbox 360, PS3

If there’s one thing you can count on every single year, it’s the exciting return of college football. And just a few months before the sport comes crashing to your television and university stadiums, NCAA Football lands on the video game console of your choice. Like Madden, FIFA, and other annualized franchises, NCAA Football comes out every year like clockwork. The question, of course, is what the latest version does that the previous version does not, and whether it’s worth plopping down another $60 of your hard-earned dollars.

NCAA Football 14 is more than just another sequel in a long-running sports franchise. It’s the next big leap forward for college ball video games. This leap is accomplished through a couple of big additions to the mechanics of the game, namely the incredibly realistic and rewarding physics engine that made Madden 13 such a massive hit. NCAA Football 14 certainly looks like its predecessors, but it feels like a completely different game in all the ways that count.

Graphics have seen a few minor upgrades — players look more realistic and stadiums are more thoroughly realized. And while this game isn’t going to win any awards for graphical innovation, the tweaks are more than welcome and help give NCAA Football 14 a sense of realism that has sadly been lacking from previous titles. Tiburon’s expert implementation of the Infinity Engine, which determines action on the field based on the size, speed, and weight of players, helps the NCAA Football 14 experience transcend beyond arcade footballer and into true simulation territory, a first for the franchise.

The biggest change is the way the Infinity Engine affects the running game. Players can now juke and cut at sharp angles, paving the way to epic tackle dodges and insane moments of pure, adrenaline-fueled joy. Pulling off a juke combo and narrowly missing a tackle is one of the most fun things to do in NCAA Football 14, and you will be doing it quite often once you have a grasp on the controls.

There are problems, of course. NCAA Football 14 doesn’t have near the same level of polish as its big brother, Madden, and occasional glitches and bugs rear their heads. For the most part these issues don’t affect your enjoyment of the title, though missing a key tackle in an important game because your defender mysteriously ran the wrong way is certainly a thing that will cause frustration.

In short, NCAA Football 14 offers the best gameplay of the franchise, packaged with some minor aesthetic upgrades and just a few quirks. If you like NCAA Football, you’ll like NCAA Football 14. If you bought a copy last year and were wondering if you should get one this year, the addition of the Infinity Engine makes the answer a resounding yes.There’s simply no better game out there for lovers of college football, and this latest edition is likely the best one released since the series debut around 20 years ago.

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