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NCAA Football 09 Review

This edition of NCAA seems to have drawn more hand wringing and fist pumping than any of the previous iterations. I'm not sure if that's because there is a big split between the hardcore football simulation fans and the casual gamer or that the Internet allows for such a build up and subsequent thrashing. I'm not sure where I fall in that spectrum. The most editing I've ever done to the rosters is adding in the names of Michigan players (occasionally updating numbers, hometowns) and basic slider work (I hate when a wide open WR drops a ball). Yet, I usually end up going a least 10 seasons deep in a dynasty, so I think I'm somewhere in the middle.

I got the game at midnight and have played Coop-dynasty, solo-dynasty, legend mode, and a player vs. player game. After those few hours, I have some quick hits:
  • The movement and actions seem a lot more engine based rather than animation based.
  • The stadiums look pretty amazing and the ambient sounds have improved considerably (and I haven't even added the custom sounds yet).
  • Dynasty recruiting in season is still super tedious, but the quickcall feature makes it much more bearable. (Quick aside: I bought the game and wanted to get right in and play some dynasty games, but had to spend about 25 minutes getting all the preseason stuff in order. I get it, but it's a drag)
  • Playing a game co-op is way more fun than in previous editions. Breaking routes to wholes in the zone and coming back for the jumpball are really fun. So is just levelling someone with an impact block on an option run or toss play.
  • Legend mode is basically the same except it's more difficult to keep that 2.0. I used to be able to do whatever I wanted and keep at least a 3.7 now I'm hovering around 2.6-7 (more realistic?)
  • I recommend doing Legend mode as a WR.
  • My defense in 08 consisted mainly of OLB blitz to free the DE off the edge. That doesn't work so well in this game. In fact, nothing really works to get to the QB. I've picked up some sacks, but they are usually coverage sacks. Brandon Graham got pancaked multiple times by Toledo...
  • The AI for pass defense is a bit weak. If they could split the difference of 08 and 09 I think it would be about perfect. I can usually just throw it up and Matthews will come down with it.
  • I recommend Texas Tech if you're playing against a person. They're a ton of fun with Harrel throwing to Crabtree. I feel most PvP games in 09 are going to be offense based and I don't think there is a more fun offense in the game.
I'm looking to start an online dynasty with a few friends this weekend, so I can report back on that later on. Overall I think this game is an improvement over 08. EA is promising two patches (one in 5-10 days the other in 1-2 months) to fix some of the gameplay issues. I'm looking forward to how this game will (finally) come together.

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“NCAA Football 09 Review”

  1. Blogger RJHOVE Says:

    How do you get the patches...Are they just the same game sold again later with things fixed?

  2. Blogger Paul Says:

    With Xbox360 they'll be available through Xbox Live. I can't tell you on PS3, etc.

  3. Anonymous WG Says:

    What difficulty setting do you play on? I've noticed that the AI is considerably better on Heisman than it is on All-American. Also, have you encountered any of the dreaded roster freezing issues at all?