If your idea of a good time is dancing in a purple wig with your face painted like a bulldog, welcome to NCAA Football. In the latest EA Sports entry to the long-running franchise, NCAA Football 07 dispenses with all the extra gameplay in the PS2 and Xbox versions in favor of brand new (and awesome) graphics.
We'll say it again, for clarity: the Xbox 360 version is nothing like the PS2 and Xbox versions. Instead of Campus Legend mode, where you can take some hapless youth through his illustrious college career (hiring tutors to teach him math), you get amazingly realistic graphics. Instead of a whole cadre of drills, you only get three - plus those amazingly realistic graphics we mentioned. They're cool - quick sprint races and "bowling," where your players act like pins - but short. And, what the heck? They even ditched the lead-block feature that worked really well for planning speed routes for your running game, and failed to add the new mid-play field goal hand-offs from the Xbox and PS2 versions. Those visuals had better be impressive...
They are. EA recreated not only most of the stadiums with exquisite accuracy, but even the surrounding neighborhoods. The developers also added some cool touches to player models, making them look almost frayed and ragged. This same look carries through the torn-beach-towel interface, which changes its imagery to showcase your favorite team. The team logos might be our favorite extra touch, though - they're fuzzy, like letterman patches.
The new Momentum Meter did make it into the 360 game, influencing your yardage as you make big plays, probably to hide the marginally better Dynasty Mode. Impact players will get the crowd worked up to a lather, and the meter actually does influence your passing and rushing yards if the same player makes several big plays in a row (you will also get more fumbles if you consistently suck). New plays add some realism, and the stadium models are ultra-sharp.
It's three steps forward for visuals, with the trade-off being at least four notable features missing; other versions have more mascots and fight songs, though the big loss is obviously the lack of a College Legend mode. The kicking is seriously improved, though; it now works like a golf game (pull back, push forward to kick). The match-up capability of Xbox Live is also much better than the online interface used for the current-gen versions.
So, what does it all mean? If you own an HDTV, NCAA Football 2007 for Xbox 360 is a real stunner – it makes you want to play more, even though you know those saps with an original Xbox have a lot more to do.