Perfection doesn’t exist in college football, even for so-called perfect teams. Whether you’re talking about last year’s undefeated champion Alabama Crimson Tide or the Notre Dame “Four Horsemen” teams of the 1920’s, each winner of college football’s mythical championship had flaws and could have been beaten. Because of combinations of skill, luck, and a kiss from the football gods, though, it didn’t happen, and they won their way to immortality.
NCAA Football 11 is the same. It’s not flawless from a technical perspective, nor does it introduce some new, never-before-seen game mode that will blow you away (in fact, Road To Glory is painfully similar to last year’s, including recycled Erin Andrews video segments). What it is, though, is the result of several seasons’ worth of hard work coming together to create the best college football game ever made. Period.
On the field, the action is better than ever. Ballcarriers react to hits in gorgeous fashion, their momentum carrying them in the proper direction. Receivers drag their feet along the sidelines to make those tough catches (but only when they’re supposed to), and offensive linemen actually open up nice holes for running backs to charge through. An embarrassment of playbook riches awaits, too. Whether you’re an old-school Wishbone fan or a Spread formation guru, it’s all there for you to tinker with.
Naturally, your typical NCAA football fan will dive deep into the Dynasty mode, which is more streamlined than ever. Recruiting players has gone from being a chore to becoming kind of fun. Even better, if you set it up to be available online, you can pursue players, write game stories, and interact with your buddies from a computer or smartphone via Dynasty Wire. It may not sound like much, but extending the experience off the console and into the “real world” makes Online Dynasties infinitely more appealing.
The updated ESPN visual presentation is super-slick, although there were more than a few times we grew weary of Kirk Herbstreit’s not-always-on-point commentary. In slow motion, some of the inevitable “oh yeah, this is still a video game” moments would happen, such as players gliding through referees or quarterbacks holding their hands at odd angles after throwing a pass. Even so, there’s so much right about what’s happening on the field that we still loved almost every minute of it.
Even with our small list of complaints – add sluggish menus and lack of meaningful updates to Road To Glory and TeamBuilder to them – NCAA Football 11 is a triumph. It’s the best college football game we’ve ever played, offering a tremendous experience to gridiron fans.
Jul 13, 2010