NCAA Football 13 review

Despite its same-y look and feel, NCAA Football 13 boasts some impressive improvements to the formula.

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Even with the improvements, though, it’s not an automatic offensive assault. Not all play-action passes work – we still got sacked plenty of times before even setting up – and we wish that receivers would be more aggressive going for the ball on deep routes than their counterparts. Interceptions still happen with regularity, but most of them felt fair; throwing a deep ball into double coverage is a bad idea no matter what.

Applying these on-field upgrades to a Dynasty (online or off) is where NCAA does its best. In particular, the updated Recruiting becomes an addictive pursuit whether you’re a lower conference scrub or the top of the heap in the SEC. Filling up your pipeline, choosing which players to scout, discovering a gem, then pursuing him relentlessly is a blast. We were surprised how much it hurt when a kid we’d discovered and made promises to changed his mind and wound up choosing a rival.

We played more than a half-dozen online games and had no issues, either; everything ran smoothly. Last year’s biggest issue in the game – crashes after online Dynasty games that caused no data to be transferred – remains our biggest worry heading into its launch on July 10. Being able to scout and recruit over the web and on smartphones is another superb feature. While others talk about doing these sorts of things in the future, NCAA 13 allows you to do more away from your console than any other sports title today.

The “real” issue with NCAA Football 13, when it comes down to it, is something no one can likely change until and unless the next generation of consoles exists. Other than a few presentation tweaks, including a ticker and studio updates during Dynasty seasons, not much really looks different. Fans will also have to deal with some issues that have been present for years, such as players that occasionally go right through refs, weird shadow glitches, and the inability to save online games and return when inevitable disconnects happen.

Until the time comes for Tiburon to break down the game to its lowest level and rebuild from scratch, NCAA Football is going to keep on looking and feeling like it has for years now. While to us that’s not necessarily a bad thing – after all, the last thing anyone should want is a repeat of the NBA Elite debacle – some people will inevitably feel like the franchise is growing stale. There are those who see the major changes to the Madden franchise coming down the pike and will wait for that; while that’s understandable, as college football fans we’re just glad that this year’s NCAA football game is as huge and well put-together as it is. Because of that, we’ll be playing it all summer, battling friends in online dynasties and capturing scads of Heisman Trophies.

This game was reviewed on the Xbox 360.

More info

DescriptionNCAA Football 13 brings the gridiron action back for another season. This year's game emphasizes the road to the Heisman Trophy, as well as the chance to relive the glory days of football legends like Desmond Howard and Doug Flutie.
Franchise nameNCAA Football
UK franchise nameNCAA Football
Platform"Xbox 360","PS3"
US censor rating"Everyone",""
UK censor rating"",""
Alternative names"NCAA 13"
Release date1 January 1970 (US), 1 January 1970 (UK)